How to become

How to Become a FBI agent

How to Become a FBI agent

A FBI agent is what?

The safety of American individuals, preserving the Constitution, and safeguarding the nation from serious domestic and foreign dangers are all the responsibility of FBI agents. They look into the most dangerous criminals in the country as they battle terrorism, drug trafficking, and organised crime every day. The Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in America tackle this sophisticated crime with knowledge and abilities that are difficult for blue-collar crime to match.

Where does one get the desire to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation? While some people may have spent their entire lives trying to get a job with the FBI, many degree-seeking citizens are only now getting close to being eligible for one of the many varied, specialized professional tracks available to them in the Bureau.

The Work of FBI Agents

Through operations, intelligence, and a variety of other specialized career paths, FBI Special Agents contribute to the security of the country. The FBI demands its agents to have the best capabilities in physical and mental fitness, maintaining and defending the highest standards of conduct, making it one of America’s most difficult occupations. Many college grads hold at least one of the requirements necessary to work for the Bureau: a bachelor’s degree in a range of sectors, including STEM and IT, business analytics, the arts, and communication.

The FBI has various branches for its lines of business in law enforcement, just like any other form of government. Among them are branches for national security, information technology, human resources, and more. Holders of degrees can work in special investigations and intelligence or as professionals supporting law enforcement in a number of capacities. According to their official website, the FBI is tasked with looking into the following list of things:

  • Counterintelligence.
  • Human rights.
  • Governmental corruption
  • Terrorism.
  • Crime Syndicate.
  • White-Collar Offenses.
  • Online crime.
  • Violent offenses.
  • Mass destruction weapons.

The duties of an FBI agent go far beyond making arrests, conducting investigations, or analyzing data; they also include safeguarding witnesses, reporting, responding to evidence, and adhering to rigid organizational and lab standards that keep the Bureau’s operations flawless.

FBI Agent Preparation Skills

  • Obtain a degree in a subject such as criminal justice, finance, physics, computer technology, or a foreign language, for example.
  • Obtain two years of work experience in a field associated with the desired major.
  • you must be between the ages of 23 and 37 and a citizen of the United States.
  • A physical fitness test, background checks, and several drug and polygraph tests, as well as various drug tests.
  • Finishing the demanding New Agent Training.

Salary of FBI agents

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) estimates that, as of 2020, the income of an FBI employee can range from $28,770 to $66,996. The average compensation of the top earners might, however, exceed $170,000, according to data on the “Highest Paid Employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The cost of living where agents are stationed, other government employment criteria, and one’s field of specialty all have an impact on these salaries. To put it another way, the Law Enforcement (LEO) payscale is based on both the LEO paygrade of a position and the “Pay Grade Step” an officer has attained.

The Levels of Experience

The Federal Government’s pay scale distribution is broken down into a wide range of categories, including but not limited to:

  • General Salary, or GS.
  • senior executive service (SES)
  • Senior Level Positions (SL)
  • Executive Pay (EX).

The government payscale’s GS plane has the highest population density. No schooling beyond a high school GED is required for grades GS-1 through GS-3, according to the OPM. The lowest base salaries are often earned in clerical or administrative roles. At least an associate’s degree is needed for GS-4 to GS-6. GS-7 through GS-12 positions in the professional or scientific fields may call for bachelor’s or graduate-level degrees as well as the necessary number of years of relevant experience. Employees must hold a master’s or doctoral degree in order to qualify for the GS-13 to GS-15 levels.

Training for the FBI begins at the GS-10 level, where the starting salary is $50,246 per year. Government employment is paid on a sliding scale. Even at the GS-10 scale, agents can advance to several levels that will increase their compensation all the way to $65,321 per year.At the lowest pay grade, special agents earn about 16 percent more than base wage because the cost of living bonus on base pay is set at a default of 15.95 percent nationwide. The cost of living adjustment can range from roughly 16 percent to as much as 41 percent of base pay, thus FBI agents who work out of a field office in a high cost region will receive a greater pay raise. Agents in Kansas City, Detroit, and many other smaller locations still earn a sizable raise, even though New York City and San Francisco give the greatest cost of living additions.

In general, FBI agents are among the best-trained and paid law enforcement professionals. The salary for FBI agents is fairly considerable, especially when you take into account the cost of living bonus that is added to all base wages.

FBI Education Standards

The Federal Bureau of Investigations is a prestigious agency that demands a broad range of competencies. It requires specialists in computer technology, economics, and foreign languages in addition to those who can break down doors, conduct arrests, and act precisely in risky situations.

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education requirement for FBI agents. Most agents have a master’s degree or above, particularly those in managerial and technical roles. Despite the fact that some businesses might pass over a GPA, the FBI demands a 3.0 or above.

So which majors are ideal for FBI agents? Find out below how many traditional and online degrees U.S. citizens will need to work with the FBI.

Information technology and computer science

The Federal Bureau of Investigation places a great importance on the large amount of information contained in this category of degrees. When looking through these programmes, it becomes clear that every sort of firm highly values degrees in data science, network administration, software development and design, and other CS-IT fields. Through career paths in computer engineering, network security, geospatial information systems, and cybersecurity, the FBI can further enhance its value in this highly competitive climate. When seeking a degree in this area, take into account programmes like the ABET-accredited Information Assurance that have both regional and programmatic accreditation.

Criminal Law

A law enforcement organization is the FBI by definition. A large portion of the FBI is made up of people with experience in local law enforcement and the military. The honesty, devotion, morals, and abilities of investigators and crime fighters are essential to upholding the Constitution. Their physical prowess and thorough knowledge of American law set a standard of behavior that cannot be readily surpassed. Work for the FBI may seem like a straightforward or smooth step for law enforcement personnel into a demanding and highly rewarding job. Forensic science, criminal justice, and criminology are some of the top degrees in law enforcement offered by the FBI.

By definition, the FBI is a law enforcement organization. People with experience in local law enforcement and the military make up a large portion of the FBI. The honesty, devotion, morals, and expertise of detectives and law enforcement officials are essential to upholding the Constitution. Their physical prowess and comprehensive knowledge of American law sets a bar for behavior that is difficult to match. Working with the FBI may seem like an obvious or smooth move into a demanding and highly lucrative job for law enforcement officials. Criminology, Forensic Science, and Criminal Justice are some of the top majors in law enforcement offered by the FBI.


The hard sciences are among the most promising subjects to pursue if one wants to work with the FBI. In the Laboratory Division, Cyber Division, Operational Technology Division, etc., FBI scientists normally work. Degrees in scientific disciplines like biology, chemistry, and physics equip students with analytical skills, methods for research and problem-solving, as well as the expertise and dexterity to excel in a sector that is both broad and cutthroat. Hard science careers can open up intriguing prospects that are uncommon in the private sector, according to FBI agents.


Fraud and money theft are two of the major problems the FBI deals with when it comes to dealing with white-collar criminals, who operate on many different levels. Accounting, business, and finance experts can use their analytical, problem-solving, and mathematical reasoning talents to dismantle criminal masterminds on a local to global scale. A degree in finance or business administration can help you gain a solid understanding of corporate finance, investments, business ethics, and other topics. Following this route might result in a successful FBI career at a high level.

Additional Language

An FBI agent’s ability to speak a foreign language is one of their most desired qualifications. The FBI is looking for people who have a solid grasp of numerous languages and dialects, including Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Punjabi, Indonesian, Pashto, and a plethora of others. Even a minimal level of proficiency in a foreign language can be helpful to agents working in any branch of the FBI since it benefits the nation on an international scale. A bachelor’s degree might be the first and easiest step toward becoming a special agent for the FBI and acquiring advanced language skills.

Additional Degrees for the FBI

There are various degree-holding citizens who are eligible to apply to the FBI. This kind of law enforcement employs a wide variety of strategies, know-how, and abilities to apprehend criminals and protect the country from dangers. Almost any serious degree can be helpful to someone who wants to work for the FBI with the correct application. Degrees in psychology, sociology, or law can be undertaken, and these fields of study can be applied to investigations, legal proceedings, and more. Human Resources, Marketing, International Studies, English, Journalism, and Visual Arts are additional degrees that are useful. The FBI hires persons with a variety of degrees as long as they can meet all other work requirements. The FBI searches for a hybrid combination of talents and competencies.

Millenials for Future FBI Agents

Anyone who wants to work for the FBI should consider minoring in any of the aforementioned majors. One good combination that would certainly pave the way for a future working in the FBI’s white-collar crime section is majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Finance. The FBI would benefit from the assistance of an agent with a computer science major and a minor in international studies.

FBI internship programmes

Students pursuing a bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD can apply for a 10-week paid Honors Internship with the FBI while they are still in school. This is a fantastic method to learn more about potential careers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Like applying for any position with the Bureau, this program’s application procedure is rigorous.

Students interested in a future with the FBI may find the internship route to be a desirable and rewarding career option because the FBI actively recruits top students in a variety of professions. Even though becoming an FBI Special Agent takes time, it’s never too early to think about the prerequisites as you’re assembling your school credentials.

Requirements for FBI Agents

The demanding, strict Basic Requirements are in addition to the educational requirements for becoming an agent of the FBI. These include the applicant’s age, citizenship, physical fitness, and overall background.

  • First and foremost, only citizens of the United States are eligible to apply. Non-citizens won’t be taken into account. Candidates must have spent the previous three to five years residing in the United States. An FBI agent must be between the ages of 23 and 37 to be eligible. Only those who fall within this age range will be given consideration for the post, despite the fact that some exemptions are possible. This is done to ensure both physical strength and endurance as well as mental maturity and experience.
  • There will be a thorough background investigation and security clearance as part of the application procedure. The FBI will check into a variety of factors, including job, credit history, medical history, military service, and law enforcement, in addition to the regular records inquiry that employees may encounter with other professions. Candidates for the FBI must pass written exams, a thorough background investigation, many drug tests, and even a polygraph or lie detector test.
  • A demanding physical fitness exam (PFT) is one of the most difficult requirements for FBI agents and is part of the application process. This exam comprises sprints, mile runs, and other activities in addition to exercises like sit-ups and push-ups. All candidates seeking employment as FBI agents are given a preparatory manual by the agency. Applicants can download the FBI Physical Fitness Test App to make the preparation process easier.
  • In order to ensure that an application does not have a physical condition that could cause issues later in their employment, prospective agents must also undergo medical examination. Additionally, candidates must have had their license for at least six months prior to applying.

The last prerequisite is previous years of experience

A minimum of two years of relevant experience is still necessary for prospective agents even after meeting all the prior qualifications, including the age restrictions, fitness requirements, and educational requirements. However, the need might be reduced to one year if you have a graduate degree.

The experience must be relevant to the intended field of employment. Agents may bring up to three years of prior expertise managing information technology or constructing computer databases to their position in cybersecurity.

Many FBI agents will have more than three years of experience in law enforcement, particularly in the field of investigations. Working in a public accounting firm or overseeing the finances of a sizable corporation are examples of experiences available to persons in the financial sector.

FBI Disqualifiers for Employment

The FBI recognises that people make mistakes, especially when they are young, much like all other employers. However, due to the highly-secure and crucial nature of the job, FBI agents would face significantly stricter requirements regarding their criminal histories. Small infractions, like traffic tickets, won’t disqualify one from running, but a misdemeanor will reduce your prospects, especially if it happened when you were an adult. A crime effectively disqualifies candidates for the position. Student loan defaults and other seemingly unimportant non-criminal issues can get you fired from your work.

Domestic violence convictions, failure to pay child support, failure to submit tax returns, and noncompliance with FBI drug use criteria are further grounds for disqualification. In addition to the Bureau’s rigorous rules prohibiting drug usage by agents, lying on an application about previous drug use is a serious disqualifier. Candidates cannot have used marijuana in the three years prior to applying, not even with a prescription for medical usage.

How to Prepare for a Career as an FBI Agent

Training for FBI agents at Quantico

The official education and training process starts once a new agent is hired to work for the FBI and has successfully completed the demanding qualifications to become an agent. FBI agents must successfully complete New Agent Training at the FBI Academy before starting their fieldwork. One of the most challenging training courses ever for law enforcement officers, this roughly 20-week course will push students to the maximum on both a physical and mental level.

Agents will undergo four main concentrations throughout the course of more than 800 hours of training:

  • Academics.
  • Case studies.
  • firearms instruction.
  • operational expertise.

Some of the realistic case studies for recruits during basic training are conducted in Hogan’s Alley, the well-known mock village created by Hollywood set designers and filled by actors impersonating criminals and terrorists. The difficult physical fitness tests, which include sit-ups, sprints, push-ups, mile runs, and sprints, are the last hurdle that agents must clear.

Education & Training Permanent

Agents are finally prepared to contribute to the Federal Bureau of Investigations after completing the New Agent Training programme, but their education and development is far from over. Even the most seasoned FBI agents must go through training courses to keep up with the latest methods of law enforcement. Tactical training, leadership development, driving skills, and fundamental field training are all included in the FBI’s training programmes.

In addition to upholding the highest standards of morality and decency, FBI Special Agents are expected to stay physically fit during their employment with the organization. After clearing the stringent qualifications to gain the job, agents must maintain a Top Secret SCI clearance, which is a necessity of the position. As such, they maintain high standards of conduct in both their personal and professional lives. Agents will be watched closely throughout their careers to ensure that they are morally, physically, and mentally prepared for the position.

FBI career opportunities

The FBI offers many career paths. There are Special Agents, Intelligence Analysts, Surveillance Specialists, Forensic Accountants, and Language Analysts on the operation and intelligence side. IT, STEM, arts and communications, business analysis and administration, facilities and logistics, legal, medical, counseling, and police and security are some additional employment options. Employees of the FBI may be assigned to any of the field offices throughout the country, abroad, the FBI Laboratory, or National Headquarters, depending on the nature of their position. In order to best utilize their capabilities and effectively represent the Bureau, applicants should investigate the alternatives accessible to them.

Related Professions

The profession of an FBI agent is just one of countless others that are closely linked. These consist of several municipal and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as security and investigation positions. Police officers, sheriffs, private investigators, game wardens, cybersecurity specialists, and correctional officers are professions that are closely related to those of FBI agents. Those training to become special agents might discover that they are more drawn to a related field, such as working for a large company or non profit organization that defends the legal, financial, or human rights of Americans. After working in one of these professions, there is also the chance to advance within the FBI and take on leadership and intelligence analyst positions.

The Workplace of an FBI Agent

How does the world change once a person joins the FBI? Where is the employment located, and who works in the offices on a daily basis? What equipment is required for a particular task? It turns out that FBI agents work in a varied setting that mirrors their educational backgrounds.

Special agents for the FBI are stationed in places across the nation and abroad, and travel is frequently a requirement of the position. Depending on the position, an FBI agent might work on a computer and look through documents in an office all day, or they might log evidence at a crime scene and compile an investigation there. They might also spend a whole day or more testifying as an expert witness in criminal proceedings. Naturally, an FBI agent’s job can be hazardous because they frequently have to apprehend violent offenders and make arrests.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Working for the FBI

Being an FBI agent has benefits and drawbacks, just like any other profession. There are both very rewarding features of the profession and explanations for why many people fail to succeed as agents.

One bears the pride of serving the country for the greater good when working as an FBI agent. Agents are assisting to protect citizen rights by removing dangerous criminals from the streets. The nation may be protected by FBI agents against terrorism, cyberattacks, organised crime, and domestic dangers, depending on the area of their job. Working for a highly exclusive company that only hires the best applicants in the country is what brings satisfaction.

There are undoubtedly disadvantages to working as an FBI agent. Agents may encounter hazardous situations where their lives and the lives of others are in danger throughout the course of their work, which is quite stressful. Agents must put in a minimum of 50 hours per week and be available for duty at all times. They will work lengthy, apparently endless hours. Agents of the FBI are on duty around-the-clock, ready to deal with terrifying events and violent, frequently horrifying crime scenes—scenes that can frighten even the most composed person.

A Career That Brings Honor and Rewards

Candidates with commitment and aptitude are welcome to pursue a career as an FBI agent. Agents must fulfill some of the nation’s strictest qualifications just to be given consideration for the position. Agents have a vocation that enables them to assist the nation and their fellow citizens every single day after completing the demanding procedure of school, application, training, and testing. The life of an FBI agent is thrilling, difficult, and gratifying, both in the office and on the job.


What work FBI Agents do?

FBI Special Agents fight to protect our country while specialised in a variety of fields, including financial fraud, terrorism, organised crime, cybercrime, and murder investigations, to mention a few.

How can I become a member of the FBI?

First, obtain at least a bachelor’s degree from an approved institution, then spend two years working in a specialized field. Meet all basic eligibility requirements, and after being accepted, complete the FBI’s 20-week New Agent Training Program at Quantico.

What to Expect: Serving as an FBI agent.

Special agents for the FBI may be sent to several domestic field offices or foreign locales during their physically and mentally demanding careers. Travel is frequently necessary, and agents are expected to work a minimum of 50 hours a week while being available for work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Should I Learn a Foreign Language?

One of the top abilities desired by the FBI is the ability to speak another language. It is strongly advised that you take a foreign language to improve your selection prospects.