Border Patrol Agent Job Description

A border patrol agent is a person responsible for protecting the borders of his or her country. Most people think of this as someone working in the United States, but there are similar positions all around the world. Border patrol agents are essentially the kings of the security guards, and they have a lot of weight on their shoulders on a daily basis. If you feel confident in your abilities to handle that kind of weight, the border patrol agent job description below will help you decide if this in fact the right career path for you. Let’s take a look at this job a little more closely, shall we?

The Work of a Border Patrol Agent

The work of a border patrol agent changes on a daily basis. For the most part, these men and women expect the people and vehicles attempting to cross their country’s borders. What this entails will depend on the person’s position and the nature of security in the area. Here is a list of some common job duties that you may come across as a border patrol agent:

Job Duties

  • Control drug dogs
  • Scan cars
  • Inspect vehicles
  • Enforce immigration laws
  • Arrest illegal immigrants
  • Monitor the country’s border
  • Prevent illegal immigration
  • Work with law enforcement

There are a lot of other positions that have similar job duties, in case you are not interested in border patrol per se. You may want to explore these criminal justice careers when you start planning your future as they may be more suited to your goals in life. Other positions to consider include:

Similar Jobs

  • Secret service agents
  • Security guards
  • FBI agents
  • CIA agents
  • Drug enforcement agents
  • Private investigators
  • Police officers

If you look over the job descriptions for those positions and compare them to this border patrol agent job description, you should be able to pick the perfect path for your future.

Places of Employment for Border Patrol Agents

Border patrol agents don’t always work right at the border. Some of them work with agents in the field to plan new laws and monitoring techniques for other employees to follow. Before you jump to the conclusion that you will be working in a border patrol agency, you may want to get a better feel for the career prospects in this profession. Listed below are some of the employers you may work under as a border patrol agent.


  • Law enforcement offices
  • Criminal courts
  • Law offices
  • Toll booths
  • Crime labs
  • Border patrol agencies

The employers listed here encompass many different industries, and those industries play a large role in each employee’s border patrol job description. You may want to explore some of these industries before going to work, just to figure out where you want to be in your career. Here is a list of some of the most common sectors of the job market that border patrol agencies find themselves in:


  • Law enforcement
  • Investigation
  • Law development
  • Security
  • Business intelligence
  • Government
  • Drug enforcement

Educational Requirements for Border Patrol Agents

If you decide to become a border patrol agent, you need to start with a college degree related to criminal justice or law enforcement. This will give you the tools and knowledge you need to work in a security position like this. Common degrees to consider include:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in History
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Sociology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

With your education out of the way, you will most likely have to go through a brief training program to learn what it takes to work in border patrol. Then you can begin your career as planned.

Pay Rates for Border Patrol Agents

The amount of money that you can make in border patrol will depend on a variety of factors, like your position in an agency and the amount of job experience you have. Some cities along the border pay more money than others because they have a higher standard of living. You will have to do some research to find out what the average salary is in your area specifically. The charts below show the averages from the salary statistics across the country. You can use them to get a rough idea of what pay your career can lead to over time.

Potential Salary by Top Paying States

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA: Median wages – $85,620
  • Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL: Median wages – $72,660
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: Median wages – $64,480
  • New York: Median wages – $62,820
  • Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ: Median wages – $62,460
  • Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX: Median wages – $62,460

Prospective Industries and their Median Wages

  • State Government (OES Designation): Median wages – $60,650
  • Local Government (OES Designation): Median wages – $56,160
  • Specialty Hospitals : Median wages – $53,970
  • General Medical and Surgical Hospitals: Median wages – $53,810
  • Postal Service: Median wages – $53,000

Review this border patrol agent job description carefully, and you should have no trouble deciding if this is the career for you.

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  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Police and Detectives, on the Internet at (visited February 04, 2013).
  2. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011. Visited February 4, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice.
  3. United States Department of Labor, “Citing Websites.” Women in the Labor Force: A Databook. Visited February 4, 2013. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. (December 2011)