The United States Secret Service, organized under the Department of Homeland Security since 2003, is a federal investigative law enforcement agency that is mandated by Congress to protect national and visiting foreign leaders and engage in criminal investigations involving financial crimes. Since 2003, the Secret Service has made more than 30,000 criminal arrests for a wide array of financial crimes involving cyber investigations and counterfeiting and it seized more than $295 million in counterfeit currency.
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The men and women of the Secret Service include Secret Service agents, Uniformed Division officers, and support personnel:
Secret Service Agent Salaries
Secret Service agents serve in both the agency’s protection and investigation missions, with new agents generally working in investigations for a number of years before transferring to a protective detail or a position at the Secret Service headquarters in Washington D.C.
New special agents are usually hired at the GL-7 or GL-9 federal pay grade, although education and experience typically dictate the salaries of Secret Service agents. As of 2012, the pay grade for the GL-7 pay grade range was between $38,511 and $48,708, while the GL-9 pay grade range was between $42,948 and $55,413. However, locality pay often changes the salary for a Secret Service agent.
For example, the salary of a Secret Service agent working in Atlanta, Georgia, includes a locality pay of 19.29 percent; therefore, agents at the GL-7 pay grade may earn between $45,940 and $56,752 and at the GL-9 earn between $51,233 and $64,450.
Salaries for Secret Service agents working in Chicago, Illinois, include a locality pay of 25.1 percent; therefore, agents at the GL-7 pay grade earn between $48,177 and $59,516 and at the GL-9 level earn between $53,728 and $67,589.
Salaries for agents in other parts of the country at the GL-7, as of 2012, were as follows:
- Los Angeles: $48,972 to $60,496
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale: $46,517 to $57,466
- New York City: $49,571 to $56,410
- Philadelphia: $46,903 to $57,942
- Phoenix: $44,965 to $55,549
The full performance level for Secret Service agents is GL-13, which, as of 2012, was between $84,000 and $106,000.
Qualifications for Pay Levels
Secret Service agents may qualify at the GL-7 level if they possess one of the following:
- A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a history of superior academic achievement
- At least one year of graduate-level study beyond an undergraduate degree
- At least three years of general experience, with one year being specialized experience at the GL-5 level
Secret Service agents in the investigative division may qualify at the GL-8 level if they have one year of specialized experience at the GL-7 level performing such duties as:
- Dealing with accidents and suspicious packages
- Detaining suspicious individuals
- Gathering information in investigations
- Maintaining security posts
- Monitoring and operating communications equipment
- Patrolling and guarding
- Possessing arrest authority
- Protecting secured property and facilities
Secret Service agents in the investigative division may qualify at the GL-9 level if they have one year of specialized experience at the GL-8 level performing such duties as:
- Assisting in investigations
- Conducting security inspections
- Guarding visitor access
- Inspecting equipment
- Issuing and maintaining identification items
- Maintaining security posts
- Monitoring and operating communications devices
- Possessing arrest authority
- Serving as part of an emergency response team
Additional Pay Opportunities
Secret Service agents may also receive Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) of 25 percent, which is added to their locality pay. LEAP is designed to account for additional hours worked by agents during certain assignments. LEAP hours typically account for an additional 2 hours for every work day.
Secret Service agents with foreign language proficiency may also receive a one-time recruitment bonus that is equal to 25 percent of their basic annual pay. Individuals must be able to test at the S-3 level before they can be identified as having a foreign language skill. Requirements include being able to speak the language well enough as to engage in most formal and informal conversations. Agents receive the recruitment bonus upon the successful completion of all required training.
Uniformed Division Officer Salaries
Uniformed Division officers are responsible for providing security at the White House, the vice president’s residence, the Department of Treasury, and in foreign diplomatic missions throughout the Washington D.C. area. These Secret Service professionals may work in a number of specialized units:
- Countersniper Support Unit
- Canine Explosives Detection Unit
- Emergency Response Team
- Magnetometer (metal detector) Support Unit
Secret Service salaries for new Uniformed Division officers, as of 2012, begin at the LE-1 federal pay grade. Unlike Secret Service agents, Uniformed Division officers are paid hourly and therefore do not qualify for locality pay or LEAP. As of 2010, Uniformed Division officers at the LE-1 level received a starting salary of $52,018.
Secret Service Salary Benefit Information
Secret Service agents and Uniformed Division officer are eligible for a number of benefits, beyond their base salaries, as federal employees. These include:
- Health benefits
- Group life insurance
- Long-term care insurance
- Thrift savings plan
- Comprehensive retirement benefits
- Benevolent fund
- Paid federal holidays
- Annual leave (at the rate of 13 to 26 days per year)
- Sick leave (at the rate of 13 days per year without limit)
- Federal flexible spending account