Treasury Enforcement Agent (TEA) Careers and Outlook

As a T-man (or woman), you'll prevent fiscal crime on a federal and state level. Here's what you'll do and the education you'll need.

treasury enforcement agent holding a gold ounce

In a time when financial crimes are common headlines, Treasury Enforcement Agents (TEA) are behind the scenes working to ensure justice is served and criminals are put behind bars.

If you have a penchant for finance and an interest in law enforcement, a TEA career could be for you.

What You'll Do as a TEA Agent

As the name suggests, you'll be enforcing financial laws and investigating issues such as:

  • Currency threats
  • Counterfeit money
  • Credit card fraud
  • Government-issued bonds and other securities

As technology advances, identity theft has become a larger issue and TEAs are responsible for investigating these crimes as well.

General tasks may include the following:

  • Preparing reports to detail findings
  • Searching for evidence
  • Requesting search and arrest warrants
  • Obtaining evidence
  • Testifying in court

Treasury Enforcement Agent Education

According to the United States Office of Personnel Management, Treasury Enforcement Agents must have a number of qualifications including:

  • A bachelor's degree (criminal justice, law enforcement, pre-law)
  • General work experience in the field of criminal investigation or law enforcement
  • Significant investigation experience
  • Maximum age at entry of 37 years old
  • Valid driver's license

You must also pass a medical screening and background check and provide proof of professional certification as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

CPA Certification

Becoming a CPA is a starting point for those with a desire to become a Treasury Enforcement Agent. In general, one can earn a CPA with a bachelor's degree in any field. Some states have work experience requirements, which may include two years of accounting work prior to becoming a licensed CPA in that state.

Work experience in other fields may also be accepted, however, the length of work experience may be longer than just two years. You should inquire with your state's board of accountancy for a definitive answer.

Work Experience

Accounting experience for recent graduates of bachelor's degree programs is most often gained working at accounting firms as an entry-level accountant. Earning a bachelor's degree in accounting can be one of the most efficient methods toward becoming a Treasury Enforcement Agent.

Salary and Job Growth

TEA salaries are based on the federal salary table so your pay will vary on a number of factors, such as location, experience and education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, detectives and criminal investigators earn an annual median income of $76,730.

In 2013, TEA base pay ranged from $38,511 to $74,891. Being fluent in another language can also boost your base salary as much as 25 percent when you're first hired.

The BLS predicts little change in job growth through 2022. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.