FBI Agents are the principal investigators of the US government. They are responsible for dealing with threats to national security as well as investigating federal law violations in many different areas. Cases related to public corruption, fraud, organized crime, extortion, civil rights violations, bribery, financial crime, kidnapping, bank robberies, copyright infringement, drug trafficking, espionage and terrorism are handled by FBI personnel.
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If you believe you have what it takes to make it in this field, then you need to go through this piece. It contains important information which will help you get started on your journey to becoming an FBI Agent.
What Does an FBI Agent Do?
Also commonly referred to as “federal agents” or “Feds,” FBI Agents have a huge responsibility on their shoulders to keep America safe. They fight against potentially life-threatening challenges like organized crime, terrorism and drug trafficking on a regular basis.
Moreover, the Feds also have to deal with white collar crimes, cyber thefts and fraud among many other things. In this regard, their routine activities include conducting surveillance, monitoring wiretaps (when authorized by a court of law), tracking down stolen property, gathering evidence of all kinds, examining financial transactions, taking on undercover assignments, etc.
Steps to Become an FBI Agent
The following steps must be taken if you want to become an FBI Agent.
Step 1: Fulfill All Basic Employment Requirements
Employment requirements for different programs of the FBI tend to vary. However, a few basic ones that apply to all of them are given below.
- All applicants must be American citizens.
- All candidates must comply with the FBI Drug Policy.
- All aspirants should be able to get a Top Secret SCI (Sensitive Compartmented Information) clearance.
In addition, candidates aspiring to become FBI Special Agents have to meet the following requirements.
- Must be between the ages of 23 and 36 at the time of application. You must enter for duty no later than 1 day before your 37th birthday. So, the latest you can apply to the FBI Special Agent program is before your 36th birthday. Current FBI employees who want to become Special Agents must apply before their 39th birthday.
- Should have at least a Bachelor’s degree.
- Must have at least 2 years of full-time work experience. For candidates holding a Master’s or higher degree, 1 year of professional work experience is enough.
- Have a valid driver’s license along with a minimum of 6 months driving experience.
- Meet the physical fitness standards for the Special Agent program.
- Active military personnel should be within 1 year of completing their service to be eligible to apply for the Special Agent program.
Step 2: Submit Your Application on the FBI Website
Once you come up to the eligibility criteria underlined previously, you should submit your employment application online.
Step 3: Pass the Phase-I Test
The next step is passing the Phase-I Test. It is a three-hour assessment of your cognitive and reasoning abilities.
Step 4: Qualify the Meet-and-Greet Interview
After clearing the Phase-I Test, you will be invited for a Meet-and-Greet Interview with the Bureau’s recruitment panel.
Step 5: Take and Pass the Phase-II Tests Along with the Official Fitness Exam
Once you have qualified the interview, the next phase is clearing the Phase-II Tests and the physical fitness evaluation.
Step 6: Conditional Appointment Offer (CAO)
By qualifying the Phase-II Tests and the physical examination, you will be eligible to receive the Conditional Employment Offer (CAO).
Step 7: Background Investigation
A thorough background investigation will follow.
Step 8: Undergo Training (Basic Field Training Course) at the FBI Academy
Once the background checks are done, you will be taken as a New Agent Trainee (NAT) to the FBI Academy. An intense 21-week Basic Field Training Course (BFTC) will follow.
Step 9: Join the Field Office
After completing the BFTC, you will be assigned to a Field Office.
Step 10: On-the-Job Training
The first 18 months will be a probationary period. During this time, you will receive intense on-the-job training.
How Much Does a Private Investigator Make in the US?
The salaries of FBI personnel are kept confidential most of the time. On the other hand, First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives earned an annual mean wage of $97,180 in 2020. This is according to the information gathered and reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Below is the list of the top 5 paying states for First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives in 2020 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
How Long Does It Take to Become an FBI Agent?
If you are looking for an answer to the question, how long does it take to become an FBI agent, you have come to the right place. The duration to meet all the educational requirements and clear the hiring process might take anywhere between 5 to 6 years.
You will have to complete at least four years in college to obtain a bachelor’s degree once you graduate from high school. It can take you approximately a year to apply for the position, clear all the steps, and then clear training. The duration will increase if you fail to meet the job requirements or are unable to clear any step of the hiring process.