FBI careers are on the rise as is the FBI Special Agent salary. Becoming an FBI Special Agent is nothing like any career option you have ever considered. Every day you have a chance to serve your country and hopefully have fun doing it.
FBI Special Agents are responsible for carrying out sensitive national security investigations and for enforcing federal statutes. As an FBI Special Agent you may work on issues that encompass terrorism, foreign counterintelligence, organized crime, extortion, kidnapping, white-collar crime, public corruption, civil rights violations, cyber crime, financial crime, bribery, bank robbery, air piracy, interstate criminal activity, fugitive and drug-trafficking matters, and other violations of federal statutes.
FBI Special Agent Requirements
To become a Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent you are required to be a U.S. citizen (born or naturalized) or a citizen of the Northern Mariana Islands. You need to be at least 23 years of age, but younger than 37 at the time of your appointment as a Federal Agent. You must have at a minimum three years of professional work experience. In addition, it is essential you possess a valid driver’s license and are fully ready for assignment anywhere in the FBI’s jurisdiction.
Education and Training
You must hold a four-year degree (Bachelor) from an institution of higher learning accredited by one of the regional or national institutional associations recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education.
All FBI Special Agents kick off their career at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia for 20 weeks of intensive training at one of the World’s greatest law enforcement training facilities. Throughout their time at the FBI Academy, trainees reside on-campus and take part in a variety of training activities. Classroom time is spent studying a wide variety of scholastic and investigative subjects. The FBI Academy program also includes demanding training in physical fitness, defensive tactics, practical application exercises, and the use of firearms.
Over the course of their profession, the Federal Bureau of Investigation offers supplemental training opportunities to continually keep Special Agents updated on the cutting-edge developments in the intelligence and law enforcement communities.
FBI Special Agent Salary
Special Agent trainees at the FBI Academy are paid as GS-10, step 1 ($43,441) plus the Quantico, VA locality adjustment (17.50%) during their time at the FBI Academy. This equates to $51,043 annually (or $1,963 per each two-week pay period).
Newly assigned Special Agents are remunerated as GS-10, step 1 ($43,441) plus locality pay and availability pay. Locality pay (which ranges from 12.5% to 28.7% of base salary depending upon office assignment) is additional compensation to account for variations in the labor market between distinct areas. Availability pay is a 25% increase in adjusted earnings (base salary + locality pay) for all Special Agents due to their requirement to average a 50-hour work week over the course of the twelve months. Therefore, with the locality and availability pay modifications, new Special Agents in their initial Field Offices make between $61,100 and $69,900, calculating in the region of the country to which they are designated.
A one time relocation bonus of $22,000 may be given to new FBI Special Agents designated to certain high-cost offices (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington D.C., Boston and Newark) The approximate $22,000 is issued to help counterbalance higher real estate and living costs. In order to be eligible for the relocation bonus, new Special Agents must be appointed to one of the selected high-cost offices and they must be relocating from a lower cost area to a different geographical area with a higher cost of living.
FBI Career Opportunities
Following the successful conclusion of a background check and an assignment into a New Agents Class, Special Agent candidates will be designated into one of five career paths: Intelligence, Counterintelligence, Counterterrorism, Criminal, or Cyber. Furthermore, applicants assigned to either Counterintelligence or Counterterrorism may acquire an additional specialty nomination to Weapons of Mass Destruction matters. This specialty nomination is founded upon the candidate’s education, prior employment, preference as well as their knowledge, skills, and capabilities.
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How long is the FBI Special Agent application process?
Over the years I have received many emails asking me how long does the FBI Special Agent application process take? Employment at the Federal Bureau of Investigation is contingent upon successful completion of the application process at various levels and time intervals.
The duration of the application process for the FBI Special Agent career path can differ significantly from candidate to candidate. The process can take anywhere from six months to as long as several years. The Special Agent Selection System (Phase I and Phase II Testing) is based on the applicant’s competitiveness in the pool of candidates. If a candidate matches several of the FBI’s critical skill demands, they’re more likely to proceed quickly through the testing process. If an applicant doesn’t fulfill any of the FBI’s critical needs, however, it may possibly take months or longer to be scheduled for examination.
In addition to the length of the Phase I and II testing process, the Physical Fitness Test, Medical Evaluation, and FBI Background Investigation will all affect the length of the application process. Each of these items can take an extensive portion of time to finalize if any problems are encountered.