Criminal Justice Careers: Federal Agent

If you have ever considered a career as a federal agent, or at least had some interest in it, a criminal justice education will definitely get you in the door. A federal agent works nationwide and even internationally to enforce federal laws. Additionally, a federal agent is usually employed at one federal agency, although inter-agency affiliation may be common for some agents. Most known federal agencies, like the FBI, ATF, DEA, CIA, NSA, and Secret Service, are exploding with new career potential, and there are many more which you may not know of.

Certain federal positions require that the agent works by him or herself, while others require work in a group environment. Also, not all federal agencies are created equal. For example, the Federal Bureau of investigations utilizes investigative techniques, while an agency like DEA is very well known for its surveillance techniques. But, no matter where you would like to work, the pay and benefits are very good.

Majority of federal agencies that are employing agents require at least a bachelor level education. This education doesn’t necessarily have to be in the criminal justice field, but should adhere with their preferred educational requirements. A criminal justice degree can definitely help you in obtaining a federal agent position, but a degree in business, accounting, computer information systems, and foreign languages can also propel you towards federal employment.

A graduate level degree is highly desirable, and if you have an opportunity to obtain one, do so. Many agents with a graduate level education have a better chance of promotion. This is common sense, as is the pay increase for those with a masters or doctorate degree. Moreover, an educated federal agent has a better chance of joining specialized teams, like: hostage rescue teams (HRT), SWAT teams, counter-terrorism teams, and special task forces.

Which federal agency would you like to join as an agent? Why? — let us know in the comments section.

Article written by Radek Gadek

Radek holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University. He is currently doing consulting work and runs this blog to provide relevant information on criminal justice degrees, colleges and related careers.

109 comments… add one
  • Gabriela Ojeda

    Hi, my name is Gabriela Ojeda and i am 17 years of age and about to turn 18.
    i am a senior in Horizonte (Salt Lake City, Utah) and i am planing on studing criminal justice and later on become an FBI Special Agent.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Hi Gabriela,

      I wish you all the best in your endeavors. Let me know if you need anything.


  • Martin Duffy

    Hi, I’m Marty. I’m finishing a Master’s program in Criminal Justice, and thinking about maybe going on to get a doctorate in it since it would only take 2-3 more years and I figure it might be better to get it when I’m still in my early/mid 20s. I was an intern at the NYS Attorney General and really loved the experience working there, so I would like to get involved with investigation or analysis of some sort in my state or the Federal government for sure. Any recommendations on coursework that would be helpful? I’m trying to take a few courses in GIS, computer crime, and statistics so that I’ll have a bit of IT background, I’m taking a couple classes in comparative criminology and law enforcement intelligence/crime analysis right now and they’re really exciting!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Marty, you’re on the right track. Based on our prior communication (via email) I would highly recommend Criminal Justice courses from the operational and administrative standpoint. It seems you have it figured out anyway. Kudos!

  • Jesseca

    Hi i’m Jesseca, i’m a senior at Cameron High and i am hoping to become an agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service or NCIS. I am planning on attending NSU majoring in Criminal Justice. Any information would help!!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I am glad to hear that NCIS is on your mind. It’s a great investigative organization. Which NSU are you going to – there are many schools with the NSU letters?

    • Ashley

      My name is Ashley and I was also looking into becoming a NCIS agent, but i’m not sure what I should take so i could get the job. I’m only in high school still but I figured I should know what I should do after I’m finished. If you could recommend a good college that would help a lot too. Thanks

  • Jesseca

    Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Northeastern State University is a great option if you want to experience a bit of the college life. A great thing is that it is regionally accredited and relatively cheap to attend. The Bachelor’s level Criminal Justice program offers three concentrations:

      – Criminal Justice
      – Homeland Security
      – Paralegal Studies

      NSU is a Tier 4 public university (according to U.S. News), which is not the best ranking in academics, but overall, it’s a good choice, especially if you want to save money and get a quality education.

      I recommend that besides Northeastern State University you consider other schools, or at the very least, that you apply to other schools just in case – not everyone gets in, even though your chances may be pretty decent. The Fall 2008 acceptance rate was 70.2%.

  • Bryan Kuttner

    My name is Bryan and I am a 23 year old Infantry soldier in the US Army. I am considering becoming a special agent in one of the agencies but I’m not sure which one. Will I need a criminal justice degree in order to apply, or is my time in the service(3 yrs.) enough?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Bryan, many popular federal agent careers require some or a Bachelor level education. Check out the “CAREERS” section on the top navigation and pick the agent positions you would be interested in. Educational requirements are included there. Good luck and thank you for your patriotic service.

  • Sa

    im currently transitioning out of the Army. ive dreamt of being a US Marshal for a few years now.

  • Amber

    Hi, my name is Amber and I am 17, I will be a senior in high school next year and I am considering becoming a FBI Agent. It has been a life long dream of mine to work somewhere in the criminal justice field. I was wondering if there were any colleges you would recommend for the study of Criminal Justice. Also, I really would love to know what kind of things would help me to get a better chance at being hired as a FBI Agent, more specifically, Special Agent.

    • Radek M. Gadek


      The FBIs site has lots of great information on the Special Agent careers they offer, along with a well organized FAQ section. So besides here, that’s a great place to go to for info. You can also go to the FBI Special Agent Career description to get more info.

      A list of colleges I recommend for the study of Criminal Justice / Criminology, not in any particular order, include:

      Penn State University
      University of Cincinnati
      Michigan State University
      Washington State University
      Northeastern University (Mass.)
      John Jay College of Criminal Justice
      SUNY in Albany, NY
      University of Maryland – College Park Campus
      University of California – Irvine Campus

      Higher grades, extra curricular activities, great moral fiber, knowing one or more desirable languages (besides English), and being well aware of current events (terrorism, economy, foreign relations, etc.) can help. However, it’s not a guarantee that you’ll be accepted. There’s really no guarantees or probabilities of a chance, all there is is what you provide at the moment, and I hope it’s going to be more than average (hope this makes sense).

  • Peter Gonpolo

    My name is Peter and I currently enrolled to major in criminal justice. What could be a good minor to go with my criminal justice degree. And what does the CIA require to work for them. And what is the difference between the CIA and FBI.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Hey Peter,

      There are umpteen minors you can take. Political Science and Psychology can be two of them, amongst many others like other languages, sociology, law, history, and the list goes on. It all depends on your aspirations and the agency you would like to get into.

      As for the CIA / FBI requirements and differences, please see the careers section in the top navigation menu.

  • Megan

    Hi, my name’s Megan, and I’ve wanted to be a Homicide Detective since 6th grade. Now that I’m a Junior in High School my family and friends tell me it’s a good idea to start figuring college out now. I want to be in the FBI or something, but I don’t know which college would be best. I want to go to a University, any advice on which one? I live in Oregon, five minutes from Washington. But I don’t want a University here, I want to go towards the east coast, or even maybe California, can you help me out? I want a degree in Criminal Justice, by the way.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Where you’re at now:Oregon has Portland State University – I heard the criminal justice degree program is very good there.
      Washington has Washington State University – one of the top criminal justice programs in the nation.

      California – University of California (Irvine) – one of the best in the nation

      East Coast – Either Massachusetts, New York, or Pennsylvania – all these are truly top notch for criminal justice degrees
      Mass – Northeastern University
      New York – John Jay College of Criminal Justice, State University of New York — SUNY — (Albany)
      Pennsylvania – University of Pennsylvania — it’s an Ivy League school — and Pennsylvania State University (University Park)

      Hope this helps. Good luck.

  • Abby

    Hi, I’m Abby, I’m a senior government major and seriously considering the federal agencies as well as military service (through the officers training programs). I’m wondering what my best course of action should be to get into one of the agencies (Marshals, FBI, CIA, NCIS, etc)- should I apply for internships? right into a position (though I don’t think I have the experience)? Spend a few years in the military and get practical skills? Pursue a masters in a specific area? What do you recommend? I am not entirely sure what type of career/specialty I would want to do, so I am looking for a way to see many options.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I recommend one or all of the above.

      Abby, there are different requirements each government agency has, so a book chapter would be more suiting to answer your questions. But in short, any advantage over the “other” applicants is KING. Internship – Great! Foreign language – Wonderful! Military Service – Yes! Advanced education – Awesome!

      Food for thought – depending on your status, deployment requirements, and station you may have the opportunity to complete advanced education while in military (virtually for free) – distance education is recommended. But please don’t think that military experience will make or break your application to the agencies you listed.

      Yes, you can apply right into a position at most Federal agencies (FBI, CIA, etc.) granted you have a Bachelor’s degree – of course, I recommend one or a few of the advantages you’ve mentioned + a foreign language. FYI when they say that “professional experience” is considered, they more often than not mean that ANY professional experience is considered. Your ability to hold a job and making it a career comes into question. Remember, once they hire you on, the govt. would have spent enormous monetary and physical resources to get you trained.

  • Keon Scott

    My name is Keon and I live in Louisville,KY and I will be a senior in high school when it starts. I’ve always wanted to work in law enforcement and I was leaning more towards the US Marshals but now I’m kinda second guessing and looking more at the FBI. I’m not sure which will be best. I want to major in Police Studies or Criminal Justice, but not sure which one.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      For your career choices you must make that decision when the time comes. But based on what careers you’re interested in – out of the two degrees – I would pick Criminal Justice. Besides Police Studies and Criminal Justice, you might also consider Criminology and Political Science (with emphasis on Terrorism or Political Relations).

      • Keon Scott

        Since I am going to Spalding University here in Louisville, KY I am taking up Social Work and I was wondering what law enforcement jobs could I get with a social work degree or would I only be able 2 work in corrections?

        • Radek M. Gadek

          You should be fine. Many agencies require high school diploma or an equivalent of an Associate’s degree in order to start work. Also, in many states police officers must meet education requirements within a few/several years from hire date. So, theoretically, you can come in with a high school degree and work while going to college in order to obtain an Associate’s degree OR come in with an Associate’s degree (or equivalent) and complete a Bachelor’s while on the job. Make sure the school you go to is properly accredited. Regional accreditation of a school is KING, but Nationally accredited schools qualify, too. Good luck

  • Rodney

    Hi All, Just wanted to post that the State Department is currently accepting applications for Diplomatic Security Special Agents. I think the cut off date is 8/26/2010. If you love to travel and think living overseas would be fun, this might be the agency for you. Check it out of the State Departments website or at USAjobs. I don’t work for them yet but am on their list to get hired. Wish me luck. Hope this info helps some people.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Thanks for sharing. Let us know how it will go. Good luck!

  • Wes

    Hi, I’m Wes a senior in high school I’m looking at MSU Mankato and they have two options for criminal justice (law enforcement and corrections). I would like to be a federal agent so which one should I choose?


    • Radek M. Gadek

      What type of Federal Agent would you be interested in? FBI, DEA, ATF, US Marshal Service, Secret Service, etc.?

  • LeRoy

    What are you suggestions for best colleges in the South and Southwest region for criminal justice? I am looking into working with FBI or US marshals office.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      University of California at Irvine, Arizona State University, and Sam Houston State University in Texas.

  • Kevin Kinsella

    Hi my name is Kevin, I’m currently attending Ocean County College in New Jersey and my major now is business administration. I’m interested in becoming a special agent for the NCIS, I greatly respect the men and women who fight for our country and I’m interested in protecting them and stopping terrorism. I’m 22 and plan to transfer to a 4 year school I’m still in my first semester I started a bit late, I was just looking for some advice maybe a change in my major and some suggested colleges, and just basic advice on what to do to improve my chances of working for NCIS. I’ve looked at their website and I have an understanding of what the job entails, just wanna hear from somebody, rather than just reading from the website.

    Thank You

  • Kaitlyn

    Hey, I’m a sophmore in high school this year and I know I want to pursue a criminal justice major in college and would like to be some kind of agent for something like FBI or NCIS, so I’ve researched a few colleges and I was thinking about SUNY Cortland, but someone who is in the secret service in Washington DC told me that usually it is a slim chance to get a job opportunity with just a major in criminal justice. Is that true? And what classes do you recommend taking in college for a good chance at getting a job in that field?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Each agency has its sweet spot when ti comes to preferred degrees. Some state that they don’t have any preference, while others may not mention anything about a specific degree, but will throw stuff in their preferences like: Accounting background, Legal knowledge, or an experience in Finance. Your job, as a potential candidate, is to go to each agency’s website you have interest in and checking out their requirements. The FBI has a great career section. You can also check out the FBI Special Agent career <– on this very blog.

  • Rachelle

    I want to become a NCIS special agent and i need some help. i want to major in criminal justice but i have also been considering majoring in a language too. If i do this which language ? Which would be more helpful? Also if those are my two majors what should my minor be? I have always known i wanted to do that kind of work and a while ago i narrowed it down to NCIS.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Or, you can major in one and minor in another. Or, as you said, do two majors.

      For language preferences, I would check out the NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) website.

      • Rachelle

        thanks! Can you tell me some good options for minors too?

        • Radek M. Gadek

          Forensic Science and Business (financially related) are two great minors, in my opinion.

          Whatever you do, don’t overload yourself academically. I think it’s better that you master one degree track rather than “just pass” two.

  • Nathan Rodriguez

    Hey, my name is Nathan; I am currently attending CSUDH and have just completed my first semester. I plan to fulfill a Bachelors of Science Degree in Criminal Justice. But I have not deciding on what to become. I know the usual is to become a cop. But I feel I can do better than that. I have high interest on working for ICE, or the DEA. What can anyone suggest? How are the experiences like on both programs??

  • mj

    hi, i’m really interested in a special agent job at NCIS. i just want to know what kind of classes i need to take in high school and college to better my chance of getting accepted.


  • sara

    hi my name is sara, i am currently a hs senior, im 17, and i would like to be a federal agent, i am planning on majoring in criminology, and psychology, do you think that would be what any one of the agencies would be looking for? also if you could help me with the different federal agencies, i only know of about 7, and would like to research more.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      These are good degrees to have, but you don’t have to be constrained by ONLY these. Business, Accounting, Law and Computer Security are in demand, too.

  • sara

    aside from if cj and psych are good enough majors to make it as a fed agent, when out of college, what kind of work exp would they want you to have, any good job, or something pertaining to cj

    • sara

      last thing, i am looking at the following colleges,

      Le Moyne college
      University of Maryland, College park
      suny Albany
      john jay
      which would be the best school for me, to help me?

      • Radek M. Gadek

        I don’t know which of these schools would be BEST FOR YOU, but what I do know is that University of Maryland at College Park, SUNY Albany and CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice are really great schools. I’ve heard of Le Moyne College, but I don’t remember if it had a positive or negative association in my head at the time.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      For the most part, what the federal agencies want is a college grad is professional experience that shows progressive movement –> Clerk to Supervisor to Assistant Manager…

  • Dana

    I’m majoring in Information technology at UCF and trying to decide on a minor. Debating between Criminal Justice and SCAN (Secure computing and networks). Any thoughts on which would help me more with getting into the FBI/CIA or would either work? I want to help with computer crimes and it seems like both would be beneficial.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Either or should be fine with relation to the FBI. The Criminal Justice minor makes you a little bit more diverse, but the SCAN minor makes you more solidifies your major. If I were you, I would pick what makes me happiest.

      Make sure that you do get great grades and meet the FBI Special Agent Qualifications (see more info at

  • Carl Link

    Hello, I am a junior in high school in Annapolis, MD. I am aspiring to become a NCIS Special Agent. I am taking a Forensic Science class at my HS. I saw UMD (College Park) was in your list of Best CJ Schools. Are there any others on the East Coast that have good CJ programs? And if I was to minor in a computer course, which one would you recommend?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I think like half of them, if not more, are on the East Coast. Northeastern, Penn State, and SUNY Albany are great starts.

      As for the computer minor, it all depends what it is that you will want to do as a NCIS Special Agent. Computer Security is a big one, but the NCIS website might have a better idea on what they seek in their candidates.

  • Susan

    I’m trying to get into Computer Forensics, should I have a background on Criminology or Criminal Justice? Thank you

    • Radek M. Gadek

      If that’s absolutely what you would like to do, then a derivative of Computer Science(s) and Forensic Science (or both combined, preferably) is what you want to do. When pursuing a Computer Forensics degree program, you should get a sprinkle of Criminal Justice/Criminology courses, but you probably won’t study Criminal Justice or Criminology exclusively as they are much different in scope.

  • T-WIL

    Greetings, I am finishing up my MBA in Financial Fraud Examination and Corruption in may. My current GPA is 3.95/4.00.I have a BA in Economics and Management with a focus in accounting. I am certified as a Certified Fraud Examiner one of the three certification accepted by the FBI and other agencies and in July starting a program that will give me certificates in Computer Forensics and litigation & Homeland Security. I am 24 years of age with little to no LE experience. Is there any thing i can do more to be more attractive to the agencies?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      There’s always something we can do “more” to look attractive, but you seem to have a decent resume. Any professional or work experience with rising levels of responsibility are considered to be of help.

  • Sara

    hi! I am from Oklahoma and i am finishing up my sophomore year in high school. i have always loved the liberal arts and never found a career that really interested me. a while back i started getting interested in law and recently started getting interested in wanting to work to be a special agent. The NCIS is what interests me most. I would love to know of what would be best to study in college and anything i could take in high school. And the best colleges for it near me.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      NCIS seeks diversified individuals, but for the most up-to-date requirements I would check out their website.

  • Isaiah

    Interested in joining the FBI, DEA, US Marshall etc…My question is would it be better to get a degree in Criminology, Law, and Justice that’s offered at one school in my state or go with the other school which offers a Law Enforcement and Justice Administration degree?? Does one degree better my chances versus the other one?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Yes, one degree can be favored over another. It all depends on the agency and/or their current personnel needs.

  • sayem shahid

    hi radek,

    my name is sayem,19 year old, i am Bangladeshi ,living and studying in abu dhabi UAE. actually i had no plan to work in criminal justice sector, because i don’t know much about this sector. recently i faced a crime..from there i m thinking to work in this criminal justice sector, my dad, he wants me to be an engineer, i wanted too but i hav changed my mind, now i want to work in it and want to be a officer or agent…by the way i am a science based student and going to finish my high school level in this may.. and i am planning to go Malaysia…is there any good university for this kinds of subjects? will i get value if i take degree from Malaysia? which subject u like to prefer for me? how long it will take to finish my study? is there any other country easier to go for studying in crime any subjects? i am really so much confused about it…if you can help me up by giving some suggestions…

    thank you so much

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I don’t know about any schools in Malaysia that may be a fit, not because they don’t exist, but rather due to my unfamiliarity with some non-US school systems. So any questions you have pertaining to Malaysia and studies will have to go unanswered for now.

      As for courses, you should take a look at plethora of possible choices like Crime and Punishment, Criminology, Victimology, Terrorism, including the idea of majoring in Criminology vs Criminal Justice as your degree program. The courses and programs you seek may be titled differently from what you see on the US based websites, but they shouldn’t be too far off.

  • Tina Brendle

    Hi….I am a hearing impaired individual in the process of getting a cochlear implant done that will allow me to hear about 90-95% range, well enough like a normal hearing individual I am studying criminal justice and I was wondering what are my chances in the field. I have always wanted to be a police officer but am not sure if that is possible….if not, what other options do I have within the field? Thanks.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I would go on the website of your choice, like the FBI, ICE, DEA, etc. and find out about the requirements for each position (most commonly: Special Agent). Now, more than ever before, the federal law enforcement agencies are pretty good about providing very thorough job descriptions. If that doesn’t work, I would pick up the phone and call a local office of the agency you have interest in.

  • Brooke

    Hi my name is Brooke and i am 20 years old and im currently going to school and majoring in Criminal justice.. I want to work for the FBI but i have heard some many different things about tattoos. i have a tattoo on each wrist. they arent huge but they arent the smallest. they arent offensive to people. i got them for my daughter to honor her memory i have her birthday and her death date and people say since they are visible i couldn’t work for law enforcement of any kind and i was just wonder if you can help me. in FBI can tattoos show or not and if not what jobs in law enforcement can they?
    Thank you.. Brooke

  • Roby

    Please i really need help.
    I would like to go for Criminal Justice. This thing has a lot of majors and I don`t really know which one to pick…?!?! Before I go to the admission I would like to have an idea about it.
    After I have a bachelor I would like to go for FBI or CIA or being a detective.. Anyway something in this field.

    Please give me your advice..I will go to John Jay Criminal Justice, in Manhattan, NY and I will start as a freshman year.

    Roberto Amarascu

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Criminal Justice is a major by itself, so it shouldn’t have any majors attached to it. Did you mean minors? — “I’m majoring in Criminal Justice but minoring in Forensic Science” ???

      John Jay College of Criminal Justice is definitely a great start, granted you can get in.

  • Cassie

    Hello, my name is Cassie.

    I am going into high school next year so I know it is early to be thinking about my career, and though I may eventually change my mind, I would love to be a federal agent someday. For now, it would be great to get a head start and maybe even learn more that will help me make my decision.

    The agency I am interested in is NCIS. Because NCIS is not very well known, I have had some trouble discovering more about it. Any thoughts or help would be great.

    Also, what languages might be helpful to learn?

    Thank you for your time.

  • Kellie Sullivan

    I’m very interested in a career in either law enforcement or forensic science. I’d prefer being a federal agent rather than a local police officer and NCIS is at the top of my list right now. I’m entering my junior year of high school and am considering applying to the Naval Academy. I was wondering if there was anything I could do to improve my chances of becoming a federal agent?

  • alby

    Hey Radek, just want to let you know your blog is awesome and a useful tool!

    Like many teenagers I experimented with drugs back in high school. After high school I realize I wanted to join D.E.A or U.S Marshal, so my question is does D.E.A or other federal agencies hire people that have experimented with different types of drugs? If they don’t, why not?

    Another question, I have some strong connections with DOJ. Will that increase my chances even if I experimented in the past?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      In short the answer is: Yes. You can become a federal agent if you experimented with drugs, but the key part is that it was in a distant past. You may be asked what drugs you have used. From what I have heard, many people say not to lie about that during the application and interview process, as it may come up through supplementary interviews that you were not forthright.

      Some agencies may be very hesitant in hiring people with a history of drugs and they may reserve the right not to pull you though the next level if they so choose.

      As for your connections with the Department of Justice, that’s a whole different ball game, for which my answer is: it depends who you know…

      Good luck Alby

  • Justin

    After reading this and some other posts, I hope to finish my Bachelors degree before I turn 38. I’m currently a federal employee with 10 years in with an equivalent grade of GS 11/12, was wondering if my degree and current federal time would help me switch to one of the federal LE agencies or because of my age I would be out of luck.

  • Sara

    Hi,I would like to pursue a career with the F.B.I., or just become a criminal profiler, how would I go about doing that, also, i want to get a tattoo on my upper right or left shoulder above the shoulder blade, would I be permitted to apply to the F.B.I. if i had one there, if criminal profiling were to go in that direction. ive been trying to figure out these answers for a while but haven’t had any luck, if you could get back to me i would appreciate it.

  • Dillon

    Say i have my Bachelors in Criminal Justice, would certificates in things like “Cyber Security” and “Accounting” be considered by the FBI. And would it aid my chances of being hired? Thanks.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I think they can help a little. The school you go to in order to obtain them matters, too. However, I don’t think they will make or break your chances.

  • Amra

    Hi, im 16, and im having a hard time to choose what job occupation i want. My parents suggested John Jay because my brother attends it. Im just confused. I would like to know if the FBI, and other agents just like on t.v? In danger at all times? I want a job that’s highly paid. I would work my but off for it, but people can mistreat me cause im a girl. Please answer back. Thank you.

  • Kaela

    My name is Kaela. I haven’t always been interested in Criminal Justice, but I have dealt with the law because of my dad. Now I’m interested in it and plan on taking Criminology at the local community college next year. I will be 18 and a senior. I plan on being either part of the CIA or FBI. I haven’t really decided which one yet.

  • luna

    hi my name is luna and im a junior in high school. i was looking at the naval criminal investigative system website and it says i have to have as accredited baccalaureate degree.. what does that mean? im planning to go to a community college first but i dont know what to take.. any help?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      that most likely means that you should go to a properly accredited college and obtain a Bachelor’s degree, which is usually a 4-year course of study. Community colleges usually can provide a 2-year course of study that counts as up to half of the credits to get a Bachelor’s degree, or an Associate’s degree if you are taking degree specific courses.

      I can’t help you in what to take. That will take some soul searching, but you might be able to obtain an Associate’s degree at a Community College and then transfer to a Bachelor program at a different school. Community Colleges, at least most of them, don’t offer Bachelor degree programs.

  • Bri

    I’m looking to get a degree as a psychological profiler for the FBI. But I have quite a few tattoos. I have a half sleeve on the top of my arm and a tattoo on the bottom of it. Can those affect me getting that job?

  • Ally

    Hi, my name is Ally. I would really love to join NCIS, and I have one question. I would need to get a bachelor’s degree in order to even be considered, so what sort of majors should I go for that will increase my chances of being accepted? Are there any certain majors that NCIS would like to see more than others? Thank you so much!


  • Shelby

    Hi, my name is Shelby. I would like to work for either the FBI or NCIS as a psychological profiler. If I get my bachelor’s in criminology and psychology, will going to Grad school in either benefit me more in the selection process? also, is it possible to be a psychological profiler for those agencies?


  • Banden Blackwill

    Hi, my name is Branden. I am currently in my sophomore year in college and I want to be a FBI special agent, or CIA, or possibly NCIS. I was thinking about making my major psychology, is that a bad degree for those federal agencies? If not what can I do to get work experience?

  • Lindsey

    Hi, My name is Lindsey. I’m getting my associates degree in Criminal Justice in Texas. I’m planning on going to Sam Houston in Huntsville, TX. I wanna become a FBI agent. This summer I’m doing my first internship at a Juvenile Detention Center. When I move to Sam Houston, I’m planning on studying aboard and doing another internship.

  • Maggie

    Hi. I’m 16 and I’m looking into studying either Forensics or criminal justice. I would like to work at NCIS. I was wondering if you knew of some good colleges with those types of majors! Thanks!

  • Bruno

    Can I have a sociology major with a criminal justice minor???

  • Elaine R

    Hi Radek,
    I am currently doing a research presentation on a future career goal of mine but I was wonder if you had any insight on Criminal Investigation Analysis? What major should my education take and what degree is best to succeed in this career? I also was curious to find out if this CIA position is closely related to a criminologist in anyway? I am really fascinated by the psychology of the criminal justice system which is why I would love to purse it!

    Thank You!

  • KX


    I’m about to finish my degree for Sociology /Criminology concentration with my last semester right around the corner. I’m currently interning with the largest police department in our state and I was honestly thinking about going federal as all the officers have suggested but my only concern is my GPA after looking at all their job requirements. My current GPA 2.5 is as I near my graduation, would you suggest me taking a couple more semesters to make my GPA go up or just graduate and hope to land a job some where? And is the GPA requirement taken as seriously as stated?

    • Radek Gadek

      Hard to say. The GPA is one of numerous components taken very seriously by Federal employers.

  • Mia Trejo

    hey I’m Mia and at this point I’m afraid of trying this. I’m really interested in becoming an NCIS special agent. I have immense respect for these people and what they do but I have one major problem in my way… I’m not a US citizen. From what I heard this can take YEARS to get and it makes me really freaked out because the age limit for a special agent is 37 and I’m afraid I waste too much time I have to have lived in the states to at least be eligible right? and then the process with just begin and that takes long. what should I do?

  • Daniel

    My question is in regards to the FBI drug policy. When I was 14 I sold a small amount of marijuana to my friend. Not because I wanted to make a living in high school, but because I wanted to get rid of it… I know I should have just flushed it down the toilet. Anyways I was interested in becoming a special agent. Would that occurrence deny my ability to enter that profession.

  • Iyana

    I have a Paralegal degree from a nationally creditable school, however my question is do you have to graduate from a regionally accredited school in order to become a federal agent?

    • Radek Gadek

      If it’s a nationally accredited school (one that is approved by the US Dept. of Education) you should have no problem with applying to become a federal agent. Becoming one, on the other hand, may be harder as opposed to an applicant with a degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

  • Matthew Gordon

    Hi, my name is Matthew Gordon, and I am currently in in college and majoring in Psychology, but I am planning on transferring to a college somewhere in Georgia. My main concern is what chances would I have to be able to get into either the NCIS, FBI, or CIA, or what do you think would help me out the best to be able to get into one of the Federal Agencies as a citizen and not a person from the military. So if you could please e-mail me back with some information that might be able to get me started onto the right track.

    Thank you.

  • Bowie

    I am in my 2nd year of college at UMass Boston. I have just decided on a Criminal Justice Major. I don’t really have a career plan in mind. My family keeps on telling me to study accounting but for me, it’s just boring. And by boring means I sleep during lecture which is bad. I love watching crime tv shows (NCIS, CSI, Psych, Monk, etc.). I guess that’s why I want to major in CJ. I might minor in a couple of languages. I already know Chinese. Maybe Japanese would be nice. I have wondered about FBI/CIA agents/Detectives.
    Some input would be nice to hear. =)

  • Darnell

    Hi my name is darnell and im a junior in highschool, i was wondering what age could you apply for the cia/fbi and could you apply while still getting your degree? Whats the probability of getting the job?

  • sydney

    hey im sydney was wonder if the pay for the fbi is 60,000 dollars for starters with a four year degree but what is it if you have a master s or a phd in criminal justice? thx

  • Raul

    Hi, I am Raul and I was wondering if a Political Science Degree would help me become a Homicide Detective or a Federal Agent. I am a little confused on weather that would be a good major for me or not.


  • Meka

    Hi I will be graduating with my BA in CJ in one year, although I wanted to be a probation officer, it looks like when i finsih i may be over the age limit at 38 is this true. I live in Texas and here there may be age limits on becoming a probation/parole offer is this true? if so what else can i use my degree toward?

  • Anthony

    Hi, I’m Anthony and I am about to graduate with a degree in Criminal Justice. However, I have no true experience other than an internship with a Sheriff’s Department. Is there any federal agency that will hire me?

  • Cory McGill

    I am currently a sophomore enrolled at Indiana-Purdue University of Fort Wayne with a major in criminal justice with a minor in business administration. I am interested in becoming a special agent for the NCIS or FBI or some other federal agency. I have a real interest in doing investigative services. My problem is trying to figure out my best way of bettering my chances of getting in. I have thought about going into an ROTC program and doing my service as some kind of security. I also have thought about joining a local police force and getting on the detectives but have been told that can take some time. I am also considering internships but I know that those are hard to get into. So my question is what is the best way of going about this?

  • Varun

    Hi my name is Varun and I am 16 and I am thinking about becoming a CIA Clandestine or Special Agent or an agent for NCIS. I want to do it after my tours are over though

  • Shakila

    I am currently going to school for criminal justice which is very vague. I am undecided between a CIA agent and a Parole Officer. I have 2 children and being a CIA agent might cause some kind of conflict. I would enjoy going different places as well as my children. But i am more concerned about their schooling if i did decide to go into the CIA field. In being a probation/parole officer i would be able to meet new people which i love but i would not be able to see new place which i love more? i would love some input on this!

  • Jaq

    I was wondering if anyone knew what the tattoo policy is for NCIS Special Agents?

    Thank You.

  • Dominic


    I am currently a freshman in college and have just switched my major from business to criminal justice. I have always wanted to serve my country in one fashion or another. I have heard that the FBI is very strict and it is a good idea to work for other agencies before applying to the FBI. I am going to get my associates degree from my community college and then attend a 4 year university with a good criminal justice reputation. My question is, after achieving my degrees most agencies seem to want some work experience. What do you suggest? Internships, military service, police? What would differentiate and make myself stand out against the other applicants. Also what other agencies should I look at? I am a pretty talented marksman and have been on many shooting teams.

  • Claire

    Hi I want to be a criminal profiler so I will be doing a dual major in psychology and criminal justice any tips??


  • David Fluharty

    Hello, my dream job is a deputy U.S. Marshal. I am one semester away from graduating college with a 2.5 overall GPA in criminology. My last two years of college have been exceptional with term grades above a 3.0. My earlier college experience was very rocky because of issues I will not go into. I plan on going into the army after college for 4 years. My question is even though my GPA does not meet the requirements, with a background of the military and my degree is it possible to become a deputy U.S. Marshal.

  • jackie

    I always wanted to work for ncis. I want a job there but doesn’t require to shoot. Is there such a thing? Any information would help please.

  • Emilia


    My name is Emilia and my current major is criminal justice and I have a minor in psychology, I don’t know if this is a valid question but I want to become a criminal profiler but have some tattoos? Are they allowed?

  • Tara Woodham

    I’m very interested in working for the FBI or DEA or anything for the government. However, I want to do the computer forensics side of it. I’m attending Sam Houston State University and majoring in criminal justice with minor in computer science with an emphasis on information assurance and I plan on getting my masters in digital forensics. Am I on the right track? Any advice would help.
    Also, what are the requirements for tattoos when trying to get a government job?
    I hope to hear from you. Thank you (:
    –Tara Woodham

  • jordan

    I want to become a federal agent as soon as I get out of college. Currently, I’m only a junior in high school. The problem is I don’t know what agency to join, and I am open to NCIS, CID, and others etc. I was wondering if you could help me decide on an agency and discover which one would be best for me. I want to be an agent whom can travel, and work meaningful cases.

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