Investigation, Enforcement, Justice: All in a Day's Work for the FBI
Serving your country as an agent working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is demanding and rewarding. Apart from upholding more than 300 federal statutes, you could be spending your days investigating:
- Bank robbery
- Bribery and public corruption
- Civil rights violations
- Cyber crime
- Fugitive and drug-trafficking matters
- White-collar, financial, and organized crime
No Typical Days for FBI Agents
It's unavoidable; sometimes an entire day is going to be spent doing paperwork or going to meetings. Other days could have you testifying in court, obtaining search warrants, scouring crime scenes for evidence, working with local police, or making that satisfying arrest after months of painstaking intelligence gathering. As an FBI agent, there's no such thing as just another day at the office.
Getting In: Degrees and Other Qualifications
A bachelor's degree is enough to qualify you educationally for most entry-level positions; in fact, a four-year degree is a requirement. While a criminal justice degree might seem like the best way to go, the FBI takes all sorts of degrees, including online degrees, in fields they consider necessary critical skills. From accounting to engineering to physical sciences such as biology, chemistry, physics, or mathematics, the FBI hires a wide variety of experts. The FBI also requires three years of professional experience for all applicants.
Applicants must be at least 23 years of age and no older than 37. A thorough background check and drug test must be passed. Agents must possess 20/20 vision in one eye and no worse than 20/40 vision in the other. A hearing test is also administered. A physical fitness test is also required. Prospective agents are tested on:
- Maximum number of sit-ups in one minute
- Timed 300-meter sprint
- Maximum number of push-ups (untimed)
- Timed 1.5 mile run
After being accepted, new agents must complete a 21-week, intensive, law enforcement training course.
Direction and Divisions
There are five career paths that the FBI offers:
- Directorate of Intelligence: Gather and provide timely intelligence in the interest of law enforcement and national security
- Counterintelligence Division: Identify and neutralize threats to national security, with specific focus on protecting sensitive information and preventing penetration of government agencies
- Counterterrorism Division: Detect, disrupt, and dismantle terrorist cells and support groups operating in the United States before they have a chance to act
- Criminal Investigative Division: Coordinate investigative programs focused on financial, violent, drug related, and organized crime, in addition to public corruption and violations of civil liberties
- Cyber Division: Investigate sexual exploitation and endangerment of children online. Detect and disrupt dissemination of malicious code or sensitive intelligence
- Special agents in the FBI make around $60,000 as a starting salary, depending on location and other factors. For those who qualify, there is a $22,000 relocation bonus. And as agent, you'd be a sworn protector of our country, our laws, and our values. The work is demanding, but when you shine up those black shoes and polish that badge, you'll know that it was worth all of the effort.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Become an FBI Special Agent
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI Special Agent Critical Skills
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI Special Agent Physical Requirements
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent Career Path Program
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, Special Agent Qualification Requirements
About the Author
Karl Fendelander is a freelance writer and editor living in Reno, NV. He holds a degree in writing, which complements an eclectic work and education history. A lover of the outdoors, Karl can often be found hiking and climbing around the West.