FBI Agent

As of 2008, 30,576 people were employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Of these employees, 12,705 were classified as special agents and 17,871 worked as support specialists, which includes translators, intelligence analysts, information technology specialists, and other specialists. During this same time period, 13,483 of these employees were women, 1,110 had been diagnosed with disabilities, and 7,855 were classified as minorities.

The FBI is a law enforcement agency that conducts investigations into federal law violations. Agents monitor authorized wiretaps, conduct undercover operations, monitor stolen goods transported across state lines, analyze balance sheets and other financial records, and investigate business fraud and suspected foreign espionage. Additionally, the FBI investigates suspected drug trafficking, organized crime and terrorist organizations, bank robbery, kidnapping, extortion, civil rights violations, copyright breaches, bribery, and various types of fraud. The FBI maintains these investigative programs:

  • Counterintelligence
  • Counterterrorism
  • Public Corruption
  • Cyber Crime
  • Organized Crime
  • Civil Rights
  • White-Collar Crime
  • Violent Gangs
  • Fugitives
  • Violent Crime
  • Art Crime
  • Crimes Against Children
  • Background Investigations
  • Indian Country
  • Environmental Crime

To become a FBI agent, you must have a bachelor's degree and at least 3 years of applicable work experience. Those interested in FBI law enforcement need to have some legal, military, or law enforcement experience, and individuals interested in financial fraud need to have some finance, banking, or accounting experience.

Aspiring agents are required to pass physical, medical, verbal, and written examinations before being hired as agents. Additionally, a comprehensive psychological test and background check is completed before being hired. To be hired as an agent, you must be between 23 to 36 years of age when applying.

The FBI is primarily responsible for law enforcement. Every FBI agent is required to undergo a comprehensive background and top-secret security clearance check during the application process. Hiring decisions are not made by the FBI until all information collected from background checks is evaluated. After a new agent is hired, he or she is required to remain eligible for top secret security clearances by successfully completing background exams every five years, in addition to passing random and periodic drug tests.

FBI agents are given foreign and domestic assignments. FBI agents can work anywhere around the globe. In addition to its District of Columbia headquarters, the FBI staffs 56 field offices in urban areas nationwide and more than 400 resident agencies in rural regions. The FBI staffs over 60 international offices known as Legal Attaches at American embassies worldwide.

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Training and Education
The FBI recruits individuals with bachelor's or graduate degrees in criminal justice, finance, accounting, foreign languages, engineering, or science. It only hires candidates with any of the following skills:

  • 2 or more years of finance or accounting experience or experience working as a certified public accountant (CPA)
  • Information technology (IT) or computer science experience
  • Engineering experience
  • Foreign language fluency in any of these languages: Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, Pashtu, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, or Vietnamese
  • Law enforcement, legal (attorneys), or investigative experience
  • Military experience
  • Biology, physics, or chemistry work experience

FBI agents are required to hold a bachelor's or graduate degree and have between 2-3 years of applicable work experience. FBI agents often hold law degrees or other professional licenses. Accepted applicants complete 17 weeks of training in Quantico, VA at the FBI academy.

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