8 Exciting Border Force Jobs (And How to Secure Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 21 November 2022 | Published 4 May 2022

Updated 21 November 2022

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Being part of the Australian Border Force (ABF) presents a range of exciting career opportunities. Most people become Border Force officer recruits before assuming a specialist role. All members of the Border Force perform a vital role protecting the country's border from external threats. In this article, we explain what Border Force roles are and outline how to secure them before listing some of the exciting Border Force jobs available.

What are Border Force jobs?

Border Force jobs are law enforcement positions that protect the country's land and sea borders from external threats. Some of these jobs involve processing the people and items attempting to enter or re-enter the country. Others involve watching for or investigating potential threats. Some Border Force employees manage human threats within the country. The variety of different positions helps jobs in Border Force appeal to a wide range of people.

How to secure a Border Force job

You can secure a job with the ABF after passing the organisation's thorough testing process. Depending on your level of experience, you may enter Border Force as an officer recruit or secure a specialist position. Here are the most common steps people take to secure a Border Force job:

1. Complete high school to at least year 10

The ABF requires all entry-level recruits to have at least a year 10 education and certificate. You may continue studying to year 11 or 12 if you wish. Your subject selections are optional. As the ABF also requires at least a vocational certificate, you may choose subjects aligned with your preferred course.

2. Earn a vocational certificate

A vocational certificate is the minimum tertiary qualification for the Australian Border Force recruitment program. You may enter the ABF with a certificate IV, diploma or trade certificate. These certificates can be in any discipline of your choosing. If you earned your secondary school certificate, could also earn a degree instead of a vocational certificate.

Related: Vocational Training: Definition and Different Types

3. Gain work experience

The ABF prefers hiring recruits with at least three years of work experience. This experience may be in any field that shows your work ethic, maturity, reliability, resilience and ability to interact with different people in various situations. The ABF often regards roles showing critical thinking, sound judgement and community engagement highly.

Related: How to Show Work Experience on Your Resume (With Example and Tips)

4. Apply to the Border Force officer recruit training program

After earning the educational qualifications and turning 18, you may apply to the ABF officer recruit training program. The ABF only accepts Australian citizens. If you are a non-citizen, you may obtain citizenship before applying for the Border Force recruitment program. The ABF typically accepts online applications in May and November. Submit the following with your application:

  • answers to all questions, including background information

  • your resume

  • details of two referees

5. Pass assessments

If you are one of the most promising applicants, the ABF invites you for assessments. Here are the assessments the ABF uses to confirm your suitability:

  • Revelian cognitive ability assessment: tests how you process and apply information to confirm your mental aptitude.

  • Revelian work reliability assessment: tests opinions on work-related issues such as absenteeism, fraud and theft.

  • Video interview: video conference where ABF hiring team ask questions about you and your interest in joining Border Force.

  • Virtual assessment centre: online evaluation involving general information session, written assessment and role-play interview, where you play the part of a Border Force officer.

  • Referee check: ABF representative receives a written report about you from one of your referees.

6. Meet employment conditions

If the ABF assessment team believe you are one of the best candidates, you enter the merit pool. The ABF asks people in the merit pool to pass a series of assessments and clearances to satisfy the mandatory employment conditions. Here are the required assessments and tests:

  • Medical assessment: assessment of health characteristics including blood pressure, vision, hearing, heart, lungs and medical history.

  • Fitness assessment: assessment of flexibility, aerobic and cardiovascular fitness, core stability, strength, endurance and manual handling skills.

  • Psychometric assessment: interviews and online tests to determine whether you can meet the psychological demands of the job.

  • Clearances: Australian Government Security and Employee Suitability clearances confirm your identity, background and character suit a Border Force role.

Related: Psychometric Testing: What to Expect

7. Complete the ABF officer recruit training program

The ABF officer recruit training program is a paid 12-month training program. The program involves a mix of practical on-the-job experience and classroom instruction. After successfully completing the program, you become a general duties Border Force officer.

8. Advance to a specialty position

After performing general duties for a few years, you may like to advance your career and secure a specialty position. Many Border Force vacancies get advertised internally. The Australian Border Force website also has postings for some specialty border control jobs. Visit regularly and apply for the roles that interest you. Highlight how your qualifications and experiences with Border Force prepared you for these jobs.

8 exciting Border Force jobs

Here are some of the exciting Border Force Australia jobs available:

1. Border Force officer recruit

National average salary: $50,801 per year

Primary duties: A Border Force officer recruit is an entry-level rank held for 12 months. During this period, officer recruits learn information to become successful border force officers. Exams test mastery of topics including legislation, ABF powers, passenger processing and baggage and traveller searches. Officer recruits apply their knowledge during rotations in different sectors of the ABF, including airports, seaports and mail and cargo examination facilities. They may check people and goods enter the country legally and patrol local waters for people smugglers.

2. Cook

National average salary: $56,331 per year

Primary duties: A cook prepares a range of dishes for diners. Border Force employs cooks in its marine unit. These professionals prepare breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the entire marine unit while they are patrolling local waters. Cooks in Border Force focus on creating nutritious meals to give marine unit officers the energy to perform their tasks.

Related: What's the Key Difference Between a Chef and a Cook?

3. General duties Border Force officer

National average salary: $57,777 per year

Primary duties: A general duties Border Force officer is an officer who has passed the initial training program. General duties Border Force officers examine passengers, luggage, parcels and arriving planes and ships to make sure only legal goods and people enter the country. If they detect prohibited or illegal substances or people, general duties Border Force officers may arrest suspects and testify against them in court. General duties Border Force officers may move between different ABF departments and locations.

4. Dog handler

National average salary: $58,000 per year

Primary duties: A dog handler manages a working dog as they perform set tasks. Border Force dog handlers manage detector dogs trained to search locations, people and goods for illegal and prohibited items. When dogs detect narcotics, tobacco, currency, explosives and firearms, dog handlers may issue warnings or fines or make arrests, depending on the offence. Dog handlers also provide basic care for the detector dogs, including feeding, grooming and exercise.

Related: 20 Jobs That Work With Animals (With Salaries and Job Duties)

5. Marine engineer

National average salary: $76,082 per year

Primary duties: A marine engineer designs, builds and tests boats, ships and underwater craft. Marine engineers in Border Force focus on the vessels used by the marine unit. They also repair vessels with faults or damage sustained from impact or age. They ensure vessels are seaworthy with fully functioning instruments and systems so the marine unit can carry out their patrol duties.

6. Technical officer

National average salary: $77,096 per year

Primary duties: A technical officer provides support and maintenance services to people who use an organisation's systems. The ABF employs technical officers in its marine unit to operate and maintain the systems in its vessels, such as power generation and refrigeration systems. Their strong diagnostic skills and technical aptitude help them identify, diagnose and correct faults for reliable operation while crews are away from land.

7. Commander

National average salary: $90,420 per year

Primary duties: A commander ensures the people in a particular division or area follow the department's strategy and protocols. The ABF has several regional and division commanders, including a commander for detention operations, commander for marine workforce capability and commander for investigations. Commanders help the department's commissioners understand its daily operations and employee concerns.

8. Commissioner

National average salary: $110,161 per year

Primary duties: A commissioner oversees the strategy of departments in a specific division, state or territory. The ABF has a head commissioner, deputy commissioners and assistant commissioners. These roles are the highest ranks of the ABF.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries and the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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