This Is So Much More Than a Job
The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people. Special Agents enforce over 300 federal statutes and conduct criminal and national security investigations. Special Agents possessing a broad range of education, experiences, and skills are needed for the FBI to be successful. For example, Special Agents may be asked to utilize foreign language skills to interview a victim of human trafficking, computer skills to decipher malicious code, accounting skills to uncover hidden assets, or communication and collaboration skills to lead a joint agency investigation.
The FBI provides the opportunity for leaders in every community to join our workforce and contribute in a meaningful way. Whether it is disrupting a terrorist network, gathering intelligence on a foreign enemy, or dismantling a criminal enterprise, the work of Special Agents is extraordinarily rewarding.
Becoming a Special Agent Takes Dedication
The Special Agent Selection System (SASS) is a mentally and physically challenging process designed to find only the most capable applicants. However, those who make it through the process become part of an elite team that keeps our country safe.
The FBI Special Agent (SA) position requires significant commitment and dedication. SAs must:
- Adhere to strict standards of conduct, especially in maintaining honesty and integrity.
- Be available for worldwide assignment on either a temporary or a long-term basis.
- Work a minimum of 50-hours per week, which may include odd hours, and be on-call 24/7, including holidays and weekends.
- Maintain a high-level of fitness necessary to effectively respond to life-threatening situations on the job.
- Carry a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary.
- Be willing and able to participate in arrests, execution of search warrants, and other dangerous assignments, all of which pose the risk of personal bodily harm.
What to Know Before Applying
FBI Employment Requirements for All Positions
- Must be a U.S. Citizen
- Must be able to obtain a Top Secret-SCI clearance
- Be in compliance with the FBI Drug Policy
Review the full list of FBI employment requirements under Are You Suitable?
Employment Requirements for the Special Agent Position
To be eligible for the FBI Special Agent position, applicants must meet the following minimum qualifications at the time of application:
- Be between 23 and 37 years of age*
- Have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a U.S accredited college/university**
- Have at least three years of full-time (36+ hours per week) professional work experience***
- Possess a valid driver's license and 6 months of driving experience
- Meet the Special Agent physical fitness standards (see the Physical Requirements tab below)
*FBI Special Agents must apply prior to their 36th birthday. In addition, they must be appointed and assigned to the FBI Academy no later than the month of their 37th birthday to achieve 20 years of service prior to the mandatory retirement age of 57. The FBI may disqualify applicants at any time during the process if it is determined that they will reach age 37 before appointment.
Potential Exceptions: Applicants with prior Federal law enforcement service or preference eligible veteran may qualify for an age waiver.
- Non-Preference Eligible Candidates – Applicants with prior/current service in certain federal LEO and other federal positions (must be supported by an SF-50) do not require an age waiver as long as they will have amassed 20 years of service by age 57.
- Preference Eligible – Applicants who are members of the Armed Forces (rank O-3 or below) and are over the age of 36 at the time of application may apply no sooner than one year prior to their separation from the military. During initial processing, applicants will be required to submit a Statement of Service from his/her Armed Service branch, with an expected discharge/release date and Character of Discharge (i.e. honorable or general). Preference-eligible applicants must successfully complete all phases of the Special Agent Selection System (SASS), pass the background investigation, and submit a qualifying DD-214 before requesting an age waiver. Without a qualifying DD-214, an age waiver will not be considered.
Please Note: Applicants who retire at the rank of Major, Lieutenant Commander, or higher (O-4 or higher), are not eligible for preference in appointment unless they are disabled veterans. Applicants in this category must submit a DD-214 at the time of application, along with the SF-15 and appropriate/current Veterans Affairs disability rating letter. This does not apply to Reservists who will not begin drawing military retired pay until age 60.
More information can be found on our Veterans page.
**For ANY foreign degree, applicants must provide a foreign equivalency certification at the time of application. No processing will take place absent that documentation.
Potential Exception: If a bachelor’s degree is not from a U.S. accredited college, but your advanced degree is from a U.S. accredited college, the FBI will accept the accreditation of your advanced degree and no other documentation is required.
***For Special Agents, professional work experience is defined as having work experience in:
- Any occupation that requires a college degree, and may include specialized training and/or
- Any position that includes managerial, supervisory, or leadership and/or
- Professional Athletics such as a full-time career participating in Major League sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc.) or International Competitions (Olympics)
Summer jobs, internships, seasonal positions, temporary employment and/or volunteer work are generally not considered in the professional work experience category.
In addition to the definition above, the FBI determines if an applicant meets the professional work experience requirement based on the general requirements needed to perform Special Agent duties.
- Applicants with a master’s and/or advanced degree(s) require two years of full-time work experience at the time of application.
- For eligible veterans, part-time, internships (paid or unpaid), or Reserve/Guard duty count toward total work experience.
- For all applicants, volunteer work (such as Peace Corps) that requires full-time participation, paid full-time graduate work programs, and full-time fellowships may be considered as professional work experience.
All exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Education & Skills
While the FBI encourages applicants from all backgrounds to become Special Agents, we are currently looking for Special Agent applicants with skills in the following areas:
- Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
- Foreign Languages
- Emergency Medicine
- Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)
- Military (specifically Special Forces, Explosives, WMD and Intelligence Experts)
- Pilots (helicopter, fixed-wing)
FBI Special Agents are required to adhere to strict standards of conduct and exemplify the FBI’s Core Competencies listed below. The Open-Ended Questions are designed to understand your background and fit with these Competencies. As such, you are STRONGLY encouraged to provide as much information as possible, and use the Situation, Action, Result format to describe the situation, the actions you took, and the resulting outcomes.
- Organizing and Planning
- Problem Solving/Judgment
Please click here for the definitions of the FBI Core Competencies.
Why Fitness Matters
Special Agents must be mentally and physically prepared for their work. The FBI requires every applicant to pass the official Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and meet the vision and hearing requirements outlined below. While physical standards are demanding, all of our minimum requirements are achievable. Ensure you are well-rested and in your best shape before attempting any physical fitness test.
The Physical Test and Requirements
The Physical Fitness Test (PFT)
The PFT consists of four events in the following order, with no more than five minutes of rest between each event. A passing score requires a cumulative 12 points*, with at least 1 point in each of the four events. Click here for our PFT guide and scoring scales.
- Maximum number of continuous sit-ups in one minute.
- Timed 300-meter sprint.
- Maximum number of continuous push-ups (untimed).
- Timed 1.5 mile run.
*Tactical Recruitment Program (TRP) applicants also must do pull-ups as part of the test and achieve a total of 20 points, with at least 1 point in each of five events. However, meeting these physical requirements will not automatically qualify candidates as eligible TRP applicants. For more information on the Tactical Recruitment Program, view the Other Opportunities for Special Agents section.
Watch our Video on Correct Techniques for the PFT.
Please Note: Applicants may conduct physical training, including “mock PFTs,” with each other and with current FBI employees, except those who participate in the SASS or the special agent hiring process.
Failing the Physical Fitness Test
Applicants are offered three opportunities to pass the official PFT within one year after passing Phase II. If the applicant failed his or her initial post-Phase II PFT, the applicant’s remaining PFT opportunities will be scheduled at any time that is mutually agreeable to the applicant, applicant coordinator and/or the physical fitness advisor. Applicants who do not pass the PFT within the one-year time limit will be deactivated and are no longer eligible for the Special Agent position.
Vision and Hearing Requirements
- Applicant’s distant visual acuity, corrected or uncorrected, must meet Bureau standards, which are 20/20 in one eye and no worse than 20/40 in the other eye.
- Applicants with distant visual acuity greater than or equal to 20/100 require medical documentation of successful soft contact lens use for at least one year without significant problems or adverse effects.
- Applicants with recent refractive surgery involving the creation of a corneal flap must wait six months following surgery and complete an ophthalmology evaluation to document complete healing prior to applying for employment.
- Color-vision deficient applicants may be considered if they successfully complete a Farnsworth D-15 color vision test administered at the field office. Please note that the use of color-corrective lenses is not allowed.
- Applicants who have an average hearing loss greater than 25 decibels (ANSI standards) at 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 Hertz should have no single value above 35 decibels. Additionally, no single reading may exceed 35 decibels at 500 Hertz or 45 decibels at 4000 Hertz. These hearing-deficient applicants may be offered further testing available only at select Bureau field offices.
The Medical Review
During the application process, each applicant’s medical history is thoroughly reviewed on an individual basis. Applicants may provide medical information from their personal physicians. However, the FBI Chief Medical Officer will make the final decision based on his knowledge of the demands of the position and each applicant's medical documentation.
The FBI is committed to treating all applicants fairly and equitably in all aspects of the selection process.
The Application Process
The Special Agent Selection System (SASS) is designed to identify the best candidates to become FBI Special Agents. Please keep in mind that the process typically takes at least one year or longer to complete. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of this process, please contact your applicant coordinator. The standard email address for a field office is [fieldoffice]firstname.lastname@example.org (i.e. email@example.com).
Phase I and Phase II Testing – No Shows: Applicants faced with emergency situations that prevent them from attending their scheduled testing must contact their applicant coordinator as soon as possible. Once a candidate is informed of and accepts a scheduled date for testing, he or she may not cancel without incurring a “fail” for that test, unless documentation indicating a medical need to reschedule is submitted. Nonmedical extenuating circumstances (e.g., a death in the family or a military obligation) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the applicant coordinator and New Agent/Analyst Testing and Selection Unit (NAATSU) management.
Please Note: If you are currently employed, please be aware that you may be scheduled for testing during your regular working hours (i.e. midday/midweek), and sometimes in a short timeframe. Also, you may receive no more than a two-week notice to report to the FBI Academy.
For more information on the SASS, please see the Special Agent Candidate Information Packet.
Before You Apply
Ensure that you meet ALL requirements, and consider the following items:
- Are you willing to wait approximately one year before being hired?
- Are you willing to relocate to one of the FBI's 56 field offices? Is your family prepared for relocation?
- Are you willing to accept the Special Agent salary and pay scale?
- Are you willing to be on probation for the first two years of employment?
If you are currently on active duty in the military, you must be within one (1) year of completing your service before submitting your application.
Application Steps and Timeline
Step 0: Requirements & Field Office Location
Before applying to the Special Agent position, please ensure you meet all eligibility and physical requirements. Candidates must report to a field office for interviews and testing several times throughout the application process; they are responsible for their own travel to and from the field office. Applicants who reside overseas must be available for travel to the U.S. for testing and processing at an FBI field office at their own expense, and may choose a field office that is most convenient for them.
Step 1: Online Application
In the online application, candidates will be required to answer a variety of eligibility and suitability questions, as well as submit their scores to a self-Physical Fitness Test (PFT). All of the requirements for the self-PFT are the same as the official PFT requirements outlined in the Physical Requirements tab above. A PFT guide and self-PFT worksheet are available in the Documents and Information tab below. Candidates are encouraged to come back to the online application even after a failure of the self-PFT, until they are able to pass and submit the application.
Please Note: Scores MUST be submitted within 30 days of starting the application. In addition, you MUST actually perform the self-PFT according to protocol and provide accurate results. DO NOT estimate. Possible lack of candor will preclude you from further consideration.
Once applicants have passed the eligibility and suitability questions and self-PFT, they should be prepared to provide information about specialized skills and professional experiences.
The FBI will evaluate your answers to the Open Ended Questions in your application against the FBI’s core competencies listed below. Please ensure that they can be fully identified in your application. Examples must be work-related, thoroughly detailed and illustrative considering the definitions of the FBI Core Competencies.
- Organizing and Planning
- Problem Solving/Judgment
Step 2: Phase I
Candidates who meet initial pre-screening and eligibility requirements will be invited to take the Phase I Test.
The Phase I test is a three hour computerized exam consisting of five different assessments: Logic-Based Reasoning, Figural Reasoning, Personality Assessment, Preferences and Interests, and Situational Judgement.
Please Note: Applicants will only be offered two opportunities to pass. Additionally, applicants are limited to 2 invitations before being permanently discontinued without a valid reason. Applicants must wait a minimum of 90 days from the expiration date before a new invitation will be issued.
More information on Phase I is available in the Test Preparation tab below.
Step 3: Meet and Greet
Upon passage of Phase I testing, applicants will be invited to a Meet and Greet. Applicants visit their local field office to receive more information about the Special Agent Selection System and are evaluated by the field office’s recruitment team.
Step 4: Headquarters Review Process
Upon completion of the Meet and Greet, applicants will be reviewed by an internal FBI hiring board and rated on their individual competitiveness.
Step 5: Phase II
Based on their competitiveness, selected candidates will be contacted to complete Phase II, the next step of the SASS. Applicants will only be offered two opportunities to pass.
More information on Phase II is available in the Test Preparation tab below.
Step 6: Physical Fitness Test
Upon passing the Phase II tests, candidates must take an official Physical Fitness Test (PFT) – a rigorous physical examination administered in accordance with strict FBI protocol – within 14 days of passing. Upon successful completion of the PFT, candidates are extended a Conditional Appointment Offer (CAO).
More information on the PFT is available in the Physical Requirements tab above.
Step 7: Background Investigation
After receiving and accepting a CAO, candidates will undergo a thorough FBI background investigation.
All applicants must be eligible to hold an FBI Top Secret security clearance in order to become a Special Agent. This investigation reviews an applicant’s actions, relationships, and experiences beginning with the present and working back 10 years or to their 18th birthday.
The background investigation for Special Agents includes a Personnel Security Interview (PSI), polygraph exam, drug test, fingerprinting, and medical exam.
Step 8: Basic Field Training Course (BFTC)
Once candidates have successfully completed the background investigation and passed a PFT within 60 days of their scheduled start date, they will receive orders to report to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia to begin training as New Agent Trainees (NATs). This Basic Field Training Course (BFTC) lasts 21 weeks, and candidates are typically notified two to four weeks in advance of their class date. NATs must successfully complete all portions of the BFTC in order to be hired as Special Agents.
See more information on the FBI Academy here.
Step 9: Graduation
Upon successful graduation from the BFTC, Special Agents report to their assigned field office on their specified date. During the first two years on duty, Special Agents spend 18 months in a probationary period in which they gain hands-on experience working in different specialties within the FBI’s jurisdiction.
More information on the Special Agent position is available in the FAQs tab below.
The FBI does not endorse any test preparation materials beyond what can be found on FBIJobs.gov.
Phase I testing takes approximately three hours to complete. Candidates will take five different tests which measure the critical thinking and reasoning skills required to perform the Special Agent job, as well as background experiences that indicate whether or not the Special Agent work environment would be a good fit.
Logic Based Reasoning
The Logic-Based Reasoning questions consist of a short paragraph followed by a multiple choice question which requires interpretation of the information in the paragraph. Based on the information provided, you must choose the correct answer from five multiple choice options. This section contains 11 questions.
Preparation Tips: Thoroughly read through the descriptions, statements, and questions. Read carefully and attentively. Use the information from the description ONLY; do not introduce outside information to make the final selection. Pay attention to words such as MUST or ONLY and answer accordingly.
The Figural Reasoning questions contain images that include a sequence of shapes and patterns. The goal is to determine the next picture that logically fits within the pattern. Patterns may follow the three rows or columns, and may involve any aspect of the figures, including shape, color, number of shapes or sides, or other characteristics. This section contains 9 questions.
Preparation Tips: Comprehensively review the sequenced shapes and patterns. Take a moment to determine the arrangement. Recheck your selection before moving on to the next sequence.
The Personality Assessment consists of five pairs of statements on each screen. Use the slider to indicate the degree to which you agree with one of the two statements. Please note that this test is adaptive, so your responses on the previous questions will be used to determine the next set of questions you are presented with. This section contains 100 statements.
Preparation Tips: Read each statement completely and carefully. At times, it may be hard to choose because you agree or disagree with both statements. This is a normal part of the assessment. This section does not contain any explanatory answers, as the answers are based on your personal characteristics.
Preferences and Interests
The Preferences and Interests questions consist of a statement and a rating scale with five response options ranging from “Strongly Agree” to “Strongly Disagree.” Choose the response option that most closely indicates your level of agreement with the statement. This section contains 37 questions.
Preparation Tips: Do not dwell on the statements. Answer with the response option that reflects your agreement with the statement. Try not to “read into” the statement. Remember to choose the option that most accurately describes you.
The Situational Judgement questions begin with various scenarios, followed by five response options. The scenarios describe situations and problems that you are likely to encounter in a typical work environment. Each response option will propose a different way of responding to the scenario. This section contains 19 questions.
Preparation Tips: Do not dwell on the statements or scenarios. Answer with the statement that closely reflects how it applies to you. Try not to “read into” the statement. Remember to choose the option that you believe is best for you.
Phase II testing takes approximately 2.5 hours to complete. The test is split into two parts: an oral interview and a written exam.
The oral interview is one-hour long and is administered by a panel of three Special Agents.
The panel uses standardized scoring criteria to measure the Special Agent Core Competencies as well as your honesty and integrity.
- Be yourself
- The evaluators will be taking notes during the interview to assist them in documenting the results. Do not let this distract you.
- Provide detailed information when answering the interview questions. Do not be modest in your responses. To provide the best examples of your skills and abilities, draw from all of your life's experiences (not just the most recent ones).
- Remember that the interview panel knows no information about you beyond your name.
- Keep your answers concise and specific—answers that are too lengthy will detract from your ability to complete the interview within the required timeframe.
- Do not make assumptions about what the evaluators are seeking. The interview instructions are straightforward. There are no "trick" questions.
- Study your resume and be able to speak about how your experiences match with the Special Agent Core Competencies
The written portion of the Phase II test is a 90 minute exam meant to test applicants’ ability to analyze data and prepare a comprehensive report. At the start of the exercise, applicants will be given a set of background materials to use for this exercise.
There is no preparation manual available for the Writing Exercise.
- Read instructions carefully and make sure you understand what the exercise requires
- Be detailed and thorough in your report
- Use only the facts provided—do not make up additional facts
- Follow grammatical rules and spell words correctly
- Write legibly—responses cannot be evaluated if they cannot be read
Documents and Information
Take a moment to review all of the items below. Your application will not be processed until you have provided all of the required documentation.
For all Special Agent applicants:
- Unofficial college transcript(s)
For applicants with current or prior federal work experience:
- SF-50 - Notification of Personnel Action
For current or former members of the armed forces (one of the following):
- DD-214, Member 4 or Service 2 copy
- Statement of Service (required if not yet separated from the military)
- DD-214, Member 4 copy or Service 2 copy
For disabled veterans:
- DD-214, Member 4 copy or Service 2 copy
- VA letter, dated within one year
- SF-15 (optional)
Please Note: When scanning and uploading your document(s), make sure that all pages are readable and facing upright in the same direction. DO NOT upload any picture files (JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP).
Candidates should refer to this packet for more detailed information on the Special Agent Selection System.
Candidates should refer to this guide for information, including sample test questions, to prepare for the Phase I test.
Candidates may use this guide for information, criteria and scoring scales for the Physical Fitness Test (PFT).
Candidates can use this for reference during their training. Candidates who applied for the Special Agent position before the self-PFT was required in the online application, will fill out this form and return to their Applicant Coordinator when instructed.
Candidates who have successfully passed the Phase II test should complete this form when invited to the PFT upon instruction from their Applicant Coordinator.
Please download and fill out the attached form only when directed by your Applicant Coordinator. This form should not be downloaded unless at the explicit direction of your Applicant Coordinator, and does not need to be included with your application.
Additional information on documents to include with a candidate's application can be found on the How to Apply page.
Other Opportunities for Special Agents
The Elite Tactical Units of the FBI
As a Special Agent, you have an opportunity to join specific, mission-centric units. Intensely trained, specially equipped and always prepared — these are tight-knit teams of Agents who volunteer to respond to complex, critical and urgent challenges. These teams include:
- Hostage Rescue Team (HRT)
- Special Agent Bomb Tech Program (SABT)
- Evidence Response Team (ERT)
- Technically Trained Agent (TTA) Program
- Operational Medic Program
The FBI is always seeking applicants with special qualifications to become Special Agents and, ultimately, to serve on each of these teams. Agents with specialized medical, technical, and scientific skills are able to become part of the Operational Medic, Technically Trained Agent, and Evidence Response Teams.
The Hostage Rescue Team, SABT team, and SWAT teams require Special Agents to meet the requirements of the Tactical Recruitment Program (TRP). The TRP is open to candidates with extensive tactical experience. Those applicants that pass the Phase I test may also have an interview with the HRT personnel to verify tactical qualifications.
TRP candidates must understand that they are applying for the Special Agent position first and must gain several years of FBI investigative experience before receiving a transfer to any of these teams. Candidates must compete for a place on these teams, and may have to participate in specialized training programs to equip them to fulfill these roles.
How do I apply to become a Special Agent?
View the Application Process tab.
What are the preliminary standards for the Special Agent position?
Applicants to the Special Agent position must meet all requirements outlined on our Eligibility page, as well as those outlined in the Eligibility tab on this page.
Are waivers available for applicants 37 and older?
Per Public Law 93-350, enacted July 12, 1974, the Attorney General and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) set the date immediately preceding one's 37th birthday as the last date for original entry on duty as a law enforcement officer in the Department of Justice.
Waivers are available for preference-eligible veterans who have been discharged or released from active duty from the Armed Forces under honorable conditions (honorable or general discharge). The Member 4 copy of the DD-214, and in the case of service-connected disabilities, a copy of the SF-15 “Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference”, as well as other applicable documentation to confirm veteran’s preference eligibility, must be submitted at the time of application.
Military retirees at the rank of Major, Lieutenant Commander, or higher, are not eligible for preference in appointment unless they are disabled veterans. This does not apply to Reservists who will not begin drawing military retired pay until age 60.
Age waivers for preference-eligible veterans will be requested only after they successfully complete all phases of the SASS and have been favorably adjudicated/cleared for hire. Preference-eligible applicants must still pass all other components of the SASS, including the PFT and fitness for-for-duty requirements.
More information can be found on our Veterans page.
Is there a waiver of the Bachelor's degree if an applicant has military service?
No. All Special Agent applicants must possess a minimum of a U.S. accredited bachelor's degree or advanced degree.
Will having uncorrected vision or laser surgery disqualify me from applying for the Special Agent position?
Special Agent applicants need to have at least 20/20 vision in one eye and not worse than 20/40 vision in the other eye. If an individual has a satisfactory history of wearing soft contact lenses for more than one year and is able to meet correction to 20/20 in one eye and no worse than 20/40 in the other eye, safety concerns are considered mitigated and applicant processing may continue.
If an applicant has had laser eye corrective surgery, a six-month waiting period is required prior to beginning New Agents Training. Applicants must also provide evidence of complete healing by an ophthalmological clinical evaluation.
The policy for color vision allows continuation of applicant processing if those who fail initial color vision screening are able to successfully complete the Farnsworth D-15 color vision test.
How long does the FBI Special Agent application process take?
The Special Agent application process generally takes at least one year and often longer, depending upon annual federal funding levels and hiring goals.
The Special Agent Selection System (Phase I and Phase II Testing) is based on an applicant's individual competitiveness.
In addition to the Phase I and II testing process, the physical fitness test, background investigation and medical evaluation will affect the length of the application process. Each of these items can take a considerable amount of time to complete if an applicant has lived in several areas, has extensive foreign travel or has held several jobs.
What kind of training do FBI Special Agents receive?
All Special Agents begin the first 21 weeks of their career at the FBI Academy in Quantico, VA, where they participate in intensive training. During their time at the FBI Academy, trainees live on campus, participate in a variety of training activities and study a wide variety of academic subjects. The FBI Academy curriculum also includes intensive training in physical fitness, defensive tactics, practical application exercises and the use of firearms.
Over the course of an Agent's career, the FBI provides additional training opportunities to keep him/her updated on the latest developments in the respective specialty fields.
For more information on the FBI Academy, click here.
Do I need to have a law enforcement or military background to apply to become an FBI Special Agent? Are certain degrees more desired by the FBI?
No. Because of the breadth and scope of the FBI's mission, the FBI seeks candidates with a wide variety of backgrounds, not just law enforcement or military experience. The FBI seeks Special Agents with degrees/expertise in physical sciences, computer science, engineering, architecture, law, accounting and other disciplines that require logical analysis and critical thinking. We are also actively seeking Special Agents who are fluent in critical foreign languages, as well as those with experience in intelligence and counterterrorism work. Study a field you enjoy, and after that obtain experiences that will demonstrate your ability to master the Special Agent core competencies, specifically:
- Organizing and Planning
- Problem Solving/Judgment
Do I have to know how to shoot a gun to apply to be an FBI Special Agent?
No, it is not necessary to have prior experience with firearms. All Special Agent trainees receive extensive training in the use and maintenance of firearms and related equipment. In many cases, the best Agent trainees are those with no prior firearms experience (since they do not have any ingrained habits).
What are the physical fitness requirements to become an FBI Special Agent?
Serving as an FBI Special Agent is a demanding job. A Special Agent is often placed in situations that test a person's physical capabilities. Therefore, all applicants for the Special Agent position must be in excellent physical condition with no disabilities that could interfere with firearm use, raids or defensive tactics. Learn more by viewing the Physical Requirements section.
Are there different physical fitness requirements for women and men?
Although female applicants/trainees take exactly the same Physical Fitness Test as their male counterparts, the scoring scale for each event is slightly different in order to account for physiological differences. Learn more by viewing the Physical Requirements.
How are Special Agents assigned to offices, and how often are Special Agents rotated in their assignments?
Newly appointed Special Agents are assigned to one of the FBI's 56 field offices or resident agencies based on the Bureau's current staffing and/or critical specialty needs. New Special Agents are given an opportunity to rank their desired locations. While consideration is given to these preferences, first office assignment is based upon the staffing needs of the FBI. All Special Agents are subject to transfer at any time to meet the organizational and program needs of the FBI. Special Agents accept the possibility of transfer as a condition of their employment.
What is a typical day like for a Special Agent of the FBI?
There is no such thing as a typical day for a Special Agent. One day you could be executing a search warrant and making an arrest, while the next you could be testifying in court. Your morning could entail catching up on paperwork in the office, while the afternoon could bring a meeting with a high-level source. No two days are ever the same for an FBI Special Agent.
How does the background investigation process work?
Due to the sensitive nature of the FBI's missions, all FBI positions require a Top Secret (TS) Security Clearance. Before employees can start work with the FBI, they must undergo an intensive background investigation that includes a polygraph, a drug test, credit and records checks and extensive interviews with former and current colleagues, neighbors, friends, professors, etc., covering the last 10 years or from their 18th birthday.
Are there any automatic disqualifiers?
Yes. Learn more here: FBI Automatic Disqualifiers.
How much are FBI Special Agents paid?
All new FBI Special Agents will earn salaries at the GL-10 [Special Base Rate for LEOs] pay grade. Applicants with no prior government service will earn a salary at the GL-10, step 1 pay level. Applicants with prior government service (including FBI professional staff) may be eligible to receive higher steps that are commensurate with their highest previous pay, but they will not enter at higher grades.
During the Basic Field Training Course (BFTC), New Agent Trainees (NATs) will earn GL-10 salaries, plus locality pay for the Washington, D.C. area, plus availability pay (AVP), which is 25 percent of their basic pay (base plus locality). Upon graduation from BFTC and assignment to their first field offices, new SAs will be paid at the GL-10 pay level, plus the locality pay that applies to their first offices of assignment, plus AVP. OPM’s website contains current salary tables to allow employees to determine the locality pay rates for various areas of the country. Part-time Special Agents do not receive availability pay.
As an FBI employee, a Special Agent also receives a variety of benefits, including group health and life insurance programs, vacation and sick pay and a full retirement plan.
How will having a family affect my career as an FBI Special Agent?
The FBI has several programs designed to help employees meet both their family and career goals. In addition to our normal annual and sick leave benefits, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act permits employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave without pay for medical exigencies, including the birth or adoption of a child.
The FBI also offers a part-time program for Special Agents (agents must have completed the probationary period). This program allows an agent to work between 16 and 32 hours a week, providing extra flexibility to parents. In most instances, the part-time agent's revised work assignment will be determined in such a manner that appropriate consideration is given by the Division Head to the agent's level of investigative experience, specialized assignments, GS grade, other pertinent skills and the needs of the division.
What are the opportunities for promotions and pay increases?
Special Agents enter as GL-10 employees on the law enforcement government pay scale and can advance to the GS-13 grade level in a field, non-supervisory role. Special Agents can thereafter qualify for promotion to supervisory, management and executive positions to grades GS-14 and GS-15, as well as to the FBI Senior Executive Service.
I want to be an FBI “Profiler.” Where do I begin the application process?
The FBI does not have a job called “Profiler.” Supervisory Special Agents assigned to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) at Quantico, VA, perform the tasks commonly associated with “profiling.” Despite popular depictions, these FBI Special Agents do not get “vibes” or experience “psychic flashes” while walking around fresh crime scenes. In reality, it is an exciting world of investigation and research — a world of inductive and deductive reasoning, crime-solving experience, and knowledge of criminal behavior, facts, and statistical probabilities.