How to Become an FBI Agent

FBI agents are employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the law enforcement agency that investigates crimes under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Justice. As such this is a federal government position. FBI agents are considered some of the best, most specialized agents in the country.

Special agents make up about one-third of the FBI staff and investigate all crimes that fall within the jurisdiction of the office, including terrorism, cybercrime, public corruption, civil rights violations, white-collar crime, and organized crime. They also perform international counterintelligence and support state and local law enforcement authorities with laboratory tests and fingerprint recognition.


FBI agents endure rigorous training that ensures only those with extreme mental toughness make it through. In addition, FBI agents are required to have knowledge in a variety of fields including psychology, self-defense, shooting, and other crime-related subjects.

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Becoming an FBI Agent in the U.S.A.

FBI agents must practice for 20 weeks at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. There are four components to the new recruitment training: academics, case studies, firearms instruction, and practical abilities.

The academic component includes coursework in law, ethics, interviewing, reporting, investigative techniques, counter-intelligence techniques, interrogation, and forensic science. Students also learn how to handle various forms of analyses.


Once the candidate has met all the qualifications and exams, he or she must undergo 20 weeks of on-campus training at the FBI Academy. FBI’s special agent training program includes classroom time and hands-on training, such as firearm training. Upon graduation, students were sworn in as special agents of the FBI. They are subsequently assigned to a field office, where they start a two-year probationary period under the guidance of a special agent mentor who helps them apply their learning to new assignments.


The initial stage in becoming an FBI agent is to earn a bachelor’s degree. The degree level depends on which entry program the person is interested in. Currently, there are five certification services for particular agent applicants. 

  • Computer science and information
  • Accounting
  • Foreign language
  • Law
  • Diversified

Work and Training

The average work experience required for a future FBI special agent position is three years in a field related to his or her degree. The FBI is seeking applicants with unique critical skills, including knowledge of accounting, engineering, law, military, science, or foreign languages. So, full-time skilled employment in these fields is preferred.


Also, FBI special agents must comply with stringent physical fitness requirements. Applicants are required to complete a physical examination by a doctor and to provide their medical records to the agency. They must also comply with specific vision and hearing requirements. They also need to pass a physical fitness self-assessment test that includes the completion of as many sit-ups and push-ups as possible. As well as a timed 300-meter sprint and a 1.5-mile run.

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Job Prospects for an FBI Agent

Because the FBI is a government organization, the number of hires usually depends on the federal budget. Due to budgetary problems, the Department of Justice, including the FBI, was subject to a three-year hiring freeze at the beginning of 2014. When the FBI started hiring again, there was intense competition for openings.

The FBI gives priority to candidates who have backgrounds in critical areas such as intelligence, law enforcement, military, engineering, and foreign language skills. Candidates who have expertise in one or more of these areas will have the best job opportunities. According to Payscale, an FBI agent earns about $64,629 per year. Job opportunities with the FBI are posted on the FBI jobs website,


If you want to dedicate your life to stopping and solving crimes there are many avenues you can pursue. However, if you have intelligence, special skills, and physical fitness, then becoming an FBI agent may be an option for you. For more jobs related to government work, click here.

Also read – How to Become a Private Security Officer