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ATF Agent

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, also known as ATF agents, enforce federal alcohol, tobacco, firearm and explosives laws and statutes to prevent crime and protect public safety. An ATF agent must be a U.S. citizen who holds a four-year degree (or have three years of relevant experience) in criminal justice or law enforcement.

After being accepted into the program, an applicant must complete extensive training, first in the Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP) and then in Special Agent Basic Training (SABT), which covers explosives and arson investigation techniques.

ATF Agents Education Requirements

A bachelor’s degree is required to become an ATF agent, especially in the area of criminal justice or legal studies. Other recommended coursework includes criminology, juvenile justice, criminal law and criminal psychology.

For an online degree program that can help prepare you for a career as an ATF agent, see:

ATF Agent Career Description

ATF agents are law enforcement officers who operate under the United States Department of Justice. They work with state and local federal agencies to enforce the prosecution of federal law violations concerning the sale, manufacture and possession of firearms and explosives.

The everyday work life and job duties of ATF agents may include:

  • Investigating crimes
  • Conducting surveillance
  • Requesting and executing search and arrest warrants
  • Conducting raids
  • Preparing investigative reports
  • Testifying in court or before grand juries

The job of an ATF agent can be dangerous and may also require relocation. Hiring is done only through vacancy announcements made on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives website.

* Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific curriculum, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.



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