If you’d like to combine serving your country with an exciting career, you may want to consider looking into a position with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Many opportunities for career growth are available at the DHS, including positions with the U.S. Secret Service (USSS).

The USSS has two missions that are crucial to national security. First, they protect the president, the vice president and other officials. Secondly, they conduct criminal investigations. In carrying out its first mission, the USSS relies on protective support technicians to ensure safe transportation of our nation’s leaders.

Your path to this fascinating and rewarding career might start by enrolling in a BA Criminal Justice degree program, where you are offered the specialized knowledge needed to break into the field of law enforcement.

Protective Support Technician Job Description

Protective support technicians make sure that vehicles needed to transport people under the USSS’s protection are ready for service. In this role, they perform a wide variety of duties. Protective support technicians serve as auto technicians and manage vehicle routes, schedules and maintenance.

Protective support technicians are required to carry and use a firearm while on the job, and maintain firearm proficiency. These Secret Service professionals must be prepared to defend themselves and others in the case of attack. Work hours may be erratic, including evenings, weekend and shift work.

Protective Support Technician Job Duties

Protective support technicians perform tasks associated with protecting the movement of our country’s leaders and the vehicles involved in those movements. Specific job duties include:

  • Assisting with arranging secure transportation of protective vehicles around the country and abroad
  • Driving protective vehicles
  • Inspecting protective vehicles to ensure performance
  • Reviewing time frames, schedule, and locations of evacuation sites, hospitals and repair facilities along routes taken by protective vehicles
  • Maintaining and servicing vehicles operated by the Secret Service
  • Solving mechanical problems, such as weight, torque and special equipment on protective vehicles
  • Overseeing modification of vehicles used by the Secret Service
  • Preparing reports on vehicle conditions.
  • Covering assigned security posts

Protective Support Technician Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that protective service occupation jobs are projected to grow 11% through 2020, so the protective support technician job outlook can be considered positive. Employment growth is determined by federal government spending, which can fluctuate over the years. However, continued demand for protection of dignitaries will make opportunities more plentiful for qualified applicants. Prospective students are encouraged to conduct their own research, as job availability will vary according to geographical region, education, experience and other factors.

Potential Salary for Protective Support Technicians

According to information published by the U.S. Secret Service on the USAJOBS website in 2013, the salary range for protective support technicians was between $49,861 and $68,834 per year. Prospective students are encouraged to conduct their own research, as potential salaries will vary according to geographical region, education, experience and other factors.

Education and Training for Protective Support Technicians

Qualifying for a United States Secret Service protective support technician job takes preparation, education and training. Minimum qualifications are one year of government experience in maintaining vehicles, as well as specialized armored car experience.

Launching a career with the Secret Service generally takes at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. For certain positions, a combination of experience and education, such as working as a police officer or specialized homeland security training, may be sufficient.

The knowledge that can be obtained through a four-year criminal justice program is extremely beneficial when seeking entrance into the law enforcement field. A BA criminal justice degree program will offer coursework in law, criminal justice, criminal investigation, community policing, correctional systems, ethics, and homeland security and terrorism.

In addition to education and experience requirements, protective support technician candidates must obtain a Top Secret clearance and undergo a comprehensive background check. Age, vision, physical condition and firearms proficiency requirements must also be met. Another requirement to be considered for this position is a minimum of five certifications from the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE).

Candidates for protective support technician positions are evaluated on their education and training, the extent and quality of their experience, and the following competencies:

  • Knowledge of vehicle systems and assemblies, such as transmissions, engines, braking systems, and other components
  • Knowledge of vehicle testing procedures
  • Communication skills, interpersonal skills and ability to communicate with staff and management

Once hired, protective support technicians must successfully complete a basic training course. They are also subject to random drug tests.

Protect and Serve by Becoming a Protective Support Technician

Working with the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service can bring a wide variety of career opportunities, all centered on serving the nation and protecting citizens from harm. If you are interested in serving your country and have a knack for automotive maintenance and repair, then becoming a protective support technician could be a great fit for you. When planning your career path, be sure to explore how a degree in criminal justice offers the education and skills you’ll need to make your dream career a reality.

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