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Technical Enforcement Officer

Technical Enforcement Officer

Technical Enforcement Officer

At ICE, I work with highly sophisticated electronic surveillance devices and equipment every day and I am part of high-risk special operation teams that carry out critical investigative work.

As a technical enforcement officer, you will work with criminal investigators and other law enforcement officers in active criminal investigations and apply advanced investigative techniques to gather evidence and intelligence that facilitates prosecuting violations of U.S. criminal law.

You will gain an extensive working knowledge in the use, instruction, installation, maintenance, troubleshooting and integration of the full range of electronic surveillance devices including but not limited to telephone, video, audio, tracking, radio frequency (RF) technologies and associated surveillance systems. You will provide extensive expertise in planning and executing the electronic surveillance phase of major investigative and enforcement operations.

You will serve on high-risk special operations teams and make covert court-ordered entry onto the property of targets of criminal investigations to install equipment to collect evidence.

You will also serve as a technical authority and provide training and guidance to journey-level technical enforcement officers, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and other law enforcement officers engaged in electronic surveillance and investigative work, assuring mission requirements are fulfilled.


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Application Process

Apply Online

Applications for technical enforcement officer positions will be accepted during an open vacancy announcement. Vacancy announcements will be posted online through the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) USAJOBS website. During an open announcement period, the applicant will be required to submit a resume with the original application. If the applicant is a preference-eligible veteran, additional opportunities may be available. Preference-eligible applicants may find additional information at OPM's website. Click below to learn more about basic eligibility.

Basic Eligibility

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Have a valid driver's license.
  • Be eligible to carry a firearm.
  • Referred for selection prior to your 37th birthday (waiver for preference-eligible veterans or those who have previously served in a federal civilian law enforcement position).
  • For males born after 12/31/1959, Selective Service registration is required.

Occupational Questionnaire

If an applicant meets the minimum qualifications requirements, his/her experience, education, and training will be rated using an online assessment (occupational questionnaire). Based on the responses, an applicant will receive a score between 70 and 100. For those applicants who meet the minimum score requirements, their résumé and supporting documentation will be reviewed to ensure they meet the basic qualification requirements. If an applicant meets the minimum qualifications and minimum score requirements, his/her name will be referred to take the special agent test battery and writing sample assessment.


Certain veterans may receive an additional five or 10 points added to their numerical score on the occupational questionnaire (refer to the occupational questionnaire section below for scoring details).

Determine whether you qualify for veterans' preference


If an applicant has never worked for the federal government, he/she is not ICTAP/CTAP eligible. Information about ICTAP or CTAP eligibility is found on the OPM's Career Transition Resources website. To be considered well qualified under ICTAP/CTAP an applicant must earn a score of 85 or above on the rating criteria developed for this position.

Drug Testing

ICE is a drug-free workplace. All ICE applicants must satisfactorily complete a drug test as a mandatory condition of employment with ICE. ICE will schedule, provide and pay for the drug test. Once onboard, employees are subject to random drug testing throughout their careers.

Physical and Environmental Conditions

Applicants for officer positions with HSI must take and pass a three-part fitness test consisting of the following components: kneel/stand test, push-ups and a 5-minute cardiovascular endurance step test. The criminal investigator position requires moderate to arduous physical exertion involving walking and standing, use of firearms and exposure to inclement weather. The work requires physical strength and stamina. Individuals must be able to conduct long periods of surveillance, pursue and restrain suspects, and carry heavy equipment to be used in investigative efforts. The environment involves both indoor and outdoor work in a variety of potentially dangerous and stressful situations, as well as exposure to physical attack, including the use of lethal weapons.

Medical Requirements

Appointment will be contingent upon a candidate passing a pre-employment medical examination to ascertain possession of the physical, emotional, and mental requirements for the position. Any chronic disease or condition affecting the respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, digestive, nervous, endocrine or genitourinary systems that would impair full performance of the job duties is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and may disqualify the individual. Since the duties of these positions are demanding and involve the responsibility for the safety of others under trying conditions, applicants must possess emotional and mental stability. Any condition that hinders full, efficient performance of the duties of these positions or would cause the individual to be a hazard to himself/herself or to others can result in disqualification. Common reasons for medical disqualification include the inability to meet the hearing and vision medical standards.

FAQ: What should I provide during the medical examination?

Background/Security Investigation

All positions require security vetting. Security vetting takes an average of three months to complete, but the process can vary from two weeks to one year, depending on both the applicant's history and the level of security vetting required for the position.


ICE offers competitive salaries and an attractive benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, long-term care insurance, retirement plan, Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k)), flexible spending account, Employee Assistance Program, personal leave days and paid federal holidays. Other benefits may include: flexible work schedules, telework, tuition reimbursement, transportation subsidies, uniform allowance, health and wellness programs and access to fitness centers. DHS is committed to employee development and offers a variety of training and developmental opportunities.

Competitive Pay

Sample pay check break down pie chart. 68% salary, 25% overtime, 5% locality, 2% otherAgents are competitively rewarded for their time on the job. In addition to base pay, agents may be eligible for locality pay, overtime pay and more.

  • Salary: You receive a salary that corresponds to your grade level. This salary is the number quoted on USAJOBS.
  • Overtime Pay: Earn up to 125% of your salary and locality pay for time worked outside the 40 hour work week.
  • Locality Pay: You may receive pay on top of your salary, depending on where you work. Navigate the different locality pay tables.

  • Between 13 and 26 days of annual leave accrued per year (variation based on years of federal service)
  • 10 federal holidays per year
  • 15 days of military reserve leave
  • 13 days of sick leave accrued per year


Overtime pay for federal government employees is determined by special rules and regulations. Some federal employees who are not entitled to overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) still may be entitled to overtime pay under Title 5. Some forms of government pay, such as administratively uncontrollable overtime (AUO), are available under Title 5 but not the FLSA.

AUO is a form of premium pay that is paid on an annual basis to an employee in a position in which the hours of duty cannot be controlled administratively and which requires substantial amounts of irregular, unscheduled overtime work, with the employee generally being responsible for recognizing, without supervision, circumstances which require the employee to remain on duty. AUO varies between 10 and 25 percent of an employee’s basic rate of pay. Regularly scheduled overtime hours continue to be compensated with Federal Employees Pay Act (FEPA) overtime.

Career Progression

HSI positions have promotion potential to the GS-13 level. A career ladder promotion is contingent upon satisfactory performance and the satisfactory completion of all required training. Such promotions are not automatic. Positions have additional opportunities at the GS-14, GS-15 and Senior Executive Service levels; however, promotions to these levels are addressed through a competitive hiring process.

You qualify at the GL-7 level if you possess one (1) year of specialized experience performing duties such as:

  • training in criminal or civil investigative principles and techniques;
  • applying laws and rules associated with criminal or civil procedures, searches, seizures, arrests and rules of evidence; and (or),
  • preparing investigative reports using clear and proper written language.

You qualify at the GL-9 level if you possess one (1) year of specialized experience performing duties such as:

  • observing and participating in various phases of investigations;
  • researching and analyzing records, data and other material related to investigative cases;
  • interviewing individuals to verify facts and obtain specific information;
  • obtaining signed statements, affidavits and documentary evidence to be included in reports or case records;
  • interviewing witnesses and others, both informally and formally in recorded settings; and (or),
  • searching and analyzing various forms of records.

Qualification requirements must be met by the closing date of the announcement.

Health Insurance

Agents are eligible to choose from a variety of premium federal health insurance programs, including:

Note that you may be eligible to keep your health insurance in retirement and pay the same subsidized premium as you did as an employee. Learn more about the continued health insurance benefits for you and your family in retirement.

Life Insurance

Generous Retirement

Employees who retire from ICE can count on the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) to enjoy life after working. FERS includes the following three streams of income:

  1. Thrift Savings Plan: Similar to a 401(k) plan, the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a defined contribution plan designed to give federal employees the same retirement savings related benefits that workers in the private sector enjoy with 401(k) plans. Contributions to the plan are automatically deducted from each paycheck, the amount which is chosen by employees, and is transferable if you change employers. An additional benefit to the TSP is employer matching contributions; up to 5% of your base salary. Learn more
  2. FERS Basic Annuity under special provisions: Agents that serve in federal government with at least 20 years of law enforcement service are eligible for the generous FERS basic annuity. This guaranteed lifetime pension, paid to retirees is a percentage of your highest average basic pay you earned during any 3 consecutive years of service. Learn more
  3. Social Security: You receive social security retirement payments, the benefits of which are transferable when you change employers. Learn more

Law Enforcement 6(c) Retirement Coverage: Being in a frontline position at ICE qualifies you for 6(c) retirement coverage. What does that mean? 6(c) retirement coverage means you can retire at any age after 25 years of service or at age 50 with at least 20 years of service. 6(c) eligibility is a factor for determining your FERS basic annuity.

Updated: 01/07/2021