US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Aviation Enforcement Agent Pay and Benefits

An Aviation Enforcement Agent rappels from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.

As an Aviation Enforcement Agent, your job is not only exciting, but also features rewarding benefits. You have the stability of a federal job, as well as several benefits that are only available to law enforcement positions, such as law enforcement 6(c) retirement coverage. Working as an Aviation Enforcement Agent sets you up well for the long-term.



Competitive Pay


Agents are competitively rewarded for their time on the job. In addition to salary, you may be eligible for overtime pay, locality pay, and more.

  • Salary: You receive a salary that corresponds to your grade level. This salary is the number quoted on USAJOBS.
  • Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP): LEAP is 25% of base salary. As an AIA, you must be readily accessible and willing to work on an unscheduled basis in excess of a 40-hour work week.
  • Overtime: You will receive compensation pay for time worked in excess of a 40-hour work week. Overtime must be scheduled in advance of the pay period.  The first two hours in excess of your 8-hour work day will be compensated with LEAP, with the remaining hours compensated with overtime. Overtime is compensated at a rate of time and a half. 
  • Locality: You may receive pay on top of your salary, depending on what county you work within. Navigate the different locality pay tables.
  • Premium Pay: You may be eligible to premium pay for working on Sundays, holidays and night shifts.
  • Cash Awards: Outstanding performers may receive cash awards as recognition for their superior efforts (funding permitting).

Aviation Enforcement Agent is a career ladder position with a grade level progression of GL-5, GL-7, GL-9, GS-11 and GS-12. You will be eligible for a promotion to the next higher grade level (without re-applying) once you successfully complete one year in each grade level, with supervisor approval. 

At the GS-13 level and beyond, you compete for positions and are promoted based on merit. Each movement on the career ladder brings a significant pay boost.

AEA Total Compensation
The AEA position starts at a GL-5 Step 1 and includes the following incentives:$30,113.00
25% Law Enforcement Availability Pay$7528.00
Locality Pay$4803.00
Total 1st Year Compensation$42,444.00
Total 2nd Year Compensation$52,576.00
Total 3rd Year Compensation$66,455.00
The current salary cap is $170,800.00 (GS-15 Step 10)


Components of Total Compensation
  Base SalaryRUS Locality*LEAP

* Rest of United States (RUS) Locality Pay (Consisting of those portions of the United States and its territories and possessions as listed in 5 CFR 591.205 not located within another locality pay area)

Aviation Enforcement Agents staff various locations across the United States based on mission need. Click here for a map of duty locations.

Paid Time Off


CBP offers substantial leave benefits and unique training opportunities to reward and reinvest in its employees. Below is a summary of paid time off from the job:

13 to 26 days of annual leave accrued per year (variation based on years Federal service)


10 Federal holidays per year


Military reserve leave


13 days of sick leave accrued per year


Opportunities for paid training


Additional Leave Information: The maximum amount of annual leave that you may carry over into the following year is 30 days. There is no limit to the amount of sick leave that you may accrue. For detailed leave accrual information, visit the Benefits webpage.

Disabled Veteran Leave (Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015)

Under the Wounded Warriors Federal Leave Act of 2015 (Public Law 114-75, November 5, 2015), an employee hired on or after November 5, 2016, who is a veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) of the Department of Veterans Affairs is entitled to up to 104 hours of disabled veteran leave for the purposes of undergoing medical treatment for such disability.

An eligible employee will receive the appropriate amount of disabled veteran leave as of the employee’s “first day of employment,” as defined below. Disabled veteran leave is a one-time benefit provided to an eligible employee. The employee will have a single, continuous 12-month eligibility period, beginning on the “first day of employment” in which to use the leave or it will be forfeited with no opportunity to carry over the leave into subsequent years. An employee may not receive a lump-sum payment for any unused or forfeited leave under any circumstance.

For complete details about the new Disabled Veteran Leave entitlement, see the Disabled Veteran Leave Fact Sheet on OPM’s website.

Career Progression


The Aviation Enforcement Agent position is a career ladder position with a grade level progression from GL-5 to GS-11, and then to GS-12. You are eligible for non-competitive promotion to the next higher grade level (without re-applying) upon successful completion of 52 weeks in each grade level.

At the GS-13 level and beyond, you compete for positions and are promoted based on merit. Each promotion up the career ladder provides a significant pay increase.

Career chart. Entry level to journeyman to supervisory to executive

Entry Level
Entry level positions start at the GL-5, GL-7, GL-9 and GS-11 levels. You can find current duty locations, and apply on USA jobs for Aviation Enforcement Agent positions.
At the journeyman level, you typically gain responsibilities, learn new duties, and are accountable for higher performance standards. Promotion to the GS-12 level is non-competitive, meaning you don’t have to compete for promotion.
At the GS-13, promotion from the GS-12 to GS-13 level is competitive, meaning eligible agents must compete for promotion.
At the supervisory level, you are responsible for leading other agents and have greater responsibilities. Leadership at the GS-14 to GS-15 level is challenging, but also very rewarding.
Beyond the GS-15 level is the Senior Executive Service (SES), which is at the core of CBP’s leadership. At the executive level, you make high-level decisions, provide vision for the organization, and interact with external stakeholders and Congress.

CBP’s Dedication to Training: CBP is committed to providing first-rate training for new and current employees to ensure staff are proficient in the latest technologies and techniques necessary to fulfill the CBP mission.

Health Insurance


Staff health is of the utmost importance to CBP. Agents are eligible to choose from a variety of premium federal health insurance programs. Programs available include:

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


A keystone of financial planning is making sure that your family and loved ones are taken care of financially, even after your death. CBP offers several federal life insurance programs to help you achieve your financial planning goals. Federal Life Insurance Programs available to agents include:

Generous Retirement


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

  1. FERS Basic Annuity under special provisions: Air Interdiction 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 about FERS basic annuity.
  2. 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 about the Thrift Savings Plan.
  3. Social Security: You receive social security retirement payments, the benefits of which are transferable when you change employers. Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits.

Law Enforcement 6(c) Retirement Coverage: Being in a frontline position at CBP 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.

Additional Benefits



Employees may also be eligible for the following benefits:

  • Tuition Assistance Program (TAP):  The TAP reimburses CBP federal employees for off-duty post-secondary education costs of tuition, fees, and books. Employees may apply for benefits up to $1,500 per course and $4,500 per calendar year for professional certification or for any two- or four-year degree. This includes all degrees – associates, bachelors, masters, doctorates.
Last modified: 
November 18, 2020