Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the requirements for becoming an ATFspecial agent?
- As a special agent applicant, can I apply for a specific duty location?
- Can a criminal investigator with another Federal agency lateral over to ATF?
- I have already taken an occupational exam for another Federal agency. Do I still have to take an exam as an ATF special agent applicant?
- How can I find out about future special agent vacancy announcements?
- Will ATF consider applicants with an arrest record or with a history of past drug use?
- How can current special agent applicants find out the status of their application?
- I am currently a student in college and will be obtaining a four-year degree in the near future. Can I submit an application for the Special Agent position
Q: What are the requirements for becoming an ATF criminal investigator (special agent)?
The following informational packet provides detailed information about the ATF special agent position to include major duties, basic qualifications, conditions of employment and specific requirements:
Q: As a special agent applicant, can I apply for a specific duty location?
Under current hiring authority applicants apply to specific duty locations listed in the vacancy announcement. Application for duty location could change in the future based on changes in hiring authority.
Current criminal investigators may apply under an open announcement, however, applicants who submit an application under an “entry level” announcement will only be considered for a position at the Grade 5, 7 or 9 level.
All special agent applicants must take and pass the ATF Special Agent Exam and an applicant assessment test. ATF is no longer using the Treasury Enforcement Agent (TEA) Exam. Results from an ATF sponsored exam are valid for three years from the date of the exam. Sample questions for the ATF Special Agent Exam can be found at the “Careers” section of this website.
All suitability issues are reviewed on a case-by-case basis during the pre-employment screening process.
Due to the large volume of applications processed by ATF, the Recruitment, Hiring, and Staffing Center will be unable to assist with individual status checks. Applicants are considered to be in the hiring process unless they receive written notification that they are no longer under consideration.
As noted in each special agent vacancy announcement, the ATF hiring process can be very lengthy. Applicants are forwarded through the hiring process on an as needed basis and not on any set schedule. Budget issues, staffing issues and previously existing pool(s) of applicants may significantly affect the time it takes to complete the hiring process.
If applying based on the education requirement you must already have your degree at the time of application. Special agent vacancy announcements are posted at www.USAJobs.gov.