Border patrol agents and transportation security officers work to support legal trade and travel and restrict illegal activity including terrorism. Border patrol agents work mostly in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas along the physical borders of the United States that border Mexico. Other agents are stationed along the northern border with Canada. These federal employees must be in good physical condition, be a U.S. citizen under age 37, hold a valid driver's license and bachelor's degree and have one year of qualifying experience. More than 41,000 employees work as agents; security clerks, assistants and administrators; and inspection, investigation and compliance officers as well as automotive and heavy mobile equipment mechanics; biologists and chemists; and attorneys and paralegal specialists as part of the Customs and Border Protection Agency. Transportation security officers work under the Transportation Security Agency along with managerial, financial, information technology and administrative professionals. The agency also administers the Federal Air Marshal Service.
  • The educational and training requirements for jobs in the federal government mirror those in the private sector for most major occupational groups.
  • Many jobs in managerial or professional and related occupations require a four-year college degree. Some, such as engineers, physicians and surgeons, and biological and physical scientists, require a bachelor’s or higher degree in a specific field of study.

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For jobs requiring access to sensitive or classified materials, applicants must undergo a background investigation in order to obtain a security clearance. This investigation covers an individual's criminal, credit and employment history, as well as other records.
Advancement for most workers in the federal government is currently based on a system of occupational pay levels, or 'grades', although more departments and agencies are being granted waivers to utilize different pay and promotion strategies.
Workers typically enter the federal civil service at the starting grade for an occupation and begin a 'career ladder' of promotions until they reach the full-performance grade for that occupation.