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How to Become FBI Agent

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What is an FBI Agent?

Working as an FBI agent is a challenging yet a respectable career choice. You will be assigned an array of responsibilities that will enable the FBI and other agencies to guard U.S. interests from internal and external threats. Some of the areas that you might be working on are: cyber crime, white collar crime, financial crime, terrorism, civil rights violation, fugitive and drug trafficking, foreign counter intelligence, extortion and kidnapping, air piracy and interstate criminal activity.

An FBI agent’s job can be unpredictable according to the developments of a certain case. Daily activities range from testifying in federal court to executing search warrants to gathering intelligence on illegal activities.

How to Become an FBI Agent?

The hiring process for an FBI special agent is rigorous, thorough and multifaceted. Candidates have to go through various application procedures and pass all other requirements for FBI agents.

According to the official FBI website, some of the basic FBI qualifications.

  • You must be a United States citizen or a citizen of the Northern Mariana Islands
  • Your minimum age must be 23 but you should not have turned 37 years of age by the time you are appointed as a Special Agent
  • Have a four year college degree from an accredited institution
  • Have a valid driver license
  • You must be willing to be posted anywhere in the FBI’s jurisdiction

You can initiate the process by completing an online application form or you can apply through the FBI office that covers your residence or place of education/employment. After you have gone through the application process there are six more steps that include things like physical fitness tests, background information and medical examinations. The time frame associated with the whole process varies according to the candidates and it can range from six months up to several years.

Although the FBI doesn’t encourage students to enroll in any particular degree programs or schools, there are certain fields that will help you stand out among the competition and enhance your chances of becoming an FBI special agent.

Some of the fields that you can explore in this regard are Law, Accounting and Engineering.

Once you are selected to work for the bureau you will receive FBI agent training in Quantico, Virginia for almost 21 weeks. At this top-of-the-line law enforcement training facility you will get extensive instruction in physical fitness, practical application exercises, defensive tactics and the use of firearms. The classroom education consists of a wide range of academic and investigative subjects.

You will also get additional training over the course of your career so that you are equipped with all the latest techniques and technological developments in the field of law enforcement and intelligence.

FBI Agent Career

A new special agent will be appointed to one of five departments. These are: counter intelligence, intelligence, counter terrorism, criminal and cyber. A special nomination to weapons of mass destruction matters may be offered to applicants who work in counter intelligence and counter terrorism.

FBI Agent Salaries

Salaries in the FBI are according to the designated role. As per the information on the FBI's website, newly assigned agents are paid $ 43,441 (GS 10, step 1) plus locality and availability pay. Locality pay is the compensation paid to agents to factor in the difference in the labor market in different areas and this ranges from 12.5% to 28.7% of base salary depending upon office assignment. Availability pay, which is a twenty five percent increase of the combined base salary and locality pay, is provided to all agents because of the requirement to average 50 hours a week over the course of the year. Bringing all this into account new FBI special agents. depending on their location, earn in the range of $61,100 to over $69,900 a year.

You should also know that the candidates are paid $1,963 (for each two week period) during the entire duration of their training program at Quantico.

Furthermore, FBI agents have access to various federal benefits packages like the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB), Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program and Federal Employees Retirement System. Employees have time-off benefits as well and the number of leaves allowed increase with years of service. Moreover all FBI agents can attend summer picnics, holiday parties and various events which are organized by the bureau’s Recreation association.

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