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Federal Protective Service officer careers

federal protective service worker securing crime scene

Federal Protective Service (FPS) police officers are strategic and excel in advanced planning. If you’re interested in joining the agency that provides security to approximately 9,000 federal facilities, you’ll need to be ready for anything.

What is a Federal Protective Service officer?

The Federal Protective Service (FPS) falls under the Department of Homeland Security and is one of the organizations in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. The Federal Protective Service provides law enforcement, emergency response, and security for the federally leased and owned buildings throughout the United States. The Federal Protective Service provides all aspects of security and emergency response in federal buildings including:

Federal Protective Service officers are uniformed law enforcement agents with all the jurisdiction a sheriff has minus the civil responsibilities. FPS officers are responsible for:

  • Interrogating suspects
  • Preventing crimes
  • Arresting offenders
  • Assisting police during emergency situations

There is also a small elite force of plain clothes special agents, a physical security force, and a support services divisions. All sectors of the FPS focus on the nation’s interior security and prevention of crime and terrorism.

4 steps to become a Federal Protective Service officer

Consider earning a degree.

female college graduate standing against blue cloudy sky

Though being a high school graduate is the minimum acceptable education requirement, you should consider earning a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a field such as criminal justice, sociology, criminology or homeland security, among other majors. This may make you a candidate for advancement or administrative roles later on.

Meet the entry requirements.

hands of female medical doctor taking stats of man sitting in front of her

A job as an FPS officer requires U.S. citizenship, be between the ages of 21 and 36 at the time you are accepted, have no felony convictions or misdemeanor domestic violence convictions. You must also pass a rigorous background investigation, pass a drug screening and have a comprehensive medical examination.

Complete the federal training program.

protective officer walks with police dog

Once you pass the entry requirements, you’ll need to complete the FPS Academy operations training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, GA. The training consists of 40 hours of weapons training and 11 days learning about such subjects as community first aid, working with canine teams, motorcade tactics, protective intelligence and case studies.

Accept your assignment upon graduation (and complete more training).

man hands passport to agent at checkin

After you graduate from the FLETC, you’ll still need to complete post-academy training and you’ll be required to take continuing education (CE) as long as you work with the agency. Your CE will be in line with what your assignment in the FPS is. After you pass and complete all training and checks you will be assigned to an FPS office in the U.S.

FPS police officer education

As with many high profile agencies the federal protective service is a very competitive organization to join. One of the best ways to set yourself apart as a job candidate is to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Bachelor’s degree: This can sometimes substitute for general experience when qualifying for a criminal investigator or officer position.

Master’s degree: This can sometimes substitute for the required specialized experience to become a criminal investigator at the FPS. An advanced education does not guarantee you a position, but may increase your chances and pay scale.

Salary and job outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2021 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for police and detectives is $64,610. 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.

The job growth for police and detectives is expected to be 3.1% through 2031, slower than average growth for all careers. However, as homeland security efforts continue to grow and evolve, quality federal protection agents will always be needed.