Border patrol agents work diligently every day around the clock to secure international borders and coastal waters between ports of entry. As part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection unit of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, they prevent or apprehend illegal border crossers, smugglers, and potential criminals from entering the U.S. and carrying out illegal activities and attacks.

If you decide to work in this field, you'll need to be a master of observation. Border patrol agents are responsible for watching the border, performing traffic checkpoint operations, detecting, preventing, or apprehending undocumented aliens and smugglers, using electronic surveillance equipment, responding to alarms, and conducting patrols and other law enforcement duties. These agents also collaborate closely with other local and federal agencies, including customs enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.

If you're interested in becoming a border patrol agent, you'll need to be under the age of 40, be physically fit, be eligible for Veteran's Preference or have previous federal law enforcement experience. You'll also have to undergo extensive training.

As part of your training, you will also need to complete an intensive Spanish language training program if you are not already proficient in the language. Students who fail to meet any of the academic standards, including language proficiency, are dismissed.

What Does a Border Patrol Agent Do

There are certain skills that many border patrol agents have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, good judgment and leadership skills.

Learn more about what a Border Patrol Agent does

How To Become a Border Patrol Agent

If you're interested in becoming a border patrol agent, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 62.8% of border patrol agents have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.7% of border patrol agents have master's degrees. Even though most border patrol agents have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Border Patrol Agent Career Paths

Average Salary for a Border Patrol Agent

Border Patrol Agents in America make an average salary of $46,060 per year or $22 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $68,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $31,000 per year.
Average Border Patrol Agent Salary
$46,060 Yearly
$22.14 hourly
$31,000
10 %
$46,000
Median
$68,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

salary-calculator
How To Become a Border Patrol Agent
How To Become a Border Patrol Agent Career Overview

States With The Most Border Patrol Agent Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active border patrol agent jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where border patrol agents earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Border Patrol Agent Jobs By State

Border Patrol Agent Education

Border Patrol Agent Majors

10.8 %

Border Patrol Agent Degrees

Bachelors

62.8 %

Associate

18.7 %

High School Diploma

8.2 %

Top Colleges for Border Patrol Agents

1. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

2. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

3. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

4. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

5. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

6. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166

7. SUNY at Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,011
Enrollment
13,434

8. Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$3,926
Enrollment
9,835

9. SUNY College at Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,369
Enrollment
5,229

10. SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,440
Enrollment
7,039

Top Skills For a Border Patrol Agent

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 72.0% of border patrol agents listed patrol on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and good judgment are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Border Patrol Agent Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Border Patrol Agent templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Border Patrol Agent resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Border Patrol Agent Demographics

Border Patrol Agent Gender Distribution

Male
Male
86%
Female
Female
14%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among border patrol agents, 14.0% of them are women, while 86.0% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among border patrol agents is White, which makes up 65.7% of all border patrol agents.

  • The most common foreign language among border patrol agents is Spanish at 85.0%.

Work Experience Programs For Border Patrol Agents

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Globally Responsible Engineering Program

Company: Engineers Without Borders UK

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Criminal Law Program

Company: Leo Cussen

Cost: Free

Duration: 3-4 hours

Law School Experience Program

Company: Winston & Strawn

Cost: Free

Duration: 6-7 hours

Introduction to Law Program

Company: Monash University

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Human Rights Law Program

Company: Leo Cussen

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

StartUps for Smarter Cities Program

Company: Sydney School of Entrepreneurship

Cost: Free

Duration: 7-9 hours

Commercial Law Program

Company: Hogan Lovells UK

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Family Law Program

Company: Leo Cussen

Cost: Free

Duration: 16-20 hours

Legal foundations Program

Company: Linklaters UK

Cost: Free

Duration: 5 hours

US Commercial Law Program

Company: White & Case USA

Cost: Free

Duration: 2-3 hours

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Best States For a Border Patrol Agent

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a border patrol agent. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, California, Washington, and Texas. Border patrol agents make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $65,797. Whereas in California and Washington, they would average $64,130 and $62,860, respectively. While border patrol agents would only make an average of $60,500 in Texas, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Arizona

Total Border Patrol Agent Jobs:
835
Highest 10% Earn:
$72,000
Location Quotient:
1.54

2. Wyoming

Total Border Patrol Agent Jobs:
82
Highest 10% Earn:
$62,000
Location Quotient:
1.48

3. Texas

Total Border Patrol Agent Jobs:
1,767
Highest 10% Earn:
$78,000
Location Quotient:
0.94
Full List Of Best States For Border Patrol Agents

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Top Border Patrol Agent Employers

Most Common Employers For Border Patrol Agent

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Department of Homeland Security$59,510$28.61214
2United Nations$57,938$27.852
3Homeland Security$53,346$25.6511
4U.S. Customs and Border Protection$53,013$25.49426
5United States Department of Justice$52,733$25.351
6USI Insurance Services$52,409$25.201
7U.S. Department of the Treasury$50,930$24.491
8FedEx$50,566$24.311
9Boeing$48,043$23.101
10Chili's Grill & Bar$47,805$22.982