Law enforcement, which includes agencies like the FBI, is a field that ’ second always in senior high school demand, and there ’ s batch of earning potential for FBI agents. According to the FBI ’ s web site, most agents earn a wage of about $ 80,000 per year within five years of joining the agency .
If you think a career in the FBI might be for you, this guidebook will give you an overview of how to become an FBI agent, including educational requirements and an outline of the rigorous screening process applicants must complete. You ’ ll besides find data on typical FBI agent salaries and what it takes to advance in this unique and exciting career path .
Table of Contents
What Does an FBI Agent Do?
The subcontract duties of an FBI agent vary depending on the case they ’ re working, the skills they possess, and the character they play at the agency. Each day or casing can lead to taking on different tasks, and even the agency even admits that there ’ s no “ typical sidereal day ” — as there is always something new to the job .
That said, there are some duties you can expect to encounter in a character at the FBI. These include testifying in court, collaborating with other agents on assorted tasks, working with sources to follow leads on crimes, making arrests, and paperwork — because there ’ randomness constantly paperwork .
Your character in the FBI can besides vary based on what function of the discipline you ’ re in and where you ’ re located. Some agents may spend more time in an office while working in a local capacity, whereas others may spend less time working from a home base .
But, whether you work in a local, national, or external capacitance, the like thing is true : Being an FBI agent is an excite and rewarding — though potentially dangerous — opportunity, one that offers a way to protect your community and your area. The FBI is comprised of a highly skilled and highly coach force with a goal of protecting people from issues like cyber crime, counterterrorism, and organized crime .
This job requires a big total of time and dedication, but can be worth the sacrifices for the good candidates .
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Career Description, Duties, and Common Tasks
FBI agent overview
In general, the Bureau works to investigate and address threats to national security in the United States, both through intelligence-gathering and crime investigations. The FBI divides its investigations into respective major areas, including cybercrime, white-collar crime, foreign counterintelligence, and domestic and international terrorism .
FBI agent duties and tasks
FBI agents perform a variety of roles, and the specific duties and responsibilities will vary from agent to agentive role. active agents may perform a wide categorization of tasks to aid with investigate and addressing threats to national security, including gathering intelligence, conducting surveillance, executing search warrants, and making arrests. Agents may investigate crimes in the field or perform administrative and managerial roles, such as aim or public affairs .
Working as an FBI agent
few agents join the FBI seeking a distinctive job, and the oeuvre can be both irregular and demanding. Most agents are expected to work at least 50 hours each week and are typically on call 24/7. Since major criminal activities and threats can occur at any clock, agents frequently work on weekends and holidays. Agents must besides be bequeath to carry a firearm, use deadly push, and expose themselves to potential bodily injury .
Steps to Become an FBI Agent
MEET GENERAL ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS
The FBI maintains an extensive list of general eligibility requirements for employment. Applicants must be between 23-36 years old, hold U.S. citizenship, and have a clean criminal record with no felony convictions.
OBTAIN A BACHELOR’S DEGREE
All FBI agents must hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum, and many possess a master’s degree or higher. FBI agents often earn degrees in fields such as criminal justice or political science, though the Bureau does not maintain any specific academic major requirements for applicants.
OBTAIN PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Applicants must possess at least two years of full-time professional work experience. Those who hold a master’s degree or higher can apply with only one year of professional experience.
COMPLETE THE AGENT SELECTION PROCESS
Potential FBI agents must submit to multiple rounds of testing and interviews. Phase I testing primarily measures logic-based reasoning, situational judgement, and personality traits. Successful candidates then move on to Phase II testing, which includes a structured interview. Candidates must also pass a physical fitness test, a drug test, a polygraph test, and a background investigation.
COMPLETE BASIC FIELD TRAINING
After completing all other steps, candidates report to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, to complete the 20-week basic field training course.
Education Requirements for FBI Agents
not surely how to be an FBI agentive role ? To become an FBI agent, you ’ ll need a minimum of a bachelor ’ s degree from an accredit college or university in the United States. While there are no requirements as to what type of degree you should have, there are certain majors that are good suited to this job. Some of the best degrees to get a job as an FBI agent include :
- Computer science and IT
- Hard sciences like chemistry or biology
- Finance and accounting
- International studies and foreign languages
- Criminal justice and military intelligence
Depending on your favored career path, it might besides be in your best interests to earn a chief ’ s degree in a related field. If you earn a passkey ’ sulfur degree, you ’ ll probably need fewer years of on-the-job experience to qualify and have the electric potential to earn more. A graduate degree may besides qualify you for or set you apart for sealed jobs — particularly technical foul positions .
As you plan your career path, it ’ randomness best to earn a degree that ’ south well-suited to the type of work you want to do as an FBI agent. If you want to work in cybersecurity, you may want to consider earning a academic degree in computer skill or IT. On the other hand, if you want to work in extraneous intelligence, you might be better off with a academic degree in external studies or a particular foreign terminology .
FBI Agent Job Training
As an entrance FBI agent, you ’ ll have to complete new agent prepare as part of the agency ’ mho basic field train class. Lasting 20 weeks and including more than 800 hours of instruction, airfield train features four major concentrations : academics, case exercises, firearms educate, and operational skills .
The academic concentration explores a broad choice of subjects, including law, behavioral science, ethics, and forensic skill. Students gain specify skills in interview, report write, interrogate, and investigating. These lessons prepare candidates to perform condemnable investigations and run counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations .
The operations skills assiduity encompasses the hands-on employment of the FBI, including surveillance, operations planning, and tactical drive. a lot of this experiential discipline occurs at the FBI ‘s Hogan ‘s Alley, an elaborate mock town that enables students to develop their skills through simulate exercises .
Firearms prepare is another major component of an agent ‘s education. Building cognition in the fundamentals of marksmanship, the firearms training course of study includes weapons orientation, firearms guard, weapon handling skills, and live fire prepare. Students complete a sum of 110 hours of firearm instruction across 28 trail sessions .
Case exercises integrate all aspects of train in complex simulations. Using the Hogan ‘s Alley environment, these exercises simulate the major steps of an FBI investigation, from an initial point all the way through the apprehension of multiple subjects .
Other Helpful Skills and Experience
While FBI agents need an rare rig of skills, some aspects of the job are similar to any early government means. The FBI lists eight core competencies that define special agents, including collaboration, communication, adaptability, interpersonal ability, and leadership. The Bureau encourages applicants to demonstrate tell of these soft skills on their sum up .
Along with general soft skills, the unique nature of FBI bring requires certain early specify skills. For example, proficiency in a language other than english can be very valuable, peculiarly for agents concern in pursuing counterterrorism and counterintelligence cultivate. eloquence in languages such as chinese, russian, and Arabic may be peculiarly utilitarian for FBI agents .
The FBI investigates many types of crimes, and the agency looks for applicants with specialize skills and shape experience in fields that may be useful to investigations. For model, candidates with firm IT skills may be tapped to investigate cybercrime .
The FBI besides recognizes the rate of military and law enforcement train, and many agents emerge from these agencies. Certain positions, such as the FBI ‘s Hostage Rescue Team, require a minimum of three years of military or law enforcement experience .
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Salary and Career Outlook
How much does an FBI agent make ? The average FBI wage international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate cut and dry like it is in early fields, in major character because there are several unique factors to consider. For starters, newly special agents are paid on the GL schedule for federal law enforcement officers, which means they enter at pay level GL-10 — or $ 52,440 per class as of 2021 — during their academy trail at Quantico .
Upon completion of train, FBI agent wage levels are dictated by sphere office appointment. After a biennial probationary period, agents transition to the general schedule pay scale, with most agents achieving a GS-13 wage tied — a minimum of $ 79,468 per year — within five years of service .
Most criminal investigators advance through problem feel rather than extra department of education. FBI agents with specify skills or relevant professional backgrounds may be able to advance to specialized positions that command higher wage levels. Some agents may achieve higher salaries in supervisory positions .
The BLS projects that positions for all criminal investigators ( including FBI agents ) will grow by 5 % from 2018-2028, which is about equally flying as the national average. evening as crime rates fall, the need for public base hit and specialize investigations is probable to remain constant, ensuring use for FBI agents in the future. however, FBI jobs will likely remain competitive due to low employee upset and the specialize nature of the work .
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a typical day for an FBI agent?
The varied nature of the job means that FBI agents may have fewer “typical days” than most workers. However, agents often spend their days investigating crimes, interviewing sources, and gathering evidence. Agents may specialize in one area of investigation, such as intelligence analysis or forensic accounting. They typically work at least 50 hours per week and may have highly irregular hours, including weekends and holidays.
What is the training for an FBI agent?
New agents complete a rigorous basic field training course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Lasting 20 weeks, the training features more than 800 hours of instruction in four key areas: academics, operational skills, firearms, and case exercises. Simulations and other hands-on training exercises form a significant part of the training curriculum.
How much do FBI agents make?
The salary earned by FBI agents varies based on experience, position, and assignment location, among other factors. All agents enter the Bureau at a minimum pay level of GL-10, or $52,440 per year as of 2021, and most achieve a GS-13 pay level, or $79,468 per year as of 2021, within five years of service. The BLS reports that the average annual salary for all types of crime investigators was $89,300 as of May 2020.
Do I need to know a foreign language to become an FBI agent?
No, it’s not required to know a foreign language to be in the FBI. That said, it can be of great help to know one or more foreign languages if you want to work for the FBI — especially if you want to work in a field like counterterrorism that deals with people from other nations.
Are there any education requirements for becoming an FBI agent?
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Yes, there are education requirements to join the FBI. You must have a bachelor’s degree to join the FBI as an agent, though there’s no specification on what your major must be. That said, a major in a field like criminal justice or computer technology can be extremely useful in your role at the FBI.