“How To Become An FBI Agent?” you may have searched this question on Google after watching some crime-packed shows like Quantico, Criminal minds, White Collar, Perception, and so on. But have you ever given it a serious thought on how to become an FBI agent or what would it be like in real life? Many of you may want to be aspiring FBI agents but we may not know how to go about it.
So don’t worry even if you are someone who is looking forward to having a career as a federal bureau of investigation agent or you are someone who is interested in knowing more about it stick around so that you know everything about the process of becoming an FBI agent.
So now first let’s get to know the basics of Fbi agents, like what they are, what they do, what their duty includes, and then in the second part we will talk about their education, training, salary, skills, and so on.
What Is The Federal Bureau Of Investigation?
A federal bureau of investigation looks after the federal crimes which take place in the United States of America by which national security is threatened or national laws are violated. In simple words, “Federal” = the federal government of the country, “Bureau”= a particular department, and “Investigation”= refers to people that investigate & solve crimes, which includes things like gathering evidence and witnesses, locating suspects, and finding out who committed the crime. It protects the country against crimes like cyber-based attacks, terrorism, espionage, foreign intelligence, cyber operations, and so on.
Duties Of An FBI Agent
The duties of an FBI agent may vary depending on what career path they choose, what their expertise is, or what work is assigned to them, given below is the basic duties that FBI agents perform. Types of career paths in the FBI include counter-terrorism, criminal investigation, Cyber, Intelligence & Counterintelligence.
- Collecting all evidence of the crime
- Gather necessary information, data & facts and analyzes it
- Interviews the suspects and locates the witnesses for the case
- Monitor the activities of the suspect and studies their behavior
- Keeps an eye on foreign governments, through its branches around the world.
- Monitors online activities, carrying out arrests and raids.
- Investigates criminal activities both domestic as well as foreign (the ones that affect the citizens of the USA)
1. Education Requirement
The minimum requirement is to have a bachelor’s degree or higher in any relevant field, the preferred choice is criminal justice, political science, cyber security, forensic accounting, psychology, and so on. The degree must be from a US accredited college or university.
Work experience is also required along with education, for those of you who hold a bachelor’s degree you may be required to have a work experience of 2 years and if you hold a master’s degree or higher one year of experience would be enough. Can consider jobs related to the law enforcement agency so that you get the required experience.
2. Age Requirement
To become an FBI agent you must be between 23 years- and 36 years old at least when you join. If you are looking forward to applying for the special agent’s position make sure you do it before your 36th birthday. It’s necessary for all special agents to serve for 20 years in the field. The retirement age for the same is 57 years.
3. Other Basic Requirements
Now before we proceed further to the process of becoming an FBI agent, the eligibility criteria which I’m mentioning must be kept in mind before applying for the overall process
- To work for the FBI you need to be a citizen of the United States of America
- You need to get your background check done (if you have any kind of criminal history or not)
- You need to pass the drug test
- Must have excellent physical fitness and a good health
- A driving license is required and 6 years of experience in it too.
- You may also be required to give a lie detector test.
4. Career Paths In The FBI
The other career paths that you can pursue in the FBI fields are given below, education and work experience will depend on the field you want to join. I will be mentioning the fields below along with the skills required in them.
A. Special Agents
- Excellent communication skills and active listening
- Must be flexible and adaptable to various situations and should know how to respond to various challenges that occur.
- Problem-solving and teamwork
- Interpersonal and Leadership skills
B. Forensic Accountants
- Good communication skills
- Knowledge about accounting and laws
- Attention to Detail
- A creative approach to solving problems
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
C. Intelligence Analyst
- Report writing skills and knowledge about Information Technology
- Decision Making and Cyber Security
- Knows different languages
- Knows database management
- Teamwork, Flexibility, and Adaptability
- Well-versed with IT applications.
- Good with modern technology
- Teamwork and Good communication skills
- Knows how to use different surveillance equipment
- Active Listening and Critical thinking
- Excellent monitoring skills
E. Language Specialist
- Excellent Communication skills & active listening
- Good writing skills are a must
- Research skill
- Knows how to use computer
These were some of the paths which you can pursue in the federal bureau of investigation field.
Now before we proceed further into the process of getting into the FBI field make sure you keep everything mentioned above in mind before applying to become an FBI agent.
Step By Step Process On How To Become An FBI Agent
1. The Application Process
To start with the application process make sure you meet all the basic requirements which were mentioned above. The next step is to make sure everything is clear as far as your background check and the eligibility criteria are concerned.
If not then you may be auto disqualified, for those of you who aren’t familiar with this term it means that you do not present the correct information about your past criminal history, fails a drug test, you are not a citizen of the USA or other such reasons then, you will be automatically disqualified from applying for the FBI.
In the application process, you need to provide your college transcripts, resume (not your regular one but a federal resume that you submit while applying to a federal government agency), and military documents if any. You can submit this application along with the necessary documents on the main website of the FBI or at the local FBI field office.
2. Proctored Exam
So after you pass the application process FBI, the next step in this is to give a 3-hour exam. You will be informed whether you have cleared the first step i.e the application screening or not, and then only you can proceed further. In this proctored exam your personality, reasoning, judgment, preferences, and interests will be assessed. If you pass this exam, you will be called for an interview round with FBI representatives/evaluators.
You have to travel all the way to the FBI field office at your own expense, if you clear this interview you will move to the further step. The results of these interviews are reviewed by FBI headquarters.
3. Phase 2
After part one where you have an interview with representatives, the next step is another examination you need to give after you pass the interview. This will be a written test that you will be required to give along with an interview. It will be a properly structured interview of the candidate which will be taken by the FBI special agents. If you get successful in clearing phase 2 too then you will be invited to take a physical fitness test.
4. The Physical Fitness Test
It’s not a normal fitness test you give but is quite a strict one, so make sure that you are prepared for it prior. FBI also provides an app that helps the agent trainees to prepare for it. There are in total 3 chances given to pass the fitness test so if you fail in the first you still have two more. After you are notified about the test make sure you take it within 14 days.
5. Conditional Appointment Offer
After you pass the fitness test, you will be offered the conditional appointment offer which you have to respond to within a week. With this, the FBI will also investigate your background, verify your education that you presented, any past criminal record, polygraph test, life, interview friends and family about you, drug tests, and so on.
6. Basic Field Training Course
The final phase of the application process consists of a training program at the FBI academy. In this, the new agents have to go through intensive training which is of somewhat 20 weeks. In this training you will be taught firearms training, report writing, intelligence techniques, forensic science, interrogation, weapon training, and so on.
7. The Final Stage
With the completion of the overall process, and also the training program you will now have to move to the location where you will be assigned. The field office where you will be assigned can be in the United States of America or outside it. This is how you become an official FBI special agent after passing the different stages in the process.
Salary of FBI Agents
The average salary per year of an FBI agent is between $66359- and $ 72456. But it also depends on the location you are assigned to and the position you are on, so the salary may vary. Also along with salary FBI agents also get various benefits like life insurance, health insurance, paid time off, retirement, and so on.
Some Tips About The Overall FBI Agent Process
- It’s clear that the above-mentioned process is not at all easy and every stage of the hiring process takes a lot of time, so you need to be patient and apply only when you are totally ready to give it a go and are serious about becoming an FBI agent.
- Read the eligibility requirements thoroughly on the website, and see whether you meet the eligibility criteria or not.
- Don’t try to present any false information, because eventually, the FBI is good at finding out and it may lead to your disqualification from the process.
- Be physically fit, and then only go for the physical fitness test.
- Make sure to keep a check when you are notified about your next step so that you know whether you are qualified or not.
- Before going for the interview, take a rest properly so that your mind is fresh as they are very intense interviews.
- Everything asked at the time of the interview, say it with truthfulness don’t try to lie.
- Be on time for your interviews, so that you don’t waste your as well as their time
- Before applying for the FBI, do your research to get to know about this field, and what it is and you can also know more about people who already work in this field.
- Be confident! while you are presenting yourself in front of the representatives
Working with the FBI in any position you need to have a top-secret security clearance which in short means that they will investigate your whole background as mentioned in the above steps. This process even takes a year to finish which includes tests, interviews, the application process, training, exams, and so on.
With this we come to an end of this blog of How to become an FBI agent, if you are someone who really wants to get in this field make sure that you are firm about it, you match the eligibility criteria, and then apply. It’s not really easy to get into the field like the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
It takes a lot of time and patience, as per some sources it also said that the FBI only accepts fewer than 20% of its applicants. Now you know that it’s a highly competitive field to get in.
So that’s it for this blog, I hope you got all your questions answered through this blog about the hiring process of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and also keep in mind the tips provided while applying for the FBI. Thanks for reading!