How to Become an FBI Agent
The Federal Bureau of Investigations investigates federal crimes
occurring within the US. The competition is intense for the most
prestigious law enforcement agency in the country.Working for the Federal
Bureau of Investigation is not only a prestigious position but noble. The
FBI is one of the six agencies represented by the Justice Department and
enforces federal laws. Keep reading for steps to apply and be a federal
1J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, DC. Headquarters of the FBI.Make
sure you meet the minimum requirements for application.<You must be under
37 years of age when you're hired but at least 23 years of age.
Have a driver's license in a US state.
Have a minimum of a Bachelors degree from an accredited four year
Be physically able to complete the training and execute the duties. This
includes the ability to fight, complete fire arms training, and other
duties as required. You should consider yourself physically fit.
You should be able to transition into one of the following areas of
expertise:Law (Must also possess a Juris Doctor)
Language (Must be proficient in a language and able to pass the FBI
Accounting (Must major in Accounting and be able to pass the CPA exam or
Diversified duties (require an advanced degree with work experience or a
minimum of 3 years of work experience)
A three year commitment is required when you accept employment.
2There are many disqualifying factors. If you've smoked pot within the
last three years you shouldn't waste your time. Any other illegal drug
taken at any time will also disqualify you. They will find out.Make sure
you don't have any disqualifying factors.Felony conviction
Currently in default of your student loan
You can't have a history of illegal drug use (Marijuana use longer than
three years ago may be reluctantly ignored if you didn't use it more than
15 times, are otherwise qualified and you didn't use any other illegal
drugs, ever, in your lifetime. This includes steroid usage. If you ever
used drugs in a position of law enforcement or public trust is also a
You have topass a drug test
You never registered for selective service
3Complete an Application Checklist. This contains basic information and
background information.Provide addresses and dates of residence for all
homes from birth until present, this includes college, military, parents'
homes, frat houses and everything including the temporary housing you
lived in with your parents when you were a year old.
Provide a complete work history, any volunteer work, any law enforcement
experience or military, awards and academic achievement.
Fill out the application and send it in to your local FBI office or the
4Take the first qualification test. This is also known as Phase I
testing.This isn't a test you can study for, more of a personality quiz
than anything else.
5If they like your test results, you may be asked to fill out their
'real' job application. This is the one that is long and detailed. Goes
into a lot of depth about you and your immediate family. They do an
extensive background investigation.
6After this, they rate you based on test results and application
evaluation. Basically, they throw you into one of three groups:you look
good on paper, time to actually meet you in person
They like you, but there are better qualified people in front of you
They don't really want you
7Only the best in law enforcement stand a chance for posting. Here you
see J. Edgar Hoover, former director, with President John F. Kennedy and
Robert Kennedy.Be invited to fill out an application for continued
consideration. This will include details about family history and more
details for an extensive background check. Don't be shocked if they call
your kindergarten teacher or the person you dated in Junior High or the
parents of the person you dated in Junior High.
8Get invited to complete Phase II of testing.This includes an interview
and more written tests.
9Pass the Phase II testing and you will be eligible for the Final
Screening Process. This process includes:Polygraph
Extensive background check
Commitment to be available to begin work in two-weeks.
Anyone you've met who isn't a US citizen or associations with non-US
citizen, any foreign travel, etc.
10Prepare yourself to be rejected at any time. This is usually done by
11Complete the application and testing process. If all goes well to this
point, you'll be shipped off to Quantico, VA for field agent training.
Agent training last approximately sixteen weeks. Failure at anytime will
result in rejection.Try to leave your old job under good terms.
Acceptance is no guarantee you will successfully complete training and
testing at the FBI Academy.
12Keep quiet. Although it is tempting you shouldn't advertise your
achievement to everyone. Modesty is best.
13Prepare to move to another city. To eliminate any chance of favoring
friends, family, etc. they will almost always move you to another
city.The city will probably be an area not desired by tenured agents and
where you can gain experience.
Don't be shocked if you are required to report to Fargo, North Dakota for
a period of time following the academy. Prepare your loved ones for this
possibility. Desirable postings in ideal cities require experience,
training, a special or desired talent or time served.
14Remember to be completely honest at all times. They will open every
closet to inspect every skeleton before hiring you. Failure to disclose
information will result in immediate rejection from hiring pool or
immediate termination if already hired.
15Understand they keep track and research other agencies where you have
applied. Excessive applications with certain agencies may send up red
16Visit the FBI website for a more detailed listing of the process and
the specifics of each phase of application and hiring. (See link in
Citations and Sources.)<
Try to get an internship with the FBI - it's a great way to get your foot
in the door.
Be proficient in using various kinds of firearms.
Don't use drugs.
Fluency in 1 or more foreign languages is also a bonus
Consider taking courses in foreign languages while you are in the
application process. It sometimes takes well over a year to get an
interview. In that time you can increase your chances by expanding your
Once out of college, apply to positions in law enforcement. Work to get
in departments working against drug use, white collar crime, etc.
Most agents have a background in criminal justice, law, or accounting
Prior military service is a bonus... unless you've been discharged other
The agency still largely relies on the polygraph and has come under
criticism for dismissing possible applicants for inconclusive polygraph
results. Almost any questionable reading will land your application in
the Do-Not-Hire pile.
Rejection from the FBI will likely diminish your chances with employment
at other federal offices and duties. They keep track and if one rejects
you the others will also likely reject you based on the FBI's data.
Don't rack up debt during the application process.
For this reason, you may want to go to work as a criminal investigator at
another federal law enforcement agency first, then pursue a career with
Be prepared to relocate. Failure to agree will likely result in
withdrawal of your appointment.
The application and hiring process can last from 90 days to over two
years. Don't quit your day job.
The application is extremely long and time consuming to complete. Be
prepared to call your parents to verify addresses when you were a child.
The application will also require plenty of paper to print. Be ready,
have plenty of ink, paper and patience.
Clean up as many negative marks from your credit report as possible.
Anyone with financial problems may be a candidate for accepting bribes
and your hiring questionable. Since the process takes so long you can
eliminate small errors early on and have plenty of time to rebuild.
For the last several years they've received 50,000 applicants and
accepted less than 1,000
Things You'll Need
College degree: bachelors degree in desirable subjects will give you an
advantage. Bachelors degree is a requirement.
Proof of 2-3 years work experience in your field at a minimum.
Clean criminal history. No convictions. Even minor infractions will be
No history of illegal drug use. That time you did X at a party when you
were 17 will hurt your chances. They'll talk to almost everyone you've
Clean history of federal student loans
must be registered with selective service(if required by law)
Physical fitness and ability to complete testing.
Just being healthy won't suffice, you must meet minimum strength
requirements:Maximum number of sit-ups in one minute
Timed 300-meter sprint
Maximum number of push-ups (untimed)
Timed 1.5 mile run
Lifting a percentage of your body weight (differs for males versus
have to be a citizen of the US.
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Sources and Citations