USSS Qualifications & Education Requirements

To be considered for any Secret Service position, an applicant must:

  • be a US citizen;
  • pass a urinalysis drug screening;
  • after undergoing a complete background investigation -- which examines employment history, police records, credit history, school transcripts, neighborhood references and military records -- qualify for a Top Secret clearance (to see more about the background investigation, follow this link). This process generally takes six to nine months. Some positions also require polygraph and/or medical examinations;
  • men born in 1960 and later must certify they have either registered with the Selective Service System or were exempt from that requirement.

General Disqualifiers

The Secret Service will not hire any person who has:

  • used marijuana within the past three years;
  • used any illegal drug (including anabolic steroids) after age 22;
  • ever been involved in cultivating, manufacturing, processing, distributing or selling any illegal drug; or
  • used an illegal drug while employed in a position that required a US government security clearance, or while serving in law enforcement or as a prosecutor, or in another position of public trust.

A Secret Service employee is also not permitted to have body markings, such as tattoos, visible on his or her head, face, neck, hands and fingers. Any person with such markings may not begin work with the Secret Service until the markings have been medically removed, at the individual’s own expense.

Position-Specific Qualifications

Special Agent

A Secret Service special agent must:

  • hold a valid driver’s license;
  • be between the ages of 21 and 37 when receiving a conditional offer of employment (except for preference-eligible military veterans, who must receive a conditional offer of employment before reaching the age of 40, in order to continue in the application process);
  • be in excellent health and pass the Agent Physical Abilities Test;
  • have at least 20/60 eyesight, correctable to 20/20 (correction can be by eye surgery, but in that case a waiting period of between three months and a year will apply, depending on the type of surgery);
  • pass the Special Agent Entrance Examination (a written test of logical reasoning, English grammar, visual memory and lifetime experience);
  • undertake an in-depth security interview and take polygraph and medical examinations; and
  • be approved by an agency review panel.
Uniformed Division Officers

To be eligible to serve as a Uniformed Division officer, an applicant must:

  • hold a valid driver’s license;
  • be between the ages of 21 and 37 at the time of receiving a conditional offer of employment (except for preference-eligible military veterans, who must receive a conditional offer of employment before reaching the age of 40, in order to continue in the application process);
  • have a high school diploma or equivalent;
  • have at least 20/60 eyesight, correctable to 20/20 (correction can be by eye surgery, but in that case a waiting period of between three months and a year will apply, depending on the type of surgery);
  • successfully complete interviews and pass the Police Officer’s Selection Test; and
  • undergo a complete background investigation (this includes in-depth interviews, polygraph examinations, urinalysis drug screening, and medical examinations) and receive a top-secret security clearance.
Special Officers

To be eligible to serve as a Special Officer position, an applicant must:

  • be at least 21, but younger than 40, when appointed;
  • have eyesight correctable to 20/20 in each eye (correction can be by eye surgery, but in that case a waiting period of between three months and a year will apply, depending on the type of surgery);
  • have the ability to assist protective movements, staff security posts and drive protective vehicles;
  • be proficient in firearms use and familiar with arrest techniques and procedures;
  • successfully complete all required training; and
  • demonstrate eligibility for a veteran’s preference.

Sources
USSS

USSS Criminal Investigator Description USSS Selection & Training