Becoming an Industry Operations Investigator

Industry Operations Investigator holds federal firearms licensee outreach classIndustry operations investigators (IOIs) support ATF’s regulatory mission by working directly with federal licensees and permittees to ensure they comply with firearms and explosives regulations. IOIs also examine licensees’ and permitees' records to identify evidence of falsification of records and potential criminal trafficking. IOIs are responsible for ensuring industry members are in compliance with federal and state laws.

IOIs leverage their knowledge of industry regulations along with strong verbal and written communication skills to meet the demands of the job. They often work long hours and travel extensively to inspect business premises, manufacturers and storage facilities in their region. IOIs must be ready to accept reassignment to any ATF duty station.

As of fiscal year 2020, there are 811 industry operations investigators stationed at ATF offices across the nation.

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  • Inspect industry members’ product inventories and records to detect possible violations of law
  • Refer all criminal violations to applicable authorities, including criminal enforcement units
  • Conduct field investigations and on-site interviews to determine eligibility for federal license and permit applicants
  • Educate industry members about the federal and state laws governing the firearms and explosives sectors
  • Lead seminars and training sessions for industry members, trade groups and the public to keep them informed about regulatory requirements

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Ability to obtain a Top Secret clearance
  • Eligible to work for the U.S. federal government
  • Valid driver’s license

Industry Operations Investigators inspect the firearms inventory at a pawn shopApplication Process

The entire process can take 12 months or longer from start to finish. Failure to pass any of the steps below may eliminate you from the hiring process.

Online Application

ATF job announcements are available on Applicants are encouraged to:

If qualified, you will receive a selection notice that you have passed the first phase, as well as a notification letter with more details about the next steps.

Interview, Exam and Background Check

  • Panel interview
  • Candidate letter notice
  • Background investigation
  • Medical exam
  • Drug test

If you pass the panel interview, written exam, background investigation and all other tests, you will receive an “Enter on Duty” letter to report to training and new hire orientation.


Newly hired industry operations investigators report to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. Here, they must complete the 10-week Industry Operations Investigator Training Program.

Learn more about basic training

Contact Us

Email your questions or comments regarding the industry operations career or application process to


Last Reviewed February 8, 2023