FBI Agent Requirements
FBI agent requirements are often misunderstood or mischaracterized in the media, which has lead to confusion for those who are seeking employment in this highly sought after career. Many are unaware that the FBI isn’t simply looking for high caliber law enforcement officers, but also a whole host of individuals with a variety of educational backgrounds and specialties. While getting a job with the FBI is notoriously competitive, there are many ways to increase the likelihood that you will be selected. For example, pursuing an educational program that includes information security with an emphasis in cypbercrime and hacker prevention. Another option is to combine a homeland security degree with previous experience in criminal psychology or counterterrorism. Get to know the degree requirements and qualifications so that you can put together an educational path that will complement your current knowledge, skills, and experience and ultimately make you a viable candidate for employment within the FBI.
FBI Agent Degree Requirements
The FBI requires that you have at least a Bachelor’s degree and the most commonly pursued is a degree in criminal justice, law enforcement, or homeland security. The following are some recommended schools for those seeking a career in the FBI or federal law enforcement:
The FBI Qualifications for becoming a Special Agent are as follows: you must first be an American citizen between the ages of 23 and 37. Proven veterans are sometimes given age waivers but usually Special Agents are done at 37. You will also need at least a Bachelors degree from a university that has been accredited by the US Secretary of Education and have at least three years of working experience prior to applying for a position with the FBI. Lastly, you will need a valid drivers license and must be prepared for the possibility that you will be assigned to work anywhere within the FBI’s area of jurisdiction. Once you have met these basic requirements, you must qualify for one of the five entry programs, which, according to the FBI’s website, are the following:
- Computer Science/Information Technology
- Special Agent
After qualifying for entry in to one of these programs, you will then be hired based on a priority skills assessment by the FBI. Current priority skills that the FBI looks for include:
- Computer Science/Information Technology Expertise
- Engineering Expertise
- Foreign Language(s) Proficiency
- Intelligence Experience
- Law Experience
- Law Enforcement/Investigative Experience
- Military Experience
- Physical Sciences (e.g., physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) Expertise
- Diversified Experience
Keep in mind, these are arranged in descending order from skills that the FBI considers most useful to skills that the FBI considers least useful. Additionally, the FBI is interested in having applicants with expertise in more than one area, so the more areas that you have expertise in, the better your chances of surviving the application process.
Lastly, you will only be hired if you meet the FBI’s physical requirements and you must pass an FBI background investigation. If you pass the background check, meet the physical requirements, and have at least two of the priority skills then you will most likely be admitted to the Special Agent program.
FBI Degree Options
The following degrees are some of the most common for those wishing to become an FBI agent.