How's the FBI's hiring process

Learn How to Become an FBI Special Agent 2021 - Criminology Careers

A career as an FBI agent is perhaps one of the most sought-after jobs in the United States. Positions with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and most other specialty careers tend to offer higher wages (often six-digit numbers after six years), good health insurance, and excellent retirement benefits.

FBI agent careers, in particular, are often viewed as having some status and prestige as the FBI is one of the most well known and respected investigative agencies in the world. So it's no wonder you became interested in such a wonderful career opportunity. The question is, how do you become an FBI agent?

Minimum requirements for FBI agents

First we should talk about the minimum requirements. If you do not meet these, your application will not get very far. To even be considered for a job as an FBI agent, you must:

  • Be a US citizen (or a citizen of the Northern Mariana Islands or other US territories)
  • Be between 23 and 37 years old (there are some exceptions to the maximum age for veterans)
  • Have a valid driver's license
  • You have a four-year degree (e.g. a B.S. or B.A.) from an accredited academic institution
  • Be ready and willing to work almost anywhere in the world
  • Have at least three years of professional experience

FBI agent registration programs

The FBI recruits fewer than one in five applicants (less than 20%) for entry-level programs or career paths. These titles include accounting, computer science and technology, language, law / legal, and varied work. If you meet the minimum qualifications, the next step is to determine which title you will qualify for.

Accounting requires a bachelor's degree in accounting and at least three years of experience in a professional accounting firm or as an accountant in a government agency. Experience can be substituted if you become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

If you are interested in the entry-level computer and technology program, you must obtain a bachelor's degree in information technology, computer science, or a related field. or in electrical engineering. If you don't have a technology degree, you'll need to earn either a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certification or a Cisco Certified Internet Working Expert (CCIE) certification. A four year degree will still be required.

If you are interested in becoming a candidate for law, you must earn a Doctorate in Juris (JD) from a recognized law school. You may also need to pass the bar exam.

If you don't fit into any of the above categories, you can still qualify under the diversified entry-level program. Diversified applicants must have a four-year degree in a major and three years of work experience or a university degree with at least two years of experience. Most of these candidates are former police officers or people with investigative experience in the past.

After applying under one of the entry-level programs, applicants will then be prioritized based on whether they have certain critical skills that the FBI needs at the time. These skills include research experience, previous law enforcement, computer science, physics and life sciences, language, information gathering, finance and accounting. For those of you who have mastered a second or third language, you must have a bachelor's degree in any field and be able to pass language tests that include reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Testing for FBI agent jobs

If you want to meet the requirements, switch to the test phase. The first phase of testing takes place at a local FBI facility and consists of several written tests of basic skills, knowledge and competencies. If you have successfully completed the first phase, move on to phase II, which includes a test of your writing skills and an in-depth oral interview.

Physical fitness requirements of FBI agents

If you complete the Entry-Level Program and Critical Skills and pass the Phases I and II tests, your next step will be the Physical Fitness Test. The FBI requires all agents to pass a physical ability test to verify that they are physically able to do the rigors of the job.

The FBI's fitness test consists of sit-ups, push-ups, a 300-meter sprint, and a 1.5-mile run. You will get a score based on the number of sit-ups you can do in a minute and the total number of push-ups you can do, as well as the speed at which you do the 300-yard stroke and the 1, 5 miles. To give you an idea of ​​where you need to be physically, here is a breakdown of the averages for men and women:

FBI fitness standards

  • 1 Minute Sit Ups:
  • Men: 45-47 reps
  • Women: 44-46 reps
  • Minimal pushups:
  • Men: 44-49 reps
  • Women: 27-29 reps
  • 300 meter stroke:
  • Men: 46.1-49.9 seconds
  • Women: 56.0-57.4 seconds
  • 1.5 mile run:
  • Men: 10: 35-11: 09 (minutes: seconds)
  • Women: 11: 57-12: 29 (minutes: seconds)

Make no mistake about this. For many, getting in shape and preparing for the physical assessment is a lot of hard work. The earlier you start exercising, the better you will be on the test day. Be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Background research for FBI agents

If you are physically cutting the mustard, your next step will be a thorough background research. For many, this is a nerve-wracking and grueling process that includes a polygraph check, credit check, and interviews with neighbors, colleagues, and friends. It also includes interviews with previous employers to learn more about your previous work history.

Medical tests for FBI agents

Your next step will be medical tests to make sure you don't have any health issues that could be dangerous to you later in your career. This includes blood pressure checks as well as visual and hearing screening. Medical checkups won't necessarily disqualify you, but they can reveal health issues that require your attention. FBI health professionals will determine whether or not you are healthy enough for the job based on the overall physical exam.

The FBI Academy

When you've got all the steps behind you, you'll be invited to a special agent class at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA. The 21 week training program requires you to live on campus, where you spend long hours in the classroom learning weapon skills, defensive tactics and other special skills.

The FBI Academy is tough mentally and physically. Special trainees are required to maintain their physical fitness. If a trainee fails their fitness test in the first or seventh week, they will be sent home. Academic requirements are equally stringent, and failing exams and skills will result in your no longer working.

Become an FBI special agent

Becoming an FBI agent is an enormously difficult and competitive process. It takes years, planning, and hard work to integrate with the kind of candidates the FBI wants to hire. It won't happen overnight, and the hiring process itself can take a year or more.

However, if you can get through the hoops, a career as an FBI special agent presents unique challenges, opportunities, and rewards. If your goal is to work for the FBI, now is the time to start planning for your future.