Disclaimer: It should be obvious by now, but this is NOT an official Border Patrol web site and the information presented here is provided for your use in deciding if a Border Patrol career might be of interest to you. The information provided is by an individual retired agent NOT representing the Border Patrol, the Department of Homeland Security, nor the US Government.
I am putting this section here because so many people have asked for the information. I realize that a person would be foolish if that person were to jump into a job without knowing something of the pay and benefits. There is something you need to know about this job. If you do not BELIEVE in what you are doing, if you are one to have your feelings easily hurt by a lack of public support, if you are not a true patriot, you are NOT going to enjoy this job. If you are seeking the job purely for the pecuniary benefits that it will yield, you will not be happy. Quite frankly, you couldn't pay me enough to do this job if I did not meet the criteria set forth above. On the other hand, if I were a lotto winner and didn't need to work at all, I would do it for free. That's how you need to be, as well.
Now, for the reason you came here:
The Border Patrol is a law enforcement organization, therefore you work when the law breakers work. In our profession, they work mainly at night. The Border Patrol kindly compensates you for being in the dark and having to sleep while the rest of the world is awake. This amount adds to your pay and is called Night Differential. You also work Sundays, holidays and overtime. These also add to your paycheck in a major way.
If you have verifiable military service, Peace Corps or Vista service, you may be able to "buy back" that time into the FERS retirement system. Here is a LINK where you can read more. Border Patrol's premium pay adds a major portion of extra income to your paycheck. It is too complicated to discuss here. Try to live on your BASE pay. I always encourage young agents to budget using ONLY their base pay, and to keep any premium pay for investment purposes since it can be changed or done away with at any time.
The pay tables are linked at the bottom of this paragraph. The first one shows the GL pay grades to which you will most likely be assigned. (GL-5 or GL-7). You will non-competitively promote to the next higher odd-numbered pay grade (Example: GL-7 promotes to GL-9, GL-5 promotes to GL-7).
The table below the GL schedule is known as the RUS (Rest of the United States) scale. This is the LOWEST POSSIBLE pay you can earn as a federal law enforcement officer with no Cost of Living adjustments for locality. Any other area that has a locality pay will be higher than this. See the official OPM pay tables for that information. There will be deductions such as income tax (fed and state), Social Security, health insurance premiums, union dues and all that fun stuff. However, there will be plenty of additions to offset those deductions, such as holiday pay, Sunday pay, night differential, etc. We'll have to wait and see what happens with AUO and FLSA (which will more than likely disappear at the same time AUO does).
Advancement from...Requires...step 1 to step 252 weeks of creditable service at step 1step 2 to step 352 weeks of creditable service at step 2step 3 to step 452 weeks of creditable service in step 3step 4 to step 5104 weeks of creditable service in step 4step 5 to step 6104 weeks of creditable service in step 5step 6 to step 7104 weeks of creditable service in step 6step 7 to step 8156 weeks of creditable service in step 7step 8 to step 9156 weeks of creditable service in step 8step 9 to step 10156 weeks of creditable service in step 9
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