The job of an ATF special agent can be dangerous and physically demanding, and being physically fit can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. Applicants for the position of special agent must be able to demonstrate that they are in excellent physical condition and are able to perform tasks such as defensive tactics, arrest techniques and proficient use of firearms.
Pre-Employment Physical Task Test (PTT):
Applicants must first take and pass the written ATF special agent exam. The next step in the hiring process is the Physical Task Test (PTT). All applicants must pass a standardized PTT to ensure that they are able to meet their responsibilities as ATF special agents. Under the pre-employment PTT, applicants will be tested one time only in each of three areas, in the following order, with minimal rest between events:
- Sit-ups (the maximum number performed in 1 minute without stopping).
- Push-ups (the maximum number performed in 1 minute without stopping).
- One and one-half mile run (the minimum completion time for a 1.5 mile run).
To pass, applicants must achieve certain age- and gender-based minimum standards for the sit-ups, push-ups and 1.5 mile run. (See Scoring Chart below) Failure to meet the minimum posted PTT standards for any one of the tested areas will result in removal from the hiring process. There is no remediation for the pre-employment PTT.
Trainees reporting to the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP):
Trainees must pass the same PTT within the first week of CITP at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center or he/she will be removed from Federal service.
Trainees reporting directly to Special Agent Basic Training (SABT):
For trainees from other Federal law enforcement agencies who have completed CITP or its equivalent (i.e., Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy's New Agent Training, Drug Enforcement Agency National Academy's Basic Agent Training) the same PTT will be administered again during the first week of SABT. Trainees must pass the PTT or be removed from Federal service.
ATF special agent applicants are required to travel to and from the designated PTT site at their own expense. Applicants are required to complete and execute the Physical Waiver and Score Sheet prior to participating in the PTT. The PTT will be administered at the respective ATF Field Division office or a site designated by the special agent in charge. The applicant will participate in the PTT and, if successful, continue with the hiring process. Failure to meet the minimum posted PTT standards in any one of the tested areas will result in removal from the hiring process. Failure to participate in a scheduled PTT will result in removal from the hiring process.
Pre-employment Physical Task Test Scoring Chart
|Age 21–29||Age 30–39||Age 40|
|Minimum score for the 1.5 mile run||12 minutes 18 seconds (12:18)||
14 minutes 55 seconds (14:55)
|12 minutes 51 seconds (12:51)||15 minutes 26 seconds (15:26)||13 minutes 53 seconds (13:53)||16 minutes 27 seconds (16:27)|
|Minimum push-ups performed in 1 minute||33||16||27||14||21||11|
|Minimum sit-ups performed in 1 minute||40||35||36||27||31||22|
1. Age at time of test.
2. The Push-up Test Protocol (Male and Female) (Maximum number performed within 1 minute without stopping):
Participant begins the push-up by assuming the front-leaning rest position with hands placed just outside the straight line down from the shoulders. The back, buttocks, and legs must be straight from head to heels. Participant is looking straight-ahead (Position #1).
Begin the push-up by bending the elbows and lowering the entire body until the center of the chest (sternum) touches the 4-inch foam block positioned between the participant and the ground (Position #2). Return to the start position by locking the elbows. This is one repetition. The participant may only stop to rest in the upright push-up position.
3. The Sit-up Test Protocol (Male and Female) (Maximum number performed within 1 minute without stopping):
Begin the sit-up by lying flat on the back, knees bent at approximately a 90-degree angle, heels in contact with the ground (partner holds the ankles) and fingers interlocked behind the neck. Raise the upper body (head and torso) forward to the vertical position (the face of the participant must break the vertical plane). After reaching the vertical position, lower the upper body to the ground until the upper back (shoulder blades) has touched the ground. This is one repetition.