U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are responsible for maintaining the security of America's entry points. This is a rewarding job, in itself -- but border agents also receive excellent pay and benefits that make the career worthwhile. New Border Patrol agents are hired in one of three federal pay grades, and can start with an annual salary exceeding $49,000 per year.
Newly hired U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are hired on at one of three government pay grade levels: GL-5, GL-7 or GL-9. The pay for a level GL-5 hire is $38,619 per year. For a GL-7 hire, the wage increases to $43,964. GL-9 hires earn the highest salary of newly recruited border agents, making $49,029 per year. The criteria for deciding the pay grade of a new hire are her past experience and education.
After completing 55 days of basic training and passing the 6 1/2-month probationary examination, new hires are able to move up to a higher pay grade. GL-5 hires can move up to the GL-7 grade and GL-7 hires can be promoted to the GL-9 grade. After a year at the GL-9 pay grade, border agents are eligible for a promotion to the GL-11 pay grade which ranges from $59,987 per year to $77,981. After a year at the GL-11 pay grade, agents can be promoted to the GL-12 level where the salary ranges from $71,901 to $93,470.
Border agents work 40 hours per week, but are expected to work an additional nine to 10 hours per week of what the aganecy terms "administratively uncontrollable overtime. Agents are also given additional pay for working nights, Sundays and holidays. Agents may be eligible for additional locality pay, depending on where they are posted. For instance, the starting salary at the G-11 pay grade is $59,987 per year, but it rises to $60,681 in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area and $63,945 in the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Riverside area of California. Finally, agents receive a uniform allowance of $1,500 per year.
Border agents receive a federal government benefit package that includes health and life insurance, retirement benefits and a 401-k plan. Agents can retire as early as age 50 if they have 20 years of service. Agents are eligible for 13 days leave per year when they start. With three to 14 years of service, agents receive 20 days leave per year. After 15 years of service, agents are eligible for 26 days of leave. On top of these leave days, they can take 13 sick days per year.