ATF Job Requirements

Job Description

The profession of special agent is exciting and rewarding. Special agents must be tough – both physically and mentally. They must also be able to handle rigorous training, personal risks, irregular hours, and extensive travel. Special agents are subject to reassignment to any ATF office in the United States, to include any U.S. Territory or ATF overseas assignment.

Special Agents Are Responsible For

  • Investigating criminal violations of Federal laws within the enforcement jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice.
  • Conduct investigations of violations relating to explosives, firearms, arson, and alcohol and tobacco diversion.
  • Prepare concise criminal investigative case reports.
  • Testify for the government in court or before grand juries.
  • Gather and analyze evidence through investigative leads, seizures and arrests, execution of search warrants, and a variety of other means.

Conditions of Employment

Special Agent Applicants MUST:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • If male born after December 31, 1959, be registered with the selective service system, or be exempt from having to do so under selective service law.
  • Be at least 21 years of age and younger than 37 at the time of appointment, unless you have had previous service in a Federal civilian law enforcement position covered by special civil service retirement provisions, including early or mandatory retirement. Maximum age limitations may not be waived for any applicant, including those entitled to veterans’ preference.
  • Possess a current and valid automobile operator’s license.
  • Take and pass a medical examination by an authorized government physician and meet the following medical requirements:
    • At a minimum, uncorrected distant vision of at least 20/100 in each eye, and corrected distant vision must test 20/20 in one eye and 20/30 in the other. Normal depth perception and peripheral vision are required as is the ability to distinguish shades of color by plate tests.
    • Applicants that have undergone Automated Larnellar Keratoplasty (ALK); Laser in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK); Photorefractive Keratecotomy (PRK); and Radial Keratotomy (RK) must provide proof that they have passed the specific protocol. The test must be administered by a board-certified ophthalmologist who will document the results of the protocol test and that the test was performed no sooner than the prescribed time after the date of surgery. (3 months or one year, depending on the type of surgery).
    • Hearing loss must not exceed 30 decibels at 500, 1000, and 2000 HZ levels.
    • Weight must be in proportion to height
  • Take and successfully complete a polygraph examination.
  • Successfully complete a background investigation for a top secret security clearance.
  • Take and pass a drug test.

Basic Requirements

Special agent applicants MUST possess one of the following:

  • At a minimum, possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
  • Three years of general work experience in the criminal investigative or law enforcement fields that requires knowledge and application of laws relating to criminal violations.
  • An equivalent combination of education and related experience:

According to the Office of Personnel Management regulations, non-qualifying law enforcement experience is as follows: Experience as a uniformed law enforcement officer where the principal duties consisted of investigations and arrests involving traffic violations, minor felonies, misdemeanors, and comparable offenses; or in which the major duties involved guarding and protecting property, preventing crimes, and/or legal research without the application of investigative techniques.