The Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) is the main law enforcement agency of the United States. This department has jurisdiction over more than 200 kinds of federal crimes, including terrorism, criminal investigations, and counterintelligence. As an FBI agent, you will be tasked with working on these criminal cases. The process to become an FBI agent is very exclusive and competitive.
Why Become an FBI Agent
FBI agents are also known as special agents. There are only approximately 13,000 special agents employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
FBI agents are responsible for working on criminal cases at the federal level. This includes cases of terrorism, human trafficking, kidnappings, national security, cyber, and more. FBI agents are highly trained investigators who solve criminal cases.
Because there are so many types of crimes that the FBI handles, agents specialize in certain types of crimes. Agents may investigate such crimes as accounting fraud, cyber crimes, robberies, terrorism, corruption, drug smuggling, gangs and organized crime, and more. Their duties often involve investigating the crime, giving testimony in a courtroom, and interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects. There are also special sectors of the FBI that a person can apply for, such as the SWAT Team, FBI police officers, and linguists.
FBI Agents should have the following qualities and skills:
Understands the Law
FBI Agent Work Environment
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is headquartered in Quantico, Virginia. When an agent is hired, they must begin with 21 weeks of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico. After training, an agent receives their assignment. An agent must be willing to work anywhere they are assigned. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has regional offices across the United States. In this environment, agents work in teams, investigating criminal law cases.
This job involves being highly trained in the law and knowledgeable about criminal justice. Many of the cases involve traumatic situations, including homicide, human trafficking, terrorism, kidnapping, drug crimes, and more. FBI agents are granted Top Secret security clearance due to the nature of their work. They are required to work with firearms. FBI agents are expected to be available around the clock for their jobs. This career involves team work and long hours, as well as travel.
FBI Agent Salary
FBI agents are employees of the federal government. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the annual salary for FBI agents is $43,441. There is also a cost of living adjustment given to agents, for their relocation to wherever they may be assigned. Another part of an agent’s wages is availability pay, given to compensate agents for their 24/7 availability.
Bonuses and promotions are available for FBI agents. If an agent receives a promotion to a supervisor, management or executive position, they may be eligible for a higher rate of pay. Currently the highest rate of pay within the FBI is $129,517.
FBI Agent Career Outlook
In recent years there has been an increase in the amount of terrorism and other crimes found at a national level. The Federal Bureau of Investigation states that there will be an increase of agents looking to be hired in the upcoming years. Each agent must have a specialty in order to be hired for the FBI.
Agents who have training in law, engineering, accounting, computer science, or foreign language proficiency will be especially competitive. In recent years, the FBI has focused on hiring agents who specialized in cyber crimes, including cyber security, computer engineering, and computer science.
FBI Agent Degree
If you are interested in become an FBI Agent, read below for more information.
First, there are some prerequisites involved with being an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All agents must be United States citizens. All agents must be between the ages of 23 and 37 years old when they submit their application.
Step 1: Undergraduate education. A bachelor’s degree is required in order to become an agent for the FBI. Programs that would be beneficial to becoming an FBI agent include law, engineering, accounting, and computer science. A person must graduate from college with at least a 3.0 GPA in order to qualify as an agent. It takes four years to receive a bachelor’s degree.
Step 2: Work experience. The FBI requires that all candidates looking to apply for the position have at least three years of work experience in a particular field before applying. There are many different kinds of crimes that an FBI agent will process. FBI agents often specialize in a particular area. During the hiring process, there are five entry programs: law, computer technology, accounting, languages, and diversified. Work experience in these areas will help a candidate.
Step 3: The application process is very extensive. After submitting their applications, candidates can expect to take several exams; have an interview with Federal Bureau of Investigation staff members; take a physical fitness test, in order to demonstrate your physical ability; and undergo a background investigation. All people who are accepted undergo 21 weeks of training at FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.