Established in 1908, The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a national security organization. It fulfills both the law enforcement and intelligence responsibilities. The FBI’s primary goal is to defend and protect Americans against foreign intelligence and terrorists threats, enforce American criminal laws, and help American as well as foreign partner agencies in fighting crime.The FBI investigates high profile crimes, terrorism cases, and foreign intelligence threats. It recruits highly talented and qualified individuals from all backgrounds who can become a part of its operations.  The job of an FBI agent can be dangerous and challenging.

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Minimum Requirements for FBI Agent Applicants

What Does an FBI Agent Do

The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) is a national security agency that employs specially trained agents who have gone through rigorous training. FBI Agents are tasked with enforcing laws, gathering significant data to solve cases, protect civil rights, and to provide protection against terrorist threats. FBI Agents are required to conduct surveillance, monitor online activities, collect evidence, and analyze data.

The FBI investigates high profile crimes, terrorism cases, and foreign intelligence threats. FBI has branches all around the world, with the agents working and keeping tabs on foreign governments. FBI’s headquarter is in Washington, D.C. and regional offices are located in Albuquerque, Indianapolis, Seattle, Kansas City, and Miami. It recruits highly talented and qualified individuals from all backgrounds who can become a part of its operations.  The job of an FBI agent can be dangerous and challenging.

Minimum Requirements for FBI Agent Applicants

The minimum requirements are:

  • You must be at least 23 years old. Applicants over the age of 36.5 cannot apply (Note that 1811 federal law enforcement officers are eligible for an age waiver)
  • You must have a U.S. citizenship
  • You must have at least a bachelor-level degree from an accredited educational institution
  • Must be living in the United States for the past 3-5 years
  • Must have a driver’s license
  • You must have at least 3 years of full-time work experience (summer jobs and internships do not count). However, the following can seek a work experience waiver:
    • Individuals with a Juris Doctor degree, or a degree in IT or Computer Science
    • Certified Public Accountants
    • Applicants who score more than 3 in the FBI language test
    • Former FBI honor interns
    • Individuals with an advanced degree (masters or doctorate) – only 2 years of work experience is required

Who Cannot Apply?

  • Individuals convicted of a felony
  • Individuals convicted of domestic violence
  • Individuals who failed to pay child support
  • Individuals who defaulted on student loans
  • Individuals who failed to file tax returns
  • Individuals who could not meet the FBI drug use guidelines

Steps for Becoming an FBI Agent:

Submit an online application

You must submit an application online. This application should reflect your skills, abilities, level of education, and background. The agency will use this information to determine your competitiveness and eligibility.

Pass the Phase 1 Test

This is a test designed to measure your skills and abilities. The test will comprise of three parts: logical reasoning, biodata inventory, and situational judgment. You will be given three hours to complete the test.

Pass the Phase 2 Test : Structured Interview

In this test, you will be required to answer 13 standard questions. The interview is usually conducted by a panel of special agents. The main purpose of this interview is to judge your verbal communication skills, organization and planning skills, interpersonal skills, adaptability skills, critical thinking and decision making skills, and integrity.

Pass a Physical Fitness Test

After passing phase 1 and 2, you may receive a conditional letter of appointment. The next step is to meet the fitness and sustainability requirements. You will have to sign a physical fitness test liability waiver and provide a certificate of wellness from a physician. This certificate will ensure you are fit to take part in the Physical Fitness Test (PFT). The test entails four events that all applicants must pass:

  • Maximum number of sit-ups in one minute
  • 300 meter sprint (timed)
  • Maximum number of push-ups
  • 5 mile run (timed)
  • Pull-ups

You will also have to pass a vision test, hearing test, and undergo a health review.

Enroll in the academy

Once you have cleared all tests and requirements, you may be enrolled in a 21-week training program at the FBI academy. This training is a mandatory part of the induction process and all FBI agents must go through it. The program will cover intense physical training, hands-on law enforcement training, and academic learning.

New Agent Trainees

As a new agent trainee, you will live on-campus where you will have to follow a strict code of conduct. You will be given firearms training and defensive tactics training. Classroom learning will include topics related to investigation and law.

How Long Does It Take To Become an FBI Agent?

It can take you as long as 5-6 years to become an FBI agent. After high school, you will need to spend 4 years in college to earn a bachelor’s degree. Apart from this, you will spend an additional 6-12 months applying and training for the position. The process may be delayed if you fail any test or fail to meet the requirements set by the agency.

Fbi Agent Job Description

Upon graduating from the FBI training academy, you will be assigned to a field office for your first assignment. The minimum income for new special agents is $61,100; the income level will vary, depending on the region and your assignment. You will also receive other benefits such as insurance, sick pay, and a retirement plan.

Education Requirements to Become an FBI Agent

FBI agent is a specialized job and to start working as one, it is important to gain formal education. The minimum requirement to step into the field of federal investigation is to enroll in an accredited university and obtain a bachelor’s degree in criminal science or a related field. Some of the degrees that are specially designed for future FBI Agents are

  • Computer Science and Information Technology.
  • Finance/Forensic Accounting.
  • International Studies & Foreign Languages.
  • Criminal Justice & Military Intelligence.
  • Law & Public Safety Administration.

For all those individuals who want to grow in the field, there is always the option of earning a master’s degree. This paves way for FBI Agents to work in leadership roles and technical positions.

Skills Required to Become an FBI Agent

To start working as an FBI Agent there are certain skills and core competencies that are necessary to become successful in the field. To apply for special agent position, an applicant must have the following skills and qualities

  • Organizing & Planning.
  • Problem-Solving/Judgment.
  • Initiative & Communication.
  • Physical Stamina.
  • Ability to Work Under Pressure.
  • IT Skills.
  • Foreign Languages.

FBI Agent Salary

The salaries of FBI Agents are kept confidential. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the broad category of Detectives and Criminal Investigators. As per the 2021 statistics, the annual mean wage of detectives and criminal investigators is $ 90,370.

Career Prospects for FBI Agents

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has predicted -1% growth for Detectives and Criminal Investigators 2021 and 2031. There are different career paths that an FBI Agent can choose like:

  • Surveillance Professional.
  • Special Agent.
  • Language Analyst.
  • Intelligence Analyst.
  • Forensic Accounting.
  • Private Investigators.

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