In the course of their work, ATF special agents often face dangerous environments and situations that are challenging both mentally and physically. Applicants interested in becoming special agents must demonstrate their ability to tackle multiple physical tasks as a display of their excellent physical condition.
Physical Task Test (PTT)
All applicants must pass a standardized Physical Task Test (PTT) to meet the eligibility requirements for the special agent position. If you do not meet the minimum standards for your age and gender (see below), you will be removed from the hiring process. ATF does not offer additional opportunities to take the PTT.
The PTT is held at an ATF Field Division office or a site designated by the special agent in charge. You have to pay for your own travel to and from the designated PTT site. If you don’t participate in your scheduled PTT, you will be removed from the hiring process.
You will be tested only once in each of the three categories below, with only minimal rest between events. You must complete and sign the Physical Waiver and Score Sheet before you begin the PTT.
Complete as many sit-ups as you can in 1 minute without stopping:
- Begin the sit-up by lying flat on your back, knees bent at approximately a 90-degree angle, heels in contact with the ground (partner holds the ankles) and fingers interlocked behind your neck.
- Raise your upper body (head and torso) forward to the vertical position (your face must break the vertical plane).
- After reaching the vertical position, lower your upper body to the ground until your upper back (shoulder blades) has touched the ground. This is one repetition.
Complete as many push-ups as you can in 1 minute without stopping:
- Begin the push-up by assuming the front-leaning rest position with hands placed just outside the straight line down from the shoulders. Your back, buttocks, and legs must be straight from head to heels. Look straight ahead (Position #1).
- Bend your elbows and lowering your entire body until the center of the chest (sternum) touches the 4-inch foam block positioned between you and the ground (Position #2).
- Return to the start position by locking the elbows. This is one repetition. You may only stop to rest in the upright push-up position.
1.5 mile run
Complete a 1.5-mile run as quickly as you can.
To pass the PTT, you must meet or exceed these established age and gender-based minimum standards for all three parts of the test:
|Physical Tasks||Age 21-29||Age 30-39||Age 40|
in 1 minute
in 1 minute
|Minium time for
a 1.5 mile run
Applicants with Prior Law Enforcement or Military Special Agent Experience
The timing and process for the PTT are a little different for applicants with prior law enforcement or military special agent experience, but the minimum standards are the same. Regardless, all applicants must pass the Pre-Employment PTT.
For trainees reporting to the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP), they must pass the PTT within the first week of CITP at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).
For trainees from other federal law enforcement agencies who have completed CITP or its equivalent (such as FBI’s New Agent Training or DEA's Basic Agent Training), they must pass the PTT during the first week of Special Agent Basic Training (SABT).
In both cases, if trainees do not meet the minimum PTT standards, they will be given a remediation test 30 calendar days after the first test. If they still do not meet the minimum standards during the remediation test, they will be removed from CITP or SABT.
If a trainee is injured, they will take the PTT three (3) business days after receiving medical clearance from the FLETC medical staff or an ATF-approved health care provider. If the medically cleared trainee does not meet PTT standards during the remediation test, they will be removed from training.