Careers at CBP
CBP stands for Customs and Border Protection.
With more than 60,000 employees, CBP is one of the world’s largest law enforcement organizations. Its main duty is to keep terrorists and other threats at bay, and to ensure lawful travel and trade.
In practice this involves border control, implementing and overseeing national security, disrupting terrorist threats and organizations, and facilitating lawful trade and travel.
The CBP headquarters are located in Washington DC.
Types of roles at CBP
There are a huge range of different roles available to candidates of all experience levels and backgrounds.
First of all, it’s worth looking at the broad career categories where you can find different opportunities at CBP. These include:
- Air and Marine Operations
- Office of Trade
- Border Patrol
- Office of Professional Responsibility
How To Get Hired At CBP
CBP cites its main mission as protecting the country. And they’re looking for people with the passion, dedication and ability to do just that.
There are a few general requirements to work at CBP such as having a valid driver’s license, being allowed to carry a firearm and being a U.S. resident for at least three years, but the CBP are also an inclusive and diverse employer who are actively seeking a variety of different people.
The core CBP values are vigilance, service and integrity.
CBP Application Process
The CBP application process is incredibly rigorous.
Not only does CBP want to hire the best people for the job, but they also need to ensure prospective candidates do not take drugs, are medically and physically fit, are able to carry a firearm, have a valid driver’s license and pass the mandatory polygraph test.
CBP Online Application
To begin the process, you’ll need to complete and submit your online application on USAJOBS.
You’ll be asked to share your resume, relevant transcripts and any further documents that prove your age and experience.
To check your application has been received, it’s a good idea to log back into your USAJOBS account — if you’ve successfully applied you’ll be able to see an application date.
The CBP resume aid is a great tool to use to ensure you’ve provided the best possible application.
The CBP Hiring Center will review your application and progress you to the next stage if you meet all the criteria.
CBP Entrance Exam
The first proper stage of the CBP application process is the entrance exam.
The entrance exam is split into two parts. The first part is the online candidate experience record which can be taken in the comfort of your own home and should take less than an hour to complete.
To complete the second part of the test, you’ll be invited to schedule a slot at your local test center. Here, you’ll need to work through the logical reasoning, numerical reasoning and writing skills sections.
To move on to the next stage in the process, you’ll need to score more than 70.
CBP Background Check
Every candidate applying to the CBP must take part in a background check.
You’ll need to fill out a questionnaire to kickstart the process. Then, as well as a preliminary vetting, you can expect a fuller investigation before the final ruling.
CBP Medical Exam
As well as examining your suitability through background checks and reasoning tests, the CBP will also ask you to take a medical exam so they can be confident you’re physically fit enough to meet the demands of the role.
The full medical examination is also a chance for you to declare any conditions or diseases that could interfere with your duties.
Your assessor will examine your individual case thoroughly before deciding whether you can move on to the next stage, if you require more testing, or if your medical health, unfortunately, rules you out of the process.
CBP Fitness Tests
Everyone working at CBP will have been put through their paces in the fitness test. This is essential to ensure employees don’t put their safety, or the safety of others, at risk by not having the required fitness levels to meet the basic requirements of the role.
You can find more information here on what you need to do, but overall it involves doing 20 sit-ups in one minute, 12 push-ups in one minute and proving you can complete 110 12” steps per minute, for five minutes.
The interview at this stage of the process is competency-based, so it’s essential you respond to each question with clear, concise examples of how you've demonstrated a particular knowledge or skill before.
The questions cover a variety of themes and topics including your decision-making skills, judgment, emotional maturity, interpersonal skills, cooperation, and emotional sensitivity and intelligence.
CBP Polygraph Exam
Most candidates will also be asked to take part in a polygraph exam.
Although this can be nerve-wracking, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about. Try to relax and answer the questions as honestly as possible.
The polygraph exam can last between four and six hours, and covers questions on national security, as well as on the information and answers you’ve provided on your forms and as part of the application process thus far.
Every polygraph test is taken through a quality control review afterward to ensure the results are as fair and accurate as possible.
CBP Drug Test
Each candidate will also be asked to take a random drug test at some point in the application process.
A failure to comply, or a failure on the test itself will result in an instant disqualification from the process.
Tips To Get Hired At CBP
1. Ensure the CBP is for you
The CBP process is incredibly rigorous and thorough, and the job itself is demanding (while also being incredibly rewarding). That’s why it’s essential to read through the job description, application process and day-to-day realities of the work and really evaluate whether it’s the role for you.
2. Answer honestly
At each stage of the process, it’s essential you answer every question as honestly as you can.
The CBP application is incredibly thorough as national security is at stake, and there’s little to no chance you’ll be able to get through it if you’re hiding things. Honesty saves everyone’s time.
3. Do your research
Whether it’s writing a strong application, successfully practicing mock tests before completing the assessments or getting ready for the physical — research, practice and preparation are essential at every stage if you want to pass the CBP application process.