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.
How to Become an FBI Agent?
An applicant must display a combination of physical skills and above average intellectual abilities, and other traits defined by the agency, to become an FBI agent. The steps to becoming an FBI agent have been listed below:
- Meet the minimum requirements
- Submit an application
- Pass all necessary tests and trainings
- Pass all interviews
- Graduate from the FBI training academy
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
Pass the Phase 1 Test
Pass the Phase 2 Test : Structured Interview
Pass a Physical Fitness Test
- Maximum number of sit-ups in one minute
- 300 meter sprint (timed)
- Maximum number of push-ups
- 5 mile run (timed)
You will also have to pass a vision test, hearing test, and undergo a health review.
Enroll in the academy
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.
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.