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Diplomatic Security

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Career Overview

Believe or not, there are quite a few federal agents who don't actually work in the United States. While there are many government agencies keeping our country safe, there are also federal agents who work internationally.As a diplomatic security agent, your primary goal is protection. No matter who or what you're in charge of, your job will be to keep it safe. This includes ambassadors, diplomats, dignitaries, high-ranking officials, and any other person of interest who you might be assigned to protect. In addition to the security services you provide, you'll also be responsible for investigating criminal cases, usually involving passport and visa fraud.Though many agents work overseas, there are still quite a few who work domestically in the United States. If you are given a domestic assignment, you will most likely provide security and protection for the Secretary of State, or any visiting foreign dignitaries. It's a lot like the president's secret service, except for ambassadors and other diplomats.When working abroad, you'll design and manage security programs at U.S. security and intelligence offices in foreign countries, known as Foreign Service Posts. There, you'll be referred to as a Regional Security Officer, and you'll run several security programs designed to protect important people, create new operations, and investigate any information you have on criminal activities. The names and titles are slightly different, but it's all more or less the same responsibilities you'd have if you worked domestically.When it comes down to it, diplomatic security is all about protection. Whether they're providing security detail or just investigating fraud, this job is all about protecting the American people. It's a lot of work and a lot of responsibility, but it's still a very rewarding career that could seriously take you places.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$54,520
1,235,290
1.2 %

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice, International Relations, or related fields 6 months of intensive training

Like many other federal agent roles, there's a long list of requirements you must meet before you can apply. In order to qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 21 and 37 years old. You also need to have a valid U.S. driver's license and a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, like criminal justice or international relations. Then there's a series of assessments you'll have to pass, including written and oral exams, a thorough background check, a stringent medical exam, and a physical fitness test. And finally, you must be willing to travel and accept assignments all over the world.If you've met all the requirements, earned all the qualifications, and are officially selected to become a homeland security agent, you'll start by spending 6 months in training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Georgia. At first, you'll learn basic skills such as personal protection, criminal investigations, firearm training, and first aid. Eventually, your training will start to focus on specific skills for overseas assignments, including security management, post operations, electronic security, and foreign languages.

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Communication Skills
Analytical Skills
Teamwork Skills
Decision-Making Skills
Detail Oriented

Work Environment

When on assignment, you're never really off the clock until it's over. This means working a lot of long hours, and always being on the lookout for anything that could compromise your mission.The job requires a lot of travel, so you must be prepared to pack up and leave on assignment at any time. Since you'll constantly be on the road and away from home, the job can be very stressful at times and put a strain on your personal life. Not to mention the potential safety risks of working in protective security.

* Source: BLS Data - 2013