Here's How Much Secret Service Agents Really Make

When the average person thinks of a Secret Service agent, it's probably someone in a dark suit touching an earpiece as they stand guard behind the president of the United States. This is just one of many possible jobs a Secret Service agent might have, and it's certainly not the average position of someone who works for the agency. Per Forbes, the Secret Service has two missions. The first is protective, which is the more stereotypical detail and includes protecting current and former presidents and vice presidents as well as major candidates, visiting heads of state, foreign dignitaries, and Congress members.

The second consists of investigating certain crimes and enforcing laws, including counterfeiting, various types of fraud, and money laundering. Most Secret Service agents work in investigative detail and anyone who wants to work in protective detail must have at least two years of experience in investigations. According to a former Secret Service agent who spoke with Forbes, protective detail is so demanding that it makes it difficult to have a family or personal life outside the job. Yet, does this mean it pays well? 

There's a huge range of Secret Service agent salaries

According to the official Secret Service website, applicants to the agency must qualify for the GL-07 level or the GL-09 level. GL stands for General Law, and it's the pay system for law enforcement officers employed by over 130 various federal agencies, per Clearance Jobs. The system uses eight grades with ten steps per grade, which means there's a huge range of possible pay grades for Secret Service agents. The United States Office of Personnel Management reports that the special base rates for law enforcement officers rage from $42,698 for GL-07, step one to $61,443 for GL-09, step ten. Special Agents reportedly stand to make much more; per Glass Door, the base pay average for a Secret Service Special Agent is $144,477.

In addition to meeting the GL-07 or GL-09 levels, applicants must be at least 21 years old and under 37 years old upon receiving a conditional job offer. (Those with Veterans' Preference must be under 40.) There's also a vision requirement of "uncorrected vision no worse than 20/100 binocular; correctable to 20/20 in each eye." A physical fitness test, a drug test, and a written test must be passed. Additionally, a thorough background check must be completed to qualify for Top Secret clearance, and a person cannot have any visible body markings such as tattoos on the face, neck, head, hands, and fingers.