The protective operations of the US Secret Service in Iowa are highly technical and complex. Working from the field office in Des Moines, Secret Service agents are responsible for protecting the President, his cabinet, their families, and traveling world leaders and other ambassadors. This work requires advanced security surveys, seamless coordination with state and local law enforcement, and intelligence analyses of present and future threats.
Meeting GL-7 Secret Service Agent Requirements
United States Secret Service agent jobs are highly competitive, with this federal law enforcement agency seeking out only the most qualified candidates. Candidates can meet the requirements of the GL-7 federal level (the minimum hiring level for a Secret Service agent) by possessing a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a history of superior academic achievement. Candidates may also qualify if they possess at least one year of graduate education or at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the GL-5 level.
Degree Requirements – A bachelor’s degree in public safety administration provides students with both a theoretical and applied approach to issues related to the homeland security and public safety fields. These types of programs typically highlight the application of research methodology, the utilization of communication skills, and the development of professional knowledge. As such, common coursework often includes:
- Research methodology
- Human resource management
- Political and legal systems
- Information and technology systems
- Ethics in public safety
- Leadership in public safety
- Organizational development and change
- Project management
Candidates qualifying at the GL-9 level must possess a master’s degree or the equivalent (LLB or JD degree) or at least one full year of specialized experience at the GL-7 level.
Hiring Process – Individuals who are chosen as candidates for Secret Service jobs in Iowa must be prepared to successfully complete a number of exams/assessments, which include:
- A written exam
- A psychological evaluation
- A polygraph examination
- A structured panel interview
- A comprehensive background investigation
- A drug screen (urinalysis)
In-Service Training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center – All new Secret Service agents hired in Iowa must complete a mandatory course of training. New agent trainees are first sent to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Georgia, where they must complete the Criminal Investigator Training Program, an 11-week course designed to train all new federal investigators in areas of criminal law and investigation.
Upon completion of the FLETC training, new hires then attend the Special Agent training course at the James J. Rowley Training Center, Secret Service training academy, just outside Washington D.C. for 17 weeks. This program focuses on specific Secret Service training policies and procedures, both for investigations and protective missions.
Further, Secret Service agents can expect to complete advanced training in everything from firearms requalification to emergency medical courses throughout their careers.
The Secret Service and the Presidential Caucus in Iowa
Given that Iowa has become the site of the nation’s most highly visible—and arguably most important—presidential caucus, providing protective services to former presidents and presidential candidates traveling to the state for rallies and speeches has become one of the more highly visible duties of Secret Service agents in Iowa. Although presidential elections occur just every four years, candidates and candidate supporters visiting long before the caucus takes place has become commonplace in recent elections.