How to Become a Border Guard

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security hires border patrol agents, such as border guards, to watch for terrorists trying to reach U.S. soil. Border agents also look for and detain illegal immigrants and monitor for weapons smuggling. You can become a border guard by meeting the specified requirements and undergoing training.


    • 1

      Qualify to become a border agent by reviewing the basic requirements. You must be under the age of 40 unless you are a veteran who has preference eligibility, such as a disabled veteran seeking employment in the civil service, or unless you possess federal law enforcement experience. You must also be a U.S. citizen, have a state driver's license and be fluent or trainable in Spanish.

    • 2

      Apply for a position by checking the Customs and Border Protection website for open positions ( Register to take the online written test. Schedule the test after the Office of Personnel Management has evaluated your registration information.

    • 3

      Print out your test admission notice with the information on where and when to take the test. Review the study guide to help with passing the test. Type in your user ID and password to access the page where you can print out the test date information and study guide.

    • 4

      Take the 4 1/2-hour test. You will receive your test results in the mail within four to six weeks. You will be notified whether you have been selected for a possible border patrol position. You will receive an email with your tentative selection package, including forms to submit and information regarding the border patrol agent panel interview, background check, drug test, medical examination and fitness exams.

    • 5

      Attend the interview. Show the interviewers that you have sound decision-making and interpersonal skills. If you receive a "pass" rating for the interview, you will proceed with the rest of the hiring process.

    • 6

      Complete a drug test and medical examination. Pass the background check and the two pre-employment fitness tests. If you successfully pass all tests and the interview, your name will be placed on a list to wait for a position to become a border patrol guard. You will receive a firm offer of employment when a vacancy opens.

    • 7

      Complete the paid 55-day training held at the Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, New Mexico. Learn about immigration laws and marksmanship. Take 40 days of instruction to learn to speak Spanish, if needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • You will not be considered for a position as a border patrol agent if you have had any type of conviction, including misdemeanors such as domestic violence charges. Other factors that will make you unsuitable for the job include being dismissed from any previous job, illegal use of drugs, alcohol abuse and financial situations such as debts.
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  • Photo Credit John Moore/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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