Border Patrol Agent Salary: What You'll Earn

A Career as a Border Patrol Agent in the Criminal Justice System Can Offer You Promising Earning Opportunities

Operating as members of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), border patrol agents secure international land and coastal borders. A typical day may involve responding to movement sensor alarms, looking for evidence of illegal entry, apprehending individuals crossing without proper documentation, overseeing traffic checkpoints, and communicating with other agents. Interested individuals can learn about earning potential, related careers, and benefits in the guide that follows.

How Much Do Border Patrol Agents Earn?

Salaries for border patrol agents vary on a number of factors, with years employed and education level being two primary ones. Cost of living also plays a big role, as someone living in a densely populated city is paid more than someone guarding the border in a remote and rural area. Some individuals have related experience before joining, including time in the military, which accelerates their progress through the pay grade. Lastly, overtime makes a difference; it's not uncommon for agents to earn up to 25% of their salaries for work outside their standard 40 hours of work per week.

Because border patrol agents are part of a federal agency, they follow the law enforcement officer (LEO) general schedule for salary guidelines. Review the table later in this guide for a sense of how pay rises with each grade level.

What's My Earning Potential as a Border Patrol Agent?

it's not uncommon for agents to earn up to 25% of their salaries for work outside their standard 40 hours of work per week.

As discussed in the previous section, border patrol agents can earn additional money if they work overtime or if they live in a county or region with a high cost of living. Several other sources of compensation also exist, including premium pay and cash awards. Premium pay refers to higher rates of compensation for work on Sundays, during holidays, or on night shifts. Cash rewards are given to agents recognized as outstanding performers who put forth superior effort.

You can learn more about these perks by reviewing the Pay and Benefits page of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.

Approximate* Total Compensation for Border Patrol Agents by General Schedule
Grade Base Salary Average FY 2019 Locality, Overtime, and Premium Pay Total Compensation
GL-5 $36,196 $19,667 $55,863
GL-7 $41,204 $23,398 $64,602
GL-9 $45,953 $26,666 $72,619
GL-11 $53,805 $31,721 $85,526
GL-12 $64,490 $36,642 $101,132
*Figures are approximations. Exact pay levels will vary among individuals

Source: CPB.gov

Border Patrol Agent Benefits

Most individuals think of monetary pay as the reward for doing their jobs, but border patrol agents can also take advantage of several benefits. In addition to competitive salaries, agents enjoy generous paid time off. This includes 13-26 days of annual leave (based on time working for the federal government), 10 federal holidays, 15 days of military reserve leave, 13 sick days, and opportunities for paid training.

Employees can also select from a number of premium federal health insurance programs, including dental and vision insurance, flexible spending accounts, and long-term care insurance. Life insurance is also available through three separate programs, depending on individual needs. Agents can receive three different types of retirement funding, including a thrift savings plan (similar to a 401(k) plan), basic annuity (for those with at least 20 years of service), and social security.

How Do Border Patrol Agent Careers Compare to Other Criminal Justice Careers?

Before pursuing a career as a border patrol agent, individuals may want to know how salaries stack up against other criminal justice careers. Factors that could affect these numbers include previous work experience, degrees attained, and location.

Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
Border Patrol Agents, GL-7 approximate total compensation $64,602 N/A
Corrections Officers and Bailiffs $44,400 -7%
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $53,020 6%
Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers $28,530 6%
Police and Detectives $63,380 7%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Take the Next Step in Your Border Patrol Agent Career Today

Jobs for border patrol agents exist throughout the country and allow individuals to work on the front lines of securing the United States from illegal entry. The following pages provide more detailed job descriptions, giving interested individuals a greater sense of what a typical day entails.

Learn More About Border Patrol Agent Jobs

Take the first step in pursuing your passion for border patrol and homeland security

Explore More Careers in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement

Interested individuals wanting to learn about law enforcement careers and educational requirements can check out these guides for more detailed information.