Border Patrol Officer

Stop items and people illegally entering the U.S.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$32,000 – $84,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Border Patrol Officers do?

To be able to drive into or out of the US by way of Mexico or Canada, a person has to be ready to show some documentation and answer some serious questions. And the person who does the inspecting and questioning is the Border Patrol Officer. As a Border Patrol Officer, you work these areas with the specific goal of protecting the US and its borders. In this role, you hope to keep those who wish the country harm, or those who hope to enter it illegally, out.

Border Patrol Officers are part of the Department of Homeland Security. You’re specifically in charge of the US-Canada and US-Mexico borders, as well as the water between the US and Puerto Rico. You use methods like aircraft surveillance, traffic stops, car searches, electronic sensors, and general patrols to find the people you need to stop and question. And when you do stop a person, you look for things like drugs, hidden passengers, forged entry paperwork, and any smuggled goods, including guns and other weapons.

You can work in a lot of different environments. For example, you might be stationed in hot or arid climates far away from a city, and do your work in the middle of the desert. Or you can be at one of the border crossing stations and sit in a booth all day, questioning drivers. Another option is to spend your days driving around, performing searches, and looking for people on the run. It all depends on what is needed in an area at a particular time.

Should I be a Border Patrol Officer?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • Also known as: Border Patrol Agent, Border Police

    How to become a Border Patrol Officer

    Most Border Patrol Officers have a Certificate or higher. Chart?chd=s:9hjoab&chl=no+college+%2842%25%29|certificate+%2823%25%29|associate%27s+%2824%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2810%25%29||doctorate+%281%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,42,42
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