BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR (SPECIAL
Grades 5, 7, and 9
WANT TO BE A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR (SPECIAL AGENT)?
The career of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
Special Agent is unique and one of the most challenging in Federal law
enforcement. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., ATF has field offices throughout
the United States and its territories. Highly trained special agents are
responsible for investigating violations of Federal law relating to firearms,
explosives, arson and alcohol and tobacco diversion. These investigations
involve surveillance, participation in raids, interviewing suspects and
witnesses, making arrests, obtaining search warrants, and searching for physical
evidence. Chemists and other specialty personnel provide expert assistance in
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
Please review the enclosed information regarding salary
and benefits,basic requirements and conditions of employment.
Applications for position openings
will ONLY be accepted in response to a specific ATF job notice OR
For updates on ATF Special Agent
recruitment efforts, please visit our website at www.atf.gov or contact the
ATF Recruitment & Hiring Center at 202-648-9100.
ATF is ranked as one of the Top 15 "Best Places to Work
in the Federal Government" (www.bestplacestowork.org under Federal
subcomponent category). ATF is looking for energetic, innovative,
solution-oriented professionals to assist the ATF Team in its mission to
prevent terrorism, reduce violent crime and protect the public.
- Position Title and Grade Levels: Criminal Investigator
(Special Agent), GS-1811, grades 5, 7, and 9.
- Major Duties:
- - Investigates criminal violations of Federal laws within the
enforcement jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Justice.
- - Conducts investigations of violations relating to explosives,
firearms, arson, and alcohol and tobacco diversion.
- - Gathers and analyzes evidence through investigative leads, seizures
and arrests, execution of search warrants, and a variety of other means.
- - Prepares concise criminal investigative case reports.
- - Testifies for the government in court or before grand juries.
- Work Schedule:
- ATFs business hours are generally 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday
through Friday. Due to receipt of Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP),
special agents usually work an average of 2 additional hours per day.
Depending upon the type of assignments, agents frequently work other than
normal business hours and more than 2 additional LEAP hours per day. In
short, a special agents work schedule and the number of hours worked per
day or week will vary according to assignments.
- Travel: travel may be considerable, depending upon
SALARY AND BENEFITS
- Base Annual
Salary Range For Year 2006
- $31,075 (Grade 5) to $39,448 (Grade 9)
- (Salary range excludes locality pay and the 25% Law Enforcement
- Base salary will depend upon grade qualifications. Application
materials will be reviewed by the recruitment and hiring center to
determine the grade for which an applicant may qualify. All applicants
must meet basic qualifications at the grade 5 to be eligible to take the
Treasury Enforcement Agent (TEA) examination (see the basic grade
qualifications section of this vacancy).
- Locality Pay: All ATF duty stations qualify for locality pay.
Special agents receive an additional percentage of their base salary,
depending upon their locations. The current range of locality pay is
12.52% to 28.68%.
- Law Enforcement Availability Pay: Because of the type of work
and additional work hours, generally all special agents receive the 25%
Law Enforcement Availability Pay, which is added to locality pay.
- Foreign Language Award Program: The Foreign Language Award
Program authorizes cash awards for ATF employees who possess and make
substantial use of one or more foreign language(s) in the performance of
their official duties. The cash award is based upon proficiency and
- Promotion Potential: The full performance level for this
position is grade 13. Note: Promotions are based upon performance and must
receive supervisory approval.
- - Annual leave (vacation time) is earned at the rate of 13-26 days per
year, with a maximum accumulation of 240 hours per year.
- - Sick leave is earned at the rate of 13 days per year and may be
accumulated without limit.
- - 10 paid holidays.
- - Low cost health insurance with the option to choose from a variety
- - Low cost life insurance.
- - Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) benefits. Special agents
may retire at 50 with 20 years of service. Age 57 is the mandatory
retirement age, with 20 years of service.
- - Tax-deferred Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).
- - Health improvement (physical fitness) program.
- Be a U.S. citizen
- If male applicant 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 between the ages of 21 and 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 operators license.
- Complete ATF special agent applicant questionnaire.
- Take and pass the Treasury Enforcement Agent Examination.
- Take and pass the ATF special agent applicant assessment test.
- Appear for and successfully complete a field panel interview a
writing sample will be required.
- Take and pass a polygraph examination and successfully complete a
background investigation for a top secret clearance.
- Be in compliance with ATFs drug policy for special agent
- Take and pass a medical examination by an authorized government
physician and meet medical requirements. Applicants must be able to
perform physically strenuous duties safely.
- - At a minimum, ATF special agents must meet 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
opthalmologist 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, as measured by an audiometer, must not exceed 30
decibels at 500, 1000, and 2000 HZ levels.
- Weight must be in proportion to height.
- Take and pass a drug test.
CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT
- This position requires the incumbent to carry a firearm and
ammunition. (Persons who have been convicted of felonies and certain
misdemeanors, including a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (Title
18, U.S.C. section 922 (g) (9)) are not eligible to possess a firearm or
- Applicants will be required to sign a geographic mobility
agreement acknowledging that if selected, they may be assigned to any
office in the United States and will be subject to relocation at any time.
- Payment of relocation expenses to the first
appointment with ATF will not be authorized for applicants that are not
now ATF employees.
- Selected applicants shall be appointed in the excepted service and
must satisfactorily complete a three year trial period which includes but
is not limited to successful completion of the criminal investigator
training program, special agent basic training and qualifying and
maintaining firearms proficiency.
- Each newly hired ATF special agent is required to achieve, a minimum
of 25%, in each of the following Physical Battery Efficiency (PEB)
exercises: the 1.5 mile run, the bench press and the agility run.
Failure to achieve 25% or higher in any of these categories during the
first week of the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP) AND
towards the conclusion of Special Agent Basic Training (SABT) will result
in the special agent being dismissed from training. ATF has a no recycle
policy for failures in any of the practical exercises, physical training
or academic requirements. All exercises and examinations provide
opportunities for remediation. To determine these standards please refer
to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center PEB webpage at
www.fletc.gov/ptd/PEB-1 web.htm .
- The ATF Academy strongly encourages all applicants and new special
agent hires to be in top physical condition prior to arriving at the
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Arriving in excellent
physical condition will allow you to enjoy all aspects of training and
prepare you for your future as an ATF special agent.
METHODS OF RECRUITMENT
- All applicants must take and pass the ATF Treasury Enforcement Agent
(TEA) examination and the ATF special agent applicant assessment to be
eligible for further consideration for agent positions
- Applicants must meet basic qualifications (at least) at the grade 5
to be eligible to take the TEA. (See the basic qualifications section of
this informational packet)
- Administration of Tests: The test sessions run about 4 hours for
both tests. The Office of Personnel Management will administer and score
- Applications for position openings or testing opportunities will
only be accepted in response to a specific ATF job notice or vacancy
For updates on ATF Special Agent recruitment efforts, please
visit our website at www.atf.gov.
FOR GRADE 5
- A bachelors degree from an accredited college or university
Three years of general experience, one of which was equivalent to at
least the grade 4. General experience is defined as progressively
responsible work in criminal investigative or law enforcement fields that
requires knowledge and application of laws relating to criminal
A combination of education and experience. Education is credited on
the basis of 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of undergraduate work
which is equivalent to 9 months of work experience.
Note: see non-qualifying general experience section.
FOR GRADE 9
- Two full years of progressively higher level graduate education;
A masters degree or other graduate degree such as: an LL.B, J.D.
One full year of specialized experience. Experience must have been
equivalent to at least the GS-7 level. The applicant must have specific
knowledge, skills and abilities using criminal investigative techniques to
successfully perform the duties of the position.
NON-QUALIFYING GENERAL EXPERIENCE
- Work experience as a uniformed law enforcement officer, where the
principal duties consist of investigations and arrests, involving traffic
violations, minor felonies, misdemeanors, and comparable offenses; or
- Work experience in which the major duties involve guarding and
protecting property; preventing crimes, and/or legal research without the
application of investigative techniques.
FOR GRADE 7
- A bachelors degree with Superior Academic Achievement (SAA).
Superior Academic Achievement is based on one of the following:
- Class standing applicants must be in the upper third of the
- Grade point average applicants must have a minimum average of 2.95
out of a possible 4.0, based on 4 years of education or based on courses
completed during the final 2 years of the curriculum.
- Three point five (3.5) or higher out of a possible 4.0 based on the
average of the required courses completed in the major field of study or
the required courses in the major field completed during the final 2 years
of the curriculum.
- Membership in a national honor society as listed in the Association
of College Honor Societies: Booklet of Information (1992-95) and/or
Bairds Manual of American College Fraternities (1991).
Applicants are required to provide proof of SAA;
GS-7 requirements may also be met by completion of 1 year of
full-time graduate education or
One full year of specialized experience equivalent to at least the
GS-5 grade level. Specialized experience is experience in or related to
investigations of criminal violations that provided the specific
knowledge, skills, and abilities to successfully perform the duties of the
position. Examples of qualifying specialized experience include:
- - Leadership or membership on a military intelligence or criminal
investigative team or component in which the principal duties consisted
of security investigations, intelligence gathering or criminal
- - Analyzing raw investigative data and preparing comprehensive
written investigative reports.
- - Investigating complex claims involving suspected crimes or alleged
- - Investigating criminal cases requiring the use of recognized
investigative methods that may have included presenting evidence in
- - Supervising or conducting interrogations that involved eliciting
evidence, data or surveillance information.
- - Law enforcement work in which 50 percent or more of the time
involved criminal investigations requiring the use of surveillance,
undercover or other criminal detection methods.
- - Investigating computerized businesses and/or accounting systems
and forming sound conclusions as to related criminal business practices
and compliance with federal laws and regulations.
- - Investigative work that required rapid, accurate judgments and
sound decision-making in applying regulations, instructions and
- Successful completion of formalized programs of in-service training
for any of the above.