Career Choice Reflection: Reasons And Prerequisites Working In Border Service

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In this essay I will discuss why my goal is to work for the Canada Border Service Agency. I will discuss everything from basic requirements in order to apply for the job, and what it takes to become a Border Service Officer. Along with what Border service officers really do on a day to day basis.

Basic Requirements needed in order to apply

To become a CBSA Officer you must meet some basic requirements. You must be a Canadian Citizen or be a permanent resident of Canada. You also must possess a High School Diploma and a legal driver license along with completing both the Canadian Firearms Safety Course (CFSA) and the Canadian Restricted Firearms Safety Course (CRFSC) (CBSA, 2018, para.1).

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Pre-Testing and Pre-screening

The CBSA also requires its applicants to complete several Test and pre-screening measures. The first being the Officer Trainee Entrance Exam (OTEE) this exam test the reasoning, writing and analytical thinking skills of each applicant, if the applicant fails to complete this test successfully they will have to wait another year to write the test again (CBSA, 2018, para.1). The next pre-screening measure is the interview. The interview will examine if the applicant can deal with difficult situations and will test the values, ethics, decisiveness, judgement and personal integrity of the applicant (CBSA, 2018, para.2). After the interview comes the physical evaluation.

The CBSA's physical evaluation is called the PARE which is an abbreviation for Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (CBSA, 2018, para.4). This Evaluation is broken into three major categories, the first being the Obstacle course then the push-pull and finally the weight-carry, in order to pass the PARE the applicant must fully complete the test in under 4 minutes and 45 seconds (CBSA, 2018, para.4). Knowing a second language can prove to be a benefit in most government and federal jobs and the CBSA is no exception to that. That is why the CBSA has a Second Language Evaluation (CBSA, 2018, para.5). Although knowing a language other than English may not be a requirement it is an advantage over other applicants who may not know other languages. While physical fitness is important in a law enforcement job field one’s Mental fitness is just as important. The CBSA's psychological test examines your ability to deal with the stresses that may come along with the job (CBSA, 2018, para.6). Medical clearance also plays an important role in being a CBSA Officer, the CBSA requires all aspiring officers to go through a mandatory medical clearance (CBSA, 2018, para.7). And finally the hiring process features a very thorough and discrete Security clearance. Everything from employment history to digital fingerprints, credit check and even information about your travel outside of the Country (CBSA, 2018, para.8).

Type of Work

CBSA Officers work at over 1,100 places across Canada and contrary to popular belief they do not only work at borders (CBSA, 2016, para.1). The CBSA works at any and every entry port into and out of Canada. That means that CBSA officers work at Airports, Postal Facilities, Borders, International waters, Railroads, and Immigration offices (CBSA, 2016, para.1). Along with work locations Officers are required to know tons of information such as what can and cannot go through Borders and X-rays, how to effectively read an X-ray and how to identify fake documents, identification, and passports (In conversation with CBSA Officer).

Population you will work with

CBSA Officers work with all sorts of people and I mean that quite literally. Depending on your Position within the CBSA you can likely deal with people from every Country, culture and way of life. The main reason being that you truly never know who is crossing a Border. Canada being the multicultural country that it is the Country is a popular destination for immigrants and the CBSA deals with them firsthand by helping and guiding them through the process of legally being in Canada (In conversation with CBSA Officer) (Personal knowledge).

Job Description – What does a typical day look like?

Depending on your tasks as a CBSA Officer a typical day can vary from sitting looking at X-rays for hazardous materials to working on a Border and examining Passports and even inspecting vehicles. Depending on the port of entry in which you work the atmosphere can change quite a bit. For example, working at a small entry port in a rural location can mean that the work is slow, this can be good or bad depending on your personality. Someone who likes a relaxed work atmosphere would likely prefer a smaller or rural work location. But someone who likes a busy work atmosphere might prefer a larger entry port in a location where the border is often crossed for example any of the Borders between Canada and the United States (In conversation with CBSA Officer).

Other interesting information

The CBSA like most other Law enforcement agencies has its fair share of interesting details. For example a lot of people don't know that the CBSA works in Mail facilities. Currently the CBSA works in 3 mail facilities in Canada one being in Toronto the other being in Vancouver and the final one in Montreal (CBSA, 2014, para.1). The CBSA is one of the newer Federal agencies as it was founded in 2001, due to it being so young the CBSA is one of the more modern law enforcement agencies when it comes to the training process. For example the CBSA's first phase of officer training is done at the applicant’s home, the first phase of training is a 4-week online course (CBSA, 2018, para.1).

What do you like about this career?

All throughout my life ever since I was first asked what I wanted to do for a living, I knew that I wanted to do something that other people would be impressed by, a career that has a reputation of being honorable and seen as something that actually helps to fix a problem. Soon i knew that Law enforcement was the field for me but with all the different fields in law enforcement I found myself lost. Soon after I got a job working for Canada post i started working alongside CBSA officers. After a few months of working and talking with Officers I knew that I wanted to be a CBSA Officer and I was going to start taking the necessary steps to reach my goal. I like many things about the Customs profession, the process of determining what can and can’t cross a border and the rules and regulations that go along with that. And most importantly I like that the CBSA is the front-line security for the Country of Canada. Being apart of an Agency that works 24 hours to protect Canada's land and prevent crime at the same time is not only honorable but interesting.

And the final reason I like this Career is that it is a safe job in terms of job security. From the Officers that I have spoken to, they all say that they have safe jobs that are recession proof. It's likely that no matter what happens the Country will always need its borders attended and protected (In conversation with CBSA Officer) (Personal Reflection).

What do you dislike about this career?

Working for any Law enforcement agency has its benefits and disbenefits. But since the CBSA is a Federal agency that means that you can be told to work anywhere in the country once you get the job. This isn’t ideal for me as I wouldn't want to be separated from my family and must work in a Province or Territory that I haven't been to and have little knowledge about. And it is a risk going from a family environment where i am taken care of to possibly going to another Province where I would live on my own. But those are risks that are necessary if I want to reach my goal of being a CBSA Officer. And pretty much every field in Law enforcement has risks associated with it whether it be Corrections, Policing or Security. Risks are an important part of reaching your goals, and for me one day becoming a Customs Officer overpowers all the risks (Personal Reflection).

The thing that surprised me most about the CBSA is that it is a recession proof job. The country will always need officers acting as our first line of security at all of our borders and entry points. Another surprising fact that I learned of is that the first phase of CBSA training is conducted online (CBSA, 2018, para.2). In my opinion, I find this process to be much easier and accommodating.

I feel that the CBSA is a great career fit for me, mainly because of the amount of interest I have in the work that they do as an Agency. I have the right personality for the job, for example a CBSA Officer needs to know how to communicate effectively with various people that they will come across; communication is one of my strengths.

Artifact Reflection

I’ve chosen a Canadian passport as my Artifact; the Canadian passport symbolizes a gateway into Canada’s borders. Also a major part of a Border Service Officers job is being able to accurately identify false or fake documentation which includes passports. (Canadian Passports, 2018)


  1. Government of Canada, CBSA. (2019). Home Page. Retrieved from https://www.cbsa-
  2. Government of Canada, CBSA, (2018). Become a Border Service Officer. Retrieved from
  3. Government of Canada, CBSA. (2016). Security Clearance Questionnaire. Retrieved from
  4. Government of Canada, CBSA. (2016). What we do. Retrieved from
  5. Government of Canada, CBSA. (2019). List of Services. Retrieved from https://www.cbsa-
  6. Government of Canada, CBSA. (2019). Directory of CBSA Offices and Services. Retrieved from
  7. Government of Canada, CBSA. (2019). Importing by Mail. Retrieved from
  8. Government of Canada, CBSA. (2018). Careers at the CBSA. Retrieved from
  9. Government of Canada, CBSA. (2018). Training and development. Retrieved from
  10. Government of Canada, CBSA. (2018). Selection Process. Retrieved from
  11. Canadian Passports. (2018). Retrieved from
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Career Choice Reflection: Reasons And Prerequisites Working In Border Service. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from
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