What Training Is Needed for Becoming an Immigration Officer?

Immigration officers work for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), which is the largest investigative agency in the Department of Homeland Security. In this role, you'd be responsible for detecting immigration fraud, investigating it, and detaining illegal aliens. Keep reading if you want to know the training needed to become an immigration officer, and get info about how to find job openings in this field. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Formal Education

Associate's degree programs in criminal justice can prepare you for a career in immigration enforcement at the municipal, state, or federal levels. Beginning courses in criminal law introduce you to the history of law enforcement, the causes of crime, and prevention techniques. Other courses focus on courtroom fundamentals and investigation practices.

Advanced elective courses in criminal investigating, public safety, emergency response, community relations, and juvenile procedures can prepare you to either enter the world of law enforcement or to advance to the university level. Bachelor's degree programs in criminal justice or police science follow the same basic course load as associate's degree programs, but they include advanced courses on constitutional law, comparative criminal investigation, logical reasoning, crime and social organizations, and the corrections system.

Important Facts About Immigration Officers

Median Salary (2019) $59,477*
Job Outlook (2016-2026)7% growth (Police and Detectives)**
Key Skills Knowledge of Immigration Law, Conflict Resolution, Interpersonal Communication
Work Environment Office Setting
Similar Occupations Customs and Border Patrol Officer, International Student Adviser, Transportation Security Officer

Source: *Payscale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Employment Opportunities

Job postings are made available online. First, go to the USCIS' main website (www.uscis.gov), and go to the 'About Us' section, then click the 'Career Opportunities' link. As with any government agency, it's often challenging to get your foot in the door. But once you start at an entry-level position, you'll qualify to apply for a position more within your area of expertise.

Basic Training

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deportation Integrated (ICE-D) training program has recently taken the place of the immigration officer basic training program. The program, which lasts 13 weeks, is designed to give new immigration and customs enforcement or immigration agents a complete understanding of basic immigration law, detention and fingerprinting procedures, interviewing techniques and the detection and seizure of contraband. You'll will also receive training in firearms, arrest procedures, cross-cultural communications, and defensive techniques. These need to be learned properly to avoid liability issues, which is also part of the training procedure.

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