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Secret Service

Earnings Potential

The starting salary for a Secret Service agent is $45,193 a year.

Facts at a glance

  • The Secret Service was established in 1865, to stop people from making counterfeit money.
  • The government appointed the Secret Service to protect our nation’s leaders and for criminal investigation.
  • To be a secret service agent an individual has to be a United States citizen, must pass a drug screening test, a polygraph test, pass an entrance exam, and must be over 21 and under 37.

Summary of what this career entails

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Secret Service special agents protect the President, Vice President, and their immediate families; Presidential candidates; former Presidents; and foreign dignitaries visiting the United States. Secret Service agents also investigate counterfeiting, forgery of Government checks or bonds, and fraudulent use of credit cards. The jobs of U.S. Secret Service and DEA special agents require extensive travel, often on very short notice. They may relocate a number of times over the course of their career.

Examples and or details of work

Secret Service agents have the task of protecting the President and Vice President of the United States; their immediate families; former Presidents and their spouses; widows and minor children of former Presidents; major Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates and their spouses; and visiting foreign heads of state.         

Degrees that lead to this career

Most employers require an individual to have at least a four-year college degree. Some of the degrees an individual may receive include:

  • B.S. in Criminal Justice
  • B.S. in Criminal Law
  • B.S. in Sociology

Specific Career openings in this field

Some of the positions that can be available for individuals who want a career as a Secret Service agent include Special Agent, Uniformed Officer, Professional & Administrative, Technical, Administrative & Clerical, Technical Security Division, and Stay-in-School Employee Program.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Police and Detectives, on the Internet at October 27, 2006).