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Nicky Jam  
#1 Posted : Thursday, August 29, 2019 8:21:16 PM(UTC)
Nicky Jam

Rank: Newbie

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Joined: 8/22/2019(UTC)
Posts: 4
United States
Location: Florida

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Good morning all,

I will be leaving the Army in 15 months and I am looking to start my career with CBP as an officer. I am finishing my Bachelor's in Homeland Security by this December or February of next year ( I am in a line unit, so constantly going to the field and our upcoming NTC rotation has made it hard to finish my last 6 classes). My current GPA is a 3.94 and I should graduate w/ honors. I am an E-5 with over 6yrs of active duty. Along with my Army service, I was a general manager at a restaurant back home for almost 6 years before I joined (if this counts towards anything). I went to a resume workshop with CBP and my resume is pretty air-tight at this point thanks to this class. I do, however, have a few questions for anyone who has transitioned from active duty to a CBP officer (or anyone in general without any military service)? I also speak a few languages (Macedonian, Serbian and Bosnian) if that accounts toward a possible port of entry....

1. How long was the hiring process?
2. Has anyone been able to do the 6 months early out from the Army in order to join CBP?
3. I am applying to the GS-9 VRA positions.... should I try the GS-11's as well?
4. As far as duty station with CBP, I am hoping to work on the east coast (Atlanta or Tampa).... Has anyone been able to get anything remotely close to this, or have they sent everyone out to the Southern region (i.e. Texas, Arizona, etc)?
5. If anyone is currently working in Florida or Georgia, can you please give me some information on work to family ratio? I have two year old twins, along with my beautiful wife, and my big reason for getting out of the military is to stop deploying every two years and miss time with them...
6. As far as moving up the food chain with CBP, they have told me that to go from GS9 to 11 to 12 only takes a year in between (with supervisor approval)... Is this the case or are there certain exceptions to the rule?

Thank you all so much ahead of time. I greatly appreciate any feedback that you might think would be pertinent apart from what I have asked....

#2 Posted : Friday, August 30, 2019 7:08:57 PM(UTC)

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I’ve never been in the military so I don’t know the rules of those leave service.

I know from my time as an army civilian...there are mil to civ job conversations which is the easiest way to switch to civilian.

Unsure your rank and service time...I saw an active duty E7 in mil civ come as a GS 12,

I’m uncertain what you can get not knowing what you did vs civilian job.another job I had a coworker was AD in the 6 month exit time working a civ job.

On th civilian side jobs follow 5-7-9-11-12-13-14-15-SES

In theory all you need is one year to promote .....but......

If you apply to a step ladder job like a 7/9/12 or 9/11/12 you can be promoted withou competition. If it’s not a ladder you need to go through formal job applications and interviews to get a higher grade job.

On the civilian side outside of places like DC, denver, snd a few other large civilian job locations it can be hard to go bryond a 12. Because there aren’t many 13s and peop,e who get them could be in thst got 10 years. Ladder jobs like 9/11/12/13 jobs can be structured where you can get to 12 easily but the 13 jobs are for team leads. If someone is in those now you aren’t getting promoted until they leave.

In CBP there aren’t as many jobs in non border areas. They fewer jobs say in Atlanta are going to be hard to get. Innlarge job counts though in places like Texas will mean more job levels available and thus move up faster.

For example in DC someone out of a masters program starts as a 9 and can be a 13 in 5 years. Try this in a small city with few fed jobs thus same climb could take 15 years or more.

If you don’t have 20 years of service you need to plan on transferring this toward the civilian side. Thus involves a service buy back go if you have 10 years if service time you start as a civilian with o year of experience then when you buy back your time thus added the 10 years to your service time which boosts your leave accruement and goes to your pension.

#3 Posted : Saturday, August 31, 2019 11:20:27 AM(UTC)

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Why early out? Save up your leave and get approved to take it all at the tail-end of your commitment as terminal leave. Most active duty I know that transitioned right into government service did so during their terminal leave, if they had any. Early outs can be impacted and/or restricted by agreements you made while active (ie re-enlistment bonuses, etc), or ops tempo.

Also, be aware if you're using Vet preference, that though "There are no regulations that dictate when a service member can apply for a position with the Federal Government..., agencies typically will not adjudicate veterans’ preference unless the service-member has a DD-214 or "certification" that is a written document from the armed forces that certifies the service member is expected to be discharged or released from active duty service in the armed forces under honorable conditions not later than 120 days after the date the certification is signed." (Per OPM)

I managed to get an emailed one to me within a few weeks of separating...however, to get the "certification" to use until your DD214 is forwarded to you, talk to the personnel office. Granted this was years ago for me--perhaps now days you can get one as you sign out of your last duty station? Any recently separated personnel, feel free to correct me ;)

Nicky Jam  
#4 Posted : Sunday, September 1, 2019 11:23:02 AM(UTC)
Nicky Jam

Rank: Newbie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 8/22/2019(UTC)
Posts: 4
United States
Location: Florida

Thanks: 2 times
Good afternoon djp and RVRGRL,

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions.


After I did my resume workshop out here in Texas, the woman presenting was adamant about me qualifying to start as GS9 due to Bachelors (few more months) and TIS, along with previous managerial experience. I spoke with one of the CBPO's and he told me that I would go from 9 to 11 to 12 with a year in between with supervisor approval ( and it shouldn't be hard to be approved, unless you are a scumbag ). Great info on moving up the ladder after the 12's. I will make sure to keep that in mind. I just figured with Atlanta being one of the biggest airports ( especially with foreign flights ), it shouldn't be too hard to get, but you never know. I am 100% buying back my Army time and converting it into GS (why waste that).


They have the 6 months early out program if you have a job lined up (just need a 4187 and the acceptance letter from your job stating full time work and salary). I have plenty of leave saved up and I am not worried about combining everything with terminal. None of this affects my re-enlistment bonus I received a few years back (it wasn't much anyway lol). Good to know about having the dd214 in hand, along with the certification. I will most likely have a memo signed by all my commanders when I apply. I am just sick of constantly going out to the field for no reason. We are on a ridiculously rapid deployment cycle and all we do is go to the field to shoot tables (which we've overshot at this point lol), and now we're slated to go back out to NTC for another rotation.

Thank you both for your replies. I greatly appreciate it.
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