FBI Careers – FBI Special Agent Career, Salary and Training Info

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).

FBI Special AgentNewly 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.

Take a look at other great Criminal Justice Careers.

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.

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.

384 comments… add one
  • Mohammad

    What are my chances to get a job with the fbi….is it like super competitve or relatively easy?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      It’s definitely more competitive than easy. FBI looks for the best and their hiring process is pretty stringent.

      • Van K. Huynh

        Radek M. Gadek,

        I read some information on this page. You stated in 2011 that you attended Kaplan University and applied for the internship with the FBI? Now that it is 2 years later…how was the process? I’d like to gain further information when you have some spare time. I’ve considered Kaplan University as well. If you like your more than welcome to e-mail [removed]
        I greatly appreciate it!

        Thank you.

        • Radek Gadek

          Van, I never went to Kaplan University nor did I apply for an internship with the FBI. That must have been one of my readers. BTW, I would reconsider the school choice if I were you.

  • Mohammad

    so what colleges do the fbi look at the most

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Any law enforcement agency, including FBI, looks for students with good grades, GPA, etc. They don’t look for specific schools, although each person reviewing your application may have a list of a few really good ones. The degree has to be valid… so it must meet proper accreditation criteria. In the end, it’s not the schools that will get you hired, it’s what you’ve got to bring to the table. Education, professional experience, and personal character have a lot to do with what FBI looks for, among other factors. If you want to find out what the FBI is truly looking for, perhaps you should attend one of their job fairs at a university near you (USA). These are not organized often, but if you get lucky in attending one, you can get the answers straight from the “horse’s mouth.” Good luck.

  • singh

    i can speak 2 languages and English. and i want to be FBI agent.. what degree should i have . is it be ok if i got 2 year degree of law enforcement

    • Radek M. Gadek

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation prides itself on having the best of the best, so someone with an ability to speak 3 languages and has an equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is definitely someone who should apply. The FBI looks for candidates with 4-year degrees in all disciplines, but seems to throw more preference to those that have Law degrees, Accounting, Business, Criminology, and other such degree programs.

      • Andrew Rumsey

        Will the FBI hire me if I have a 4 year degree in Criminal Justice?

    • Angel

      Your English should be fluent and it clearly is not. a 4 year degree is required. The procession for special agents is pretty straightforwardly spelled out online.

  • james

    Is it mandatory that fbi agents must have 20/20 vision on one eye and at least 20/40 vision in the other? isn’t wearing glasses an option?

    • A

      It is not mandatory to have uncorrected 20/20 vision. Here is the exact text from the site:

      “Special Agent candidates should possess uncorrected visual acuity no worse than 20/200 (Snellen) in each eye, with correction to 20/20 in one eye and at least 20/40 in the other eye. Individuals unable to meet the 20/200 minimum uncorrected acuity may be considered if they provide medical documentation of use of soft contact lenses for at least one year without significant problems or adverse events. If an applicant has had laser eye corrective surgery, a six-month waiting period is required prior to beginning New Agents’ Training at the FBI Academy.”


      Basically, glasses are fine as long as your vision is corrected to 20/20 in one eye and at least 20/40 in the other. Applicants who have uncorrected vision worse than 20/200 (which is the legal definition of blindness) are required to have documentation of having worn soft contact lenses for at least a year with no major problems.

  • Stell

    I completely disagree with their preference towards law and criminology. I wish people would get off that misconception. Any degree, any discipline, NO real preference. If there is any kind of preference it would be for someone with AT LEAST a four year degree, one or more languages, extensive work experience, and other unique life/work experience. I am in the final stages of the application process, into Phase III now and ALL of my peers range from mental health counselors to military, to mortgage brokers. No CJ majors or lawyers.

    • Tory

      Thanks for the clarification. I am getting ready to take the test on this Thursday coming. Good luck Phase III.

    • condoalert

      I know Phase I was the application and psych/personality test and I believe a written test and Phase II was the interview…what is Phase III?

  • Ashley Begley

    So, is it really hard for females to become a special agent? That’s what I saw on another website.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I can say that all law enforcement agencies are seeking diverse individuals, so the female population is a big part of the criminal justice system (that includes federal law enforcement (FBI, US Marshals, DEA, etc.). I don’t think there’s a clear answer to your question. Yes, as a female Special Agent you are required to perform as good as your male counterparts. This includes mental and physical abilities, high stress situations, and other psychological and intelligence factors. However, most applicants to the FBI, for example, are male. So, lets say that if 100 applicants apply and 80 were male and 20 were female, and only 50 applicants get accepted to the next step, and then only 20 get accepted to the steps after that, then it’s going to seem that the chance of female becoming a Special Agent may be slim.

      People may tell you different things about the acceptance rate of female Special Agents. First of all, one website or forum, and especially one person does not offer any statistical probability. They could be telling you something based on their experience, and that’s that.

      Yes, based on the pool of applicants, more males than females will at the end become Special Agents. Expectations are virtually the same for both sexes. There’s also the silent factor: what does the agency hiring need at the moment? Do they need male and female agents, male agents only, or female agents only? That you’ll probably never know. And, whatever you do, don’t get discouraged by an article, blog post, or forum submission telling you that it is particularly hard for females to become a Special Agent. Yes, I think it’s tougher more on a female applicant than the male, but adversities can be overcome with the right frame of mind. Remember, most applicants to law enforcement positions Worldwide are male, so there’s always a preconceived notion that “females have it harder,” when in reality more need to apply to make that assertion stick. Hope this makes sense.

      Good luck, Ashley.

  • sara

    is criminal justice a good program?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I think it is, but make sure to read the whole article and the comments right after it. It should give you some perspective.

  • Emily

    I really want to have a job in criminal Justice But i also want to make a good salary. I have a few years until i go to collage but i’ve been thinking of what i should major in and what career i can get with a good salary in the criminal Justice field. I’m Taking Karate so i could have a job that challenges you physically. But every Career i find doesn’t seem to make a good salary. So my question is what job in the criminal justice field is there that would make me happy?

    (sorry for my Grammar and spelling)

    • Radek M. Gadek

      What would be a good salary to you?

  • Emily

    At the least $100,000 some where around there

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Chances are slim you would make that within the criminal justice system. High five-figure salaries are possible, but 100k + is reserved for administrative positions – like Directors or seasoned law enforcement officers.

  • Megan

    I just want to say thank you, your website is really helping me a lot with my questions.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      You’re most welcome.

  • Daniel Beale

    What is the least competitive path to get into the FBI? I know the diversified path is highly competitive, and I was wondering whether it would be most worth it to finish my fluency in Spanish or get a CCNP/CCIE certification.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I don’t really think there’s a least competitive path to get into FBI. The mix of education, experience, and personal characteristics determines if you get in or not. Also the needs of the FBI determine if you get in or not.

      I think it may be worth it to finish your fluency in Spanish and get your CCNP/CCIE. Both foreign language fluency and IT skills are highly sought after. I really don’t know which one would help you more, as the FBI loves both types of candidates. If you’re superhuman, and can get both, more power to you. However, you may not be the only one applying with skills and experience. And as I mentioned before: what does the FBI need at the moment?

      Sorry for being vague, but I can’t get into the mind of the FBI – not yet at least : )

  • Scott Garcia

    How long is the selection prossess, I mean if i were to drop a packet for the FBI today how long would it be before I knew if I was selected or not? Also, what are the chances of me being selected by the FBI- 1 in 100 or more like 1-10,000? How many personal do they select per class to attend the training? And my final question, what is the percentage of personal that actually make it all the way through the training and become agents?
    Thanks for the Help I really appreaciat it!!!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Scott, the FBI doesn’t tell you any of these things. The needs of the agency come first, so the statistical mean is always all over the place. I know that only a small percentage of applicants makes it to the actual application and hiring process. And later, even fewer people get offered a position. Sorry I can’t help more.

  • Ambra

    Hello. If someone doesn’t pass the Phase I test the first time are they eligible to retest?

    • tey davis

      yes your eligible for a retest during week 7 of the academy. If you fail a second time, you will be sent home.

  • Alan

    This is a great post. The qualifications need to be stringent. Thanks for all the good answers to the questions posed. Alan

  • Cedric

    What jobs are there in the FBI for people with Biology degrees? and how much money do they make if there are special jobs?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I am assuming that you have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and not an advanced degree like a Master’s or PhD.

      I think that right of the bat you would qualify for the FBI Special Agent position. As time progresses you may be assigned to a special unit that deals with anything to do with biological threats or crime scene investigation or perhaps a team of scientists who solve all kinds of problems. Is your degree specialized (ie. Marine Biology)? Do you have an advanced degree (ie. Master’s or PhD)?

      • Cedric

        I’m working on getting a bachelor’s degree in biology. Is there a demand for special agents with this degree, and what are their salaries? Should I concentrate on a specific area of biology?

  • Kareem

    Hi there,
    can i get a job with the FBI or at least be considered as candidate and what are my chances, if i have four year degree in business informatics and fluent in Arabic and french but have no it related experience, all the work experience i have is managing a convenient store for 4 years( period i was in college).

    • Radek M. Gadek

      You should definitely be worth some consideration.

      • Kareem

        Thanks a lot for replying :)

  • Terry

    Hello, I am on my way to getting a degree in biochemistry and I was wondering what kind of paths I could take in the FBI.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I’ll be honest, it’s not my forte, so I wouldn’t want to speculate. However, I do know that there are probably quite a few positions in Federal Govt. and Biochemistry is HOT right now in the law enforcement field.

  • Carlos

    Since I have heard the hiring process takes a long time, can you apply prior to completing your bachelor’s degree knowing you will have it completed in the future, or do you have to wait until you have it in hand in order to graduate.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I don’t recall that you can OR can’t. I remember reading something about it before their site was changed, but I don’t remember whether it’s yes or no. Sorry.

      I recommend calling your local FBI Recruit’s Office to find out.

  • Vicktor

    I am currently going to school for a B.S. in Criminal Justice, with 3 years of experience in County Sheriff Corrections. I also have 5 years of military experience as a Air Traffic Controller. Based off of the qualifications I just listed, do you think I would be a competitive candidate for the FBI SA program once I receive my degree?

    • Radek M. Gadek


      It all depends on the needs of the FBI at the time of job posting and at the time of hiring. I can tell you that this experience, as long as positive, can be of value to your cause.

    • Lynsie

      If you were an Air Traffic Controller why in the world would you be looking to be a Special Agent? They make half of what an ATC makes.

  • Derek Wade

    Hi I’m planning on getting a CJ degree from the college I’ll be going to. After I graduate, I plan on seeking a job in the U.S. Marshal’s Service to gain the law enforcement experience for the FBI. I’m bi-racial and almost fluent in spanish as well. When I hopefully get into the FBI, I’m wanting to become a Special Agent, then when I qualify, I’d like to become a Sniper/Observer on the Hostage Rescue Team. Am I on the right track in getting to where I wana be?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      There’s really “no right track”

      What’s important is what you can bring to the table as a successful college graduate.

      Language skills help a lot.

      Any experience you can muster may matter when being considered

  • edwin

    i was wondering if any military experience would help me an edge over most people

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Military experience counts, and depending on the needs of the FBI, it can be an edge you may need over other applicants.

  • edwin

    Ok thanxs appreciate it

  • William

    Just a top of the military experience what if you had a security clearance well you were in the military as well and you are still carrying it…will that give you kudos points as well over other applicants?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I’m sure that would come into consideration.

  • woaah

    I am currently a high school student in my junior year. I am planning on getting a internship with the FBI for the summer 2011 program. I was wondering how big of a edge would this actually be in my future endeavors with the FBI as a special agent. My future plans will include getting a masters in Forensics and minor in Psychology. What are my chances? Are they good? I am fluent in English, Russian, and a bit of Italian.

  • Lockett

    I was wondering what counts as “professional experience.” Ive heard conflicting statements that law school meets the 3 year professional experience qualification and from others that it does not. I was hoping to get that answered. Thanks

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Law School is graduate level education and it might count in lieu of professional experience. The FBI makes a clear distinction on this and other requirements on their website – just follow the career links

  • Elizabeth Owen

    I noticed that physical activity was included in training at the academy. Are there positions for the handicapped or otherwise physically/mobility impared?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I think so, but they may be non law enforcement positions. I would inquire with FBI recruitment office for a better take on this.

      Good question, Elizabeth. Let us know what you find out.

    • Kiri

      As far as I can tell from their website, no exceptions are made for the agent path for physical capabilities – if you cannot pass the physical fitness test, you do not pass the agent training (physical requirements are found here http://www.fbijobs.gov/1113.asp). However, the FBI is hardly made up of only agents. There are multitudes of career opportunities available through the “professional staff” route. Options are found here (http://www.fbijobs.gov/12.asp) and include Intelligence Analysis, Information Technology, Applied Science, Engineering & Technology, Linguistics, Business Management, FBI Police, Investigative Support & Surveillance
      and more.

  • Travon

    I’m a junior in college and was wondering what path to go down. I have a 2.97 GPA and always wanted to take on the title of FBI Agent to my name. I was wondering what are some advantages and disadvantages of being a FBI agent? I don’t have any special skills i.e.(Language, counterintelligence etc.) but this is a career I always wanted to do. Could you help me out.

    • Radek M. Gadek


      Your question, although a very good one, is quite open ended. There’s no right answer to the advantages and disadvantages question.

      Advantages can be enormous or a few in between — it all depends on your mindset. The federal govt’s advantages are the great benefits and a pretty decent salary, for example.

      Disadvantages can be counted on, too — since you would be a law enforcement officer, perceptually and statistically, your life can be in danger more than that of an average citizen. In the first few years of your career you may experience so many different things that it may become hard to keep up with your loved ones/significant other. There’s a possibility of having to shoot someone in order to save someone’s life or even your own. All things that can be disadvantageous to most, but quite understandable by others.

      Despite not having the desired extras, ie: foreign language, I would still apply and see where it takes me; considering that’s what I would want to do in my life. The choice is yours, but I would contact your local FBI recruiter in order to get the better picture of what the life of an FBI Special Agent is like. Good luck to you.

  • Samantha

    I have a couple of questions I was hoping you could answer for me. I’m interested in a career with the FBI. I’m a Junior in college and a Criminal Justice major/ English minor. I was wondering, what are some things that I can do to set myself apart from other applicants? I started volunteering with the police department in their Crime Scene Investigation unit. Is there anything else I can do that will help my resume stand out in the crowd?

    Also, I read somewhere that everyone who attends the FBI’s 20 week course must live on their campus in Quanitco. Is that true? I am married and was wondering how the training would affect my spouse and I.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Radek M. Gadek


      I think that the volunteering / internship is of great help. I highly recommend checking the Career FAQ section for FBI hopefuls to help you started on the right track. It’s full of all the info you need to know. However, I can tell you that being able to speak and write another language, such as Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, and/or others is highly desirable. Your academic status in college — grades, GPA, etc. — do play a role.

      As for the latter, a big yes, you will be staying at the Quantico campus. It is a hard transition for those married, and especially those with kids, but you will have to come to an arrangement with your husband to make sure you are emotionally ready to tackle what’s ahead of you at the academy; what I’m saying is that you’ll have to focus more on your training than your husband. Hope this helps you out and I wish you both all the best.

      • Elissa Marie-hernandez

        Maybe, her husband will understand change, for the best of vows. Understanding each other on a level that that is the same as her employment her attention must be directed towards, will help in understating each other.

  • Dillian

    I have 4 years of being in the Elite team in the Air Force. Pararescue Jumper. Ive always wanted to be a FBI agent also, Do i still need a colege degree??

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Straight from the FBI site:

      … 3. Is there waiver of the four-year degree if an applicant has military service?
      No. All applicants must have a four-year degree when applying for the Special Agent position.

  • Amanda

    I am so glad I found your site and I think it’s wonderful how much help you’re offering. Thank you. :]

    Anyway, I’m 18 and I have just started college. I intend on getting a Criminal Justice degree to go towards joining the FBI as a Special Agent. My first question is this:

    On the FBI’s website, they say that Japanese is one of their critical languages. Recently I have taken up learning the language because for several years now I’ve had an interest in Japanese culture and so I thought Japanese would be the most interesting language for me to learn. If I do become fluent in Japanese, do you know what that would mean for a Special Agent? Would I, on occasion, have work to do in Japan?

    My other question pertains to the three years work experience that is required to join the FBI. However, this seems to contradict with what their website said about the need for “2 years work experience in a law enforcement agency.” Although they did specify that it should be “investigative work.” So if I were to become a police officer at 21 years of age and start out with “investigative work,” would I still have to wait three years, until I am 24, to apply to the FBI? Am I just confusing myself?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      You may work domestically or overseas (Japan). It all depends on the needs of the agency. But, knowing another language can propel you for better positions and perhaps overseas travel.

      There’s no contradiction it’s a chain of events… an IF STATEMENT is made:

      on the FBI’s site, under CAREER PATHS when you hover with your mouse over SPECIAL AGENTS a list of options comes up on the right
      1. Again, hover over “Qualification Requirements” where you will see these options: ENTRY PROGRAMS, CRITICAL SKILLS, and PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS
      2. Click on ENTRY PROGRAMS and read the last paragraphs. It states:

      After qualifying for one of the five Entry Programs, you will be prioritized in the hiring process based upon certain Critical Skills for which the FBI is recruiting.

      3. Clicking on CRITICAL SKILLS and picking a critical skill is meant to be an added way to categorize applicants, and of course, utilize your strengths.

      In all, looking strictly at your scenario, you would still need 3 years of full-time professional (aka work) experience – two of which would need to be in law enforcement. Yes, the investigative part does throw me off and can mean things like a “Detective” for which it takes at least 3-5 years on avarage to apply just for the Detective’s Exam.

      I recommend you speak to an FBI recruiter about your situation AND if possible try to find out if any part time / full time work experience and a degree can be of use, especially with Japanese as a second language. Also, it would be good to find out if “Investigative” has a deeper meaning, AS AGAIN the site said “Law Enforcement or Other Investigative Experience”

      Make sure that when you browse the FBI site

  • Melony

    I am interested in the criminal justice field, perhaps an FBI agent. I did OKAY in high school, but I’m planning to attend a community college in California and take GE and criminal justice classes. Then I want to transfer out to a CSU or UC, but I don’t know what is the best school to be a FBI. And what kind of professional experience? And do you have to have 3 years of professional experience? What kind of language are they mostly interested in? Thanks!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Don’t worry about high school – BUT DO WORRY about college grades and GPA. CSU and UC are great options. I know that University of California – Irvine has been listed as one of the best in the Nation for Criminal Justice / Criminology. I wouldn’t focus too much on the school – just make sure it’s a good one for you and that IT IS regionally accredited.

      Check out the FAQ section on the FBI’s website about all the current requirements.

      Professional Experience should be any experience that is work related. It doesn’t mean you have to have 3 years of law enforcement experience. This is meant to gauge your level of responsibility. I think certain OR all aspects of professional experience can be waived – read that FAQ section I mentioned before.

      Good luck.

  • Jessie

    Is there any classes in high school that could prepare you for this job? What colleges are recommended? And what is a good job to have before becoming part of the FBI?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Nothing really in HS, but in college it is the grades and your GPA that you have to worry about most. Search for “FBI” on this site and read all the articles and comments to get your answers. There’s just too many perspectives to list here.

  • Nina

    Hello Radek,

    I’m a Criminal Justice student with a 3.81 GPA, finishing my last term with Kaplan University online; receiving my Associate Degree on the 25th of January 2011. I will be continuing my education with Kaplan right after graduation; my goal is to obtain a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice.

    I speak two languages, Russian and English. Sometime in August of this year I found an FBI contract linguist job posting in a Russian local newspaper. It had a description of the job, an orientation date scheduled at the San Francisco office, and documentation necessary to bring. Well, I followed the directions and prepared a resume, wrote a one page essay (one in English and one in Russian) and went to that scheduled orientation. After a brief orientation, everyone was invited to a language speaking evaluation process, right at the spot. I was very nervous! After that, the person evaluating my languages skills told me to submit an application online when I get home. However, I felt like I wasn’t good enough for that kind of job. So I did not submit the application online. Time passed and I have let go my dream working for the FBI. What happen next is on Oct 18th, a case manager from Washington D.C. has sent me an email stating that he considered processing me for the position. He also said that the FBI applicant data base does not have a copy of my application, but only a copy of my resume; and told me to respond to his email and let him know if I am still interested in the position and to submit that application online. I was very surprised to hear that. I immediately responded to his e-mail and submitted that application online. I also spoke with him on the phone and discussed my location; because I’m located in Sacramento, I won’t have to be tested in San Francisco. He said he will send the communications to the Sacramento office.
    Now, I would like to know how long this process will take..? What I’m waiting for now is the testing date. Also, if I work as a contract linguist for three years and work on my Bachelor’s degree, (I will have my BA in 2.5 yrs) will it be possible for me to become a special agent later?
    I appreciate your web-site greatly! Thank You!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Sounds like you went through quite an emotional roller-coaster.

      I’ll be honest with you that I don’t know how long it will take. The time differs based on the present needs and urgency. If someone more qualified can answer, please chime in. Also, if you’re not sure or feel like you don’t have enough information about the upcoming testing, contact the person or department you spoke with on Oct 18th.

      As for your second question, I think your linguist background for the FBI can greatly help you with becoming a special agent later. Russian is a highly desired language, and your contract experience will allow you time to make relationships within the FBI, which in turn can help you solidify a career change.

      Make sure to complete your Bachelor’s with very good grades. You might still be in a pool of fierce competition, regardless of who you know.

      I wish you all the best.

  • Alex

    I am a u.s permanent resident. I will become a u.s citizen in about a year from now. Is it possible for me to be able to become an FBI agent?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Yes, as long as you meet other qualifications, like: college degree, age requirements, professional experience (work experience), and more.

      US Citizens, born or naturalized, are able to apply and have their application considered. US permanent residents cannot.

  • Alex

    Oh okay. Yeah, because right now I’m still a junior in high school. But in the future I would like to pursue a career in the criminal justice field. Preferably an FBI agent, a secret service agent, or even a forensic psychologist. Any advice you have for me would be greatly appreciated.

  • super freaking awesome

    hello radek….i think you would be an awesome army recruiter :)

  • Rachelle

    What does Diversified career path mean? What is considered to be a diversified skill?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Basically, “diversified” means NOT any of the specialized career tracks, like: Accounting, Finance, Law, and Law Enforcement – for example. It’s just a nice way of saying if you don’t have these mentioned skills (there’s like a dozen of them), then we’ll consider you anyway. Many FBI Special Agents start off their career this way.

  • James W.


    I am a sophomore in college and am getting a degree in Accounting. I will be getting my undergraduate degree in Accounting and a masters in possibly Audit or Finance. The school I go to has one of the top 5 public school programs for accounting in the world. I currently have a 4.0 GPA. I do not speak a foreign language. How big of a deal is it to speak a foreign language? What are my chances of getting into the FBI, and what jobs are available for an Accounting major? Would I need prior work experience, or could I go straight from college into the FBI?


    • Radek M. Gadek

      A foreign language can be the proverbial “deal breaker.” However, I do see your accounting degree as a strength.

      No one knows what your chances are. There’s no real way to tell. The only thing that I can recommend is that your application is stellar (that includes everything about “you” – experience, grades, moral fiber, etc.)

      You would probably qualify for a position as a Special Agent with an Accounting skill OR you may be eligible to work as a civilian, as an Accountant, for example.

  • nick

    i am not in college yet and i am look to major in law enforcement and a foreign language to become a special agent should i take classes in something else also.what be the wages for me coming out of collage in to the FBI?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Please read the entire blog post with comments.

  • Robert

    Im currently attending ITT-TECH doing their criminal justice program and I know Spanish. You think a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice there and me knowing spanish sounds like a good chance of you guys hiring me? I’ll appreciate it for your feedback.. I am really aiming in becoming an FBI agent so hopefully my school is not a problem..

  • Kaitlyn

    To become a Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent you need to have a minimum of 3 years of professional work expierience. What would be good options for professional work expierience? And do you have to have the 3 years before you can do the training in Quantico?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Good professional work experience would be within a scope of progressive growth. For example, you start as a clerk, grow into the supervisor position, and later become as assistant manager. Consider factors like leadership to be important. I think you would have to have three years, but then you never know. I know I would consider trying knowing that my academic background and other character traits would be of great benefit to the FBI. In the end, the decision is up to you.

  • kristina

    I read almost everything you’ve posted,and I really like all your answers.
    I’m confused though!
    Becoming an FBI special agent has been my dream job since I was little.
    I speak English, Spanish, Albanian, Italian, Portuguese, and French fluently. I’ve been taking foreign language classes since I was 10. I’m not a U.S citizen, but I will become one soon!
    I’m taking Criminal Justice at Keiser University, and I attend gym every day.
    At first I started taking Business Administration classes, but that was a big mistake, so I switched to Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. I don’t have any experience at work, but I am trying to get a job after I finish two years of college.
    Now, I don’t know if Criminal Justice is the right program, or do they require any special languages, (Arabic is one of them).
    I need to know what they require the most, and how many years of experience at work do I need?!
    Thank you !

    • tey davis

      before becoming a special agent you need 3 years of work experience, and meet the other requirements. id say that the harder to learn languages like arabic, portuguese, albanian are all good languages to have under the belt. you could work as a linguist for the FBI or in counter-intelligence if you stay focused.

  • kristina

    Also I am only 18 and this is my first year of college!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      The FBI has a set of REQUIREMENTS and a set of PREFERENCES. What you see mentioned throughout most of the comments is the edge factor. The “IT” that will distinguish you from an average Joe or Jane.

      For best representation of requirements go to FBI’s website ( fbi.gov ).

      The requirement is to have a 4-year degree, however there are preferences AND career tracks for law school grads, accounting and finance majors, and prior law enforcement professionals. It would be insanely silly for the FBI to require only one particular degree requirement, as they would get minimal response. Thus, the FBI is open to all college grads, providing they meet other requirements.

      The career tracks, language preferences, and other wanted skills is the icing on the cake. HOWEVER, those extras are what will set you apart from the rest, and hopefully, get you that one step closer to a career as FBI Special Agent.

      The whole point of the above article and discussions is not to confuse, but to push people outside their perceived thinking zone: “oh it’s gonna be easy” OR “oh it’s gonna be hard”. You either want to be a FBI Special Agent or you don’t. If you do, then there are certain things one should know before embarking, like knowing that it’s not only about the bare minimum. Often, it’s about the little extras we all have (ie. foreign language) or skills we can acquire (ie. foreign language).

      Regardless of how talented or skilled you are, as long as you have some common sense and you seek federal employment, I recommend applying.

  • William

    Hello, I will be graduating with a degree in Spanish in 2012. I was wondering if there was any waiver for the professional work experience. I’ve searched fbijobs.gov to no avail. I know Spanish is deemed a critical language so I thought there might be a waiver.


    • Radek M. Gadek

      There are no waivers that I’m aware of.

  • Raul T.

    I have about one year working in Accounting but will be finishing up a Ph.D. in Accounting and International Business. Will this make me a viable candidate even though I don’t have the necessary work experience required?

    • Radek M. Gadek


      Your education would fall under the “viable” candidate bracket. Although a PhD is not required, it’s a great way to distinguish yourself from others. Also, those with a graduate degree often start at a higher pay grade.

  • Marcayla

    What course would it be under if you wanted to get the bachelors degree on “Special Agent” ?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      There’s no degree that will teach you the nuances of an FBI Special Agent career. It’s something you’ll learn at the FBI Academy and on the job. As for courses getting you closer to the Special Agent position with the FBI, read the article above and read the many great comments contributed here.

  • Sarah

    I have a degree in biochemistry graduated w a B average, I want to work in a federal lab and what I have read leads me to believe I have to go through academy. Do I have a chance at this or should I go to grad school first and then apply?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      It’s hard to tell, but from what I’ve been hearing, the Federal Government tries its best to hire highly qualified individuals. The needs of the agency, at the time of job posting, are the usual criteria which may or may not focus on your chosen field.

      I am fairly sure you would have to go through the academy. You wouldn’t perhaps have the diversified track of study, but rather science based, which is what I’m reading you want to pursue.

  • David

    Hey Radek this is a great website for tips on getting into the FBI. I’m a year away from getting my BA in Classical Civilizations. I’m hoping that over the next year and a half I’ll gain “some fluency” (as much as you can get in a classroom anyway) in Hebrew and Russian. I’ve been going back and forth with what I should do after my BA. I’m considering joining the Coast Guard and maybe at the same time getting my MA. Which do you think the FBI would prefer, an MA in Criminal Justice or in International Affairs/Relations? Finally, do you think the languages, the MA and the USCG set me apart from other applicants?

    Thanks for such a useful website!!!!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Language expertise is a great way of setting yourself apart.

      I’m not too sure about which they would prefer (MA or Coast Guard – both are heavy time investments). Having both and the languages under your belt.. that’s pretty nice in my opinion.

      As for the degree preference, I’m not too sure, as both are good… however, the FBI kinda makes a hint on their site about degree preferences through their “Special Agent tracks” — I would take a look at that first.

  • angie

    I have been trying to apply for a special agent position for 4 weeks now. But the entire time, the website has said the online application is down for maintenance. Do you have any insight about why it has been down so long? Is there a hiring freeze in place or something? Do you know if there are other ways to apply (other than the online application)?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      not too sure what’s going on with the FBI site, but any postings should be visible at usajobs.gov

  • Jon

    I’m 18 and a freshman in college for Criminal Justice. I plan on getting my masters degree. I’m in excellent physical condition and will hopefully get a job in security soon. I’ve always wanted to be an FBI or CIA agent but I had an unfortunate accident to which I had to get surgery for. I now have two plates and eight screws in my wrist and I’m concerned that I may be rejected because of this. I was strongly considering the military route, special forces to be specific but never followed through after my surgery. My wrist works fine, I have full mobility and strength but I’m curious as to whether I would be turned down just because I have plates in my wrist?

  • Tyler

    I am pretty sure that they are very strict on your physical condition. Your wrist could be a problem i would think. Considering that they go all over the country and work i doubt they would risk you having any problem with your wrist on the job. They could be very bad if your partner needs you and you only have one good arm at the time but i would check on it! They might want a doctors note saying that you are cleared for duty maybe. Work on that. Also i am a senior in high school but i do do some college in criminal justice also. Just look into it. i am sure they will let you know if you check. Also Jon, I am pretty sure you will need a lot of extensive experience in law/criminal justice to even have a chance to be an agent but i hope to do the same thing! I am still debating on if i should get my Ph.D or Just my Masters in Criminal Justice? Any suggestions/Comments on that are appreciated!

  • De'von

    Hey, I’ve been wanting this job for forever!!! I love the ins and outs of it and the prestige of working for the FBI… I’m in the Army now and I am about to pursue a bachelors in Criminal Justice at Grantham University while I serve my country. After my first enlistment I hope to pursue this career also. However my question (if it can possibly be answered through email or on this site) is How will a physically fit 23 year old male with a bachelors in crim. justice, military experience, no law violations or record look at getting this job? Is it extremely competitive? what can I do to better myself and be even more competitive?

  • Amanda

    One of the things you learn at Quantico while on your way to becoming an FBI Special Agent is grappling techniques, so my question is this: If, say, I were already accomplished in jujitsu, or really any sort of martial art in which I can properly defend against and subjugate someone, would such a skill give me an edge in the hiring pool, even if it’s slight?

    Thank you.

  • Gracie

    Hey, I’m in 8th grade (I know, I’m really young.) anyways, I’m not that good at Math (Algebra mostly.) I’m fit.. but, not that fit. I don’t plan on having Military experience and I’ve had 3 years of Spanish and I want to continue to have Spanish. I know I have a long time to think, but this is my dream job, other than a pediatrics, and when I get to be 23 and I go to sign up, I actually would like to have a chance. Do you think I should even consider this job when I get older?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      With healthy lifestyle changes and a little bit more tutoring in Math I think you should consider it. 23 is so far away for you (depending on how you look at things), but that age gap gives you enough time to improve. It’s all about setting a goal and following through. Things can be better if you think they can be. Good luck.

  • Kaylin

    I’ve been wanting to be an FBI Special Agent for as long as I can remember. I plan to have a career within it. I get good academic grades and I’ve always kept myself in good shape but what has always worried me was that of the vision. I don’t have 20/20 vision, I have glasses for reading things on boards and such but I know for a fact it’s no where near good enough to be even close to 20/20 vision. If I found a way within my family’s budget to somehow improve this, would I have a chance?
    (I’m in 9th grade) So I know I still have a bit of time ahead of me but this has always been the career of my dreams and I’ve kept myself in shape and studied extremely hard just so I could do well enough to become an FBI Agent one day. I hate to ask but do you have any tips to help me with perfecting this? Thanks!!

  • parsa

    I am a naturalized U.S. citizen. I speak 4 languages, have B.S in Math, over 5 years of IT related work experience. I’d like to become an FBI agent but I have this fear that I won’t be able to do what I like once I become an agent. I am afraid that they’ll tell me to do just translations from Farsi to English, etc…, is that true?
    I’d like to be part of the cyber crime unit…as an FBI agent.
    Do you get to choose what you want to specialize in once you start attending the FBI academy?
    All FBI agents start at GS-10 Step 1, how are the salary increase from GS-10 to GS-13 within in a 5 year frame work?
    And my final question: How is the FBI atmosphere in terms of having people with Middle Eastern heritage working shoulder to shoulder with white American? especially with all the stuff we hear in the news.

    Thanks! I hope I am not being rude. Thanks again

  • AJ

    I have a Bachelors Degree in CJ and working on a Masters in CJA. I am also in the Army. WIll I have a pretty good chance?

  • mani

    hey, i am currently pursuing a degree in criminal justice. My question is, Does it benefit me to gain experience working as a security officer and have a clearance? Or will it be ok for me to just work at any job not related to the field?

  • Callum

    In the part about education it mentions getting a bachelor degree from one of the regional or national institutional associations recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Is there a way I can find out which universities are accredited? Also, thank you very much, this website has been amazing in helping me find out what I want to do.

  • Leo

    I have a bachelors in criminal justice ( no specialization ) , I also have a minor in psychology , zero work experience. Fluent in English & Spanish .. FBI worthy?, or yes. I can see it already working in the nearby Newark field office?

  • aj112

    Becoming an FBI Agent is one of my biggest goals in life. i was wondering if there were scholarships out there for college, for someone to become a FBI Agent?

    • tey davis

      yes there a tons! biochemistry, law enforcement, accounting, computer tech sciences, psychology (my major) forensics, chemistry, biology…. these are just a few but heres a just idea. Choose from your interest

  • brenden

    I plan to have a pretty hefty plate.I will be majoring in Spanish,Criminal justice, and Accounting. Would i be a pretty good candidate? Also i have no experience would it be good to work at a police station first?

    Also i forgot to mention i am a pretty quiet guy. But i do get along with others well. Does the FBI take your personality into account?

  • GM

    I am seriously considering becoming an FBI agent, though I’m only in eighth grade.
    I plan to attend the University of Virginia with a double major in psychology and law OR criminology (is that possible, or will I have to minor in one? If so, which do you recommend majoring/minoring in?). I also plan to become fluent in one of the languages they prefer, probably one of the European languages (if any, at my time of application) rather than the Middle Eastern or Asian.
    The FBI has also started to offer a week-long camp for 16 to 18-year-olds (I’m currently thirteen), and once I turn sixteen I plan to attend.
    Will I have a shot at getting in? And is there anything I can do to improve my situation?
    Also, what does the FBI consider “professional work experience,” since they require three years of it (according to their site)?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Too early to tell if you would be able to get in. There are many factors to consider here. Yes, the camp may help, as may knowledge of one or more desirable languages, as may a double major with great marks and GPA (Grade Point Average). But, be aware that you won’t be the only one that has had the same or similar idea. FBI hiring process is quite competitive.

      BTW, Law is usually studied in Law School — which is a graduate degree program. There’s pre-law / legal studies that you can consider as one of your majors. University of Virginia is a great school, but be warned, they are highly selective — study hard in high school and apply to more than one college or university. Good luck.

  • Leo

    I have my bachelors in criminal justice , I have a minor in sike I have no work experience at all just good academics.. What’s my best course of action??

  • Blake

    Hello, I am currently a college student studying a double major in Criminal Justice and Sociology. I plan to go to law school and study criminal law. I have a few questions regarding the FBI test and hopefully some people can help me. I know the application progress is very competitive. I have done some stupid things in my young life such as underage drinking and drug use. If I haven’t used any substance within 10 years at the time of my application process do I still have a chance of acceptance based on my Law education background and being a completely honest person throughout the tests?

  • Vianca

    I am currently a freshman in Sam Houston State University majoring in B.A. in Criminal Justice, but I have heard that joining the military will help me have better chances into getting into the FBI. I am planning on joining the USMC. I am also very fluent in Spanish. So I was just wondering what do you think of joining the military.?
    Thank you.

  • Meda

    If I were to begin studies for another language.. What would be your recommendation for the FBI requirements?


    • Radek M. Gadek

      It’s really hard to gauge that. Depending on the office you’ll work at and the needs of the FBI at the moment (consider things like: terrorism in the middle east, where Arabic, Farsi, and other regional languages play a huge role) the languages you choose to study may or may not be highly desirable. As far as I can remember, Chinese, Japanese and Russian are traditional languages still used withing the Federal agencies due to espionage, historic clashes and even wars between the nations. The FBI still finds people with knowledge of the three languages to be an integral part of the agency, but as the world turns and new conflicts emerge, so does a new need for other languages. The FBI lists the desirable set of languages on their website.

  • Joseph

    For the future, after college and potentially five or so years as an fbi agent, how easy or difficult would it be to transition to cia life?

  • Nick

    Just wondering, im in the marine corps right now and im about to get out in another year. After my enlistment is up I will be attending college to obtain my bachelor’s degreee. Does military experience count as your “work experience” for say law enforcement or does this mean I will have to have law enforcement experience before I could apply? Thanks for all the help.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      As far as I’ve heard it counts. Plus you should be eligible for veteran’s preference.

  • Kevin

    would starting out as a police officer help when it comes to having experience to become an fbi agent?

    • tey davis

      The best experience you can get. 3years minimum

  • Samantha

    So I am 16 years old. I know I am young but just old enough to start planning ahead for my future. I am currently fluent in Hebrew and will have finished Spanish 6 by the time I graduate from High School. Not to mention I will be taking French 1 and 2 my senior year. I plan to continue learning those three languages plus maybe taking on an additional language such as Arabic.
    1. Now am I able to serve in another country’s military and then join the FBI?
    2. I know that this isn’t the correct term but if I want to be a profiler, could I get a degree in psychology and would that help getting into the FBI and then serving in the BAU?
    3. What exactly qualifies as work experience? Does that mean working for a paid job or does an internship count? Also like working like working at Target count as work experience? Also does being in the military, regardless of the country count?
    Thank you so much.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Languages are a huge plus. FYI In order to work for law enforcement agencies in the US, especially the federal ones, you must have US Citizenship.

      1. I’m pretty sure that serving in a different country’s military should not disqualify you from becoming a FBI Special Agent. The question is, which country’s military — Are we talking Great Britain or France OR Kuwait or Syria (examples).
      2. Profiler is pretty close, and degrees in Psychology, Forensic Psychology, and Criminology are pretty common — I highly recommend an advanced degree, like a Master’s or a PhD. Getting into the FBI is not clear cut and is highly competitive.
      3. For the most part, work experience means that you held a job that promoted you to different levels / hierarchy (you started as a salesperson, but became the an assistant manager of a retail establishment — this is a lowball example, but basically that’s what they mean by “work experience”). Internships may count in some cases, especially if academic marks are great — I would contact the FBI recruiting office (locally) to find out more.

      Good luck.

      • Samantha

        Thank you so much. I’m talking about the Israeli army and I am a naturalized US citizen. Also what if I have duel citizenship with Israel? Can I still be a special agent?

        • Radek M. Gadek


          There are many people working in the FBI that were not born in the US, and some are from regions that are less than stellar, but they bring something to the table that the FBI wants.

          I would apply, but be ready to explain your change of heart from Israeli Military to US FBI.

          • Samantha

            Would a good reason being that I am loyal to both countries? Because if I can’t then I will choose the FBI in a heartbeat. I would like both but we all have to make sacrifices and I would to be in the FBI. Also like the show Criminal Minds, do you know how close the show is to real life. I know that obviously it is fictionalized but is it true that they fly around the country doing field work like that, or do they just stay and work from desks all day?

            • Radek M. Gadek

              Yes, your loyalty can come into question.

              I don’t watch Criminal Minds, but I can tell you it can be as close or as far away as the show portrays, and hopefully you’ll be left with an expectation of “something” in between. Yes, you may be required to fly around, or gather intelligence at your desk, or do both while on a special mission; although, most likely, you’ll be attached to a unit in one geographic area. It’s different for many FBI special agents — your academics, areas of expertise, language skills, social skills, physical performance and many other factors can determine what you do as a FBI Special Agent.

            • Angel

              The agents on tv that fly “around” are the profilers, not the regular agents. There is info on the page that lets you know getting in isn’t easy and requires you to already be an agent.

        • Kiri

          I read somewhere on the FBI website that having had dual citizenship does not disqualify one from potentially becoming an FBI agent – however, one must give up that citizenship to another country first.

  • Abraham

    First of all, great post. I have read countless websites, yet I had never actually seen this one.

    I have read several of the comments and responses and it has clarified some of my doubts. Yet my issue is that I am a 4th year Accounting student at a CSU. I need probably about 1 more year to finish. I know perfect Spanish (Can read, write, talk, slangs, everything.) and am learning basic German. In addition before I graduate I am getting a Criminal Justice minor.

    All this might sound really good but my GPA is not the best. I have approximately a 2.6 GPA. Definitely not the best, and for this reason I am scared that when I do finish my school I will not be accepted.
    I know that grades is not the only thing, but hell I am scared haha! I consider myself someone with ALOT of moral fiber. I am highly motivated on always doing the right thing, and helping others even if that involves me sacrificing certain things.

    What do you think? GPA like that will just get tossed out? Or it will get looked upon just like any other application?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Besides the GPA, I think you would look solid, but you must take into consideration that there will be others with way better GPAs, language skills, etc. You must also consider that Spanish is a very popular language in the US, out of necessity or not, and there will be quite a few Spanish speakers among the applicant pool. Yes, a lot of other things go into pruning out the best from the rest, so I would still give it a good shot, if I were you. Good luck.

  • Angela

    Goal: FBI Special Agent

    Education: Double Major in Criminology and Accounting
    Coursework in Russian

    Work Experience: 8 years in Operational Accounting

    My question is, at this point, do I enlist with a local or state agency to gain three years of law enforcement experience – OR – can try for employment directly to the FBI at this point?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      The 3-years of experience is not a necessity, but some people consider this route. Given what you mentioned here, I think you can try applying directly, but if you must change your careers now, apply to local and regional agencies, too.

  • Frank

    Hey man, I really enjoyed, and understood your website. I’m not positive about it but i think it had slightly a few extra stuff compared to fbi.gov. Well, I am in high school, 14, and I am taking some serious thought on being an FBI Special Agent or “investigative work.” I am physically fit more than some other people and i have tried the FBI’s training course and it gives out a guideline or training guide that they are going to test you on. You know like the mile run and all of that. I am not extremely muscular but I am very fit. I am working on gaining more muscle and I know you need to have a bachelors degree and work experience but ill worry about that later. What I want to know is you don’t have to actually do everything like perfect in the physical test. Give me some details on how the FBI does the Physical testing and all of that? Thanks.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      It’s not the muscles that you have to worry about, it’s the ability to lift an equivalent of your own weight. If I can recall correctly, this can be done through a number of pushups within a minute or weight-lifting. You might not need to do everything perfect, but enough to pass. However, competition can be stiff and those who excel in the physical assessment will probably have the first dibs / will be picked first (other factors may come into play, but that’s usually the case). The FBI website should have further information you’re looking for.

  • samuel carvalho

    I am 19 years old and I born in Boston M.A but I grew up in Brazil for 17 years. I know how write and read in Portuguese and know slang too. I have always thought about being an FBI agent to try to combat drug traffic from Brazil to USA. Do you think the FBI volunteer internship can help me? What kind of advice could you give to me about how to be an FBI agent? I really would like to know more about it.


    okay so i’m a junior in high school and i have a 3.2 GPA currently and i will begin taking college classes this summer, I want to major in Criminal Justice, and i was just wondering if there was a specific height requirement for women and what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a US Marshal or working for the FBI.

  • P

    How many times will someone relocate over a career?

    • tey davis

      depends on the departments needs

      • Radek M. Gadek

        Tey, thanks for the insightful replies throughout this comment thread.

  • Alicia

    First off, many thanks for such a helpful and informative post. I am a junior in high school with a current GPA of 4.8, and a participant in multiple sports. I know you receive many comments like this one which lay out information and ask you to decide whether or not the commentee would “make it” in the FBI. You don’t know enough about me to make that judgement, so I won’t ask.

    What I wanted to ask was which courses to pursue in college – I know of the big ones (Computer Science, IT, Law, Accounting) but would like to know if these are just suggested options or mandatory degrees. If all continues as it should, I will be fluent in Spanish by the time of my application and intend to minor in the Spanish language if possible – I know this does not set me apart, as there are many others who speak more languages better than I could hope to. Would a double major be beneficial? I am leaning towards law rather than the other three choices for a degree as I am particularly strong in English.

    Thank you for your time.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I do appreciate the consideration and the foresight.

      To put it simply, the FBI has this thing called “critical skills” (Accounting, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Diversified, etc.) which are available under the FBI.gov “jobs” section (few clicks away). It’s a way to sort skills/education/talent of potential Special Agents. When you delve further you’ll find out what they are looking for in terms education.

      Pursuing what you will love to do, rather than what you will have to should be your biggest determinant. Would you practice Law if you didn’t get the job with FBI, or Accounting, or IT, or Physics, or Criminology, etc…

      In my opinion, double majors can be beneficial, but I think graduate degrees tend to be even more. You might not need a PhD, but a Master’s or a JD (Law degree) can be exactly what you may need. BTW a JD is a terminal degree, which is very good :-)

      Your written English and thought structure are excellent for the age group I’m assuming you’re in. There are tons of undergrad and even grad students who never develop such skills. Saying that, the learning doesn’t stop, keep writing and challenging yourself in other subjects and disciplines. Law schools want people with diversified points of view, well educated, and articulate. Check out some of my Law School tips – make sure to read the comments, too.

      Good luck!

  • Roy

    I am currently a freshman in college and I’m majoring in Criminal Justice and planning on getting a masters degree. Also, I’m going to try and become a police officer for more then three years and i was wondering if this is the right path in my pursuit in becoming an FBI agent. I still have a lot of time and would like to know what helps or stands out that would give someone more of an opportunity to get the job then others. I could also speak Spanish and I’m also going to learn another language most likely. Thank you

  • John

    I got my undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA. I have two years of auditing experience and am finishing up my CPA. I think I should have the accounting critical skill covered.

    I’ve been searching the internet to find out when the FBI will be hiring Special Agents again but can’t find anything. Does anyone know when they will accept applications again or any good sources to check?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      fbi.gov or usajobs.gov — as good as it gets for FBI career postings

  • Mackenzie

    I will be graduating next year with a bachelor’s degree in Criminology and also Spanish. I will then be going on to law school. How good are my chances of getting accepted without work experience (besides a job for 4 years in high school and any jobs in college)?

  • Melissa

    I plan on going into the army for a few years will that help me become an FBI Agent?

  • Brendan Hartford

    My plan is to enlist under the Coast Guard. I took the Asvab and under went the physical medical examination. I completed both of these tasks without problem. However, i later on by the MEPS Doctor i had been disqualified due to an issue with my knee. The MEPS Doctor feels confident that i would qualify for a waiver because the issue with my knee is minor. I guess my question are: is the Coast Guard an appropiate step towards becoming a FBI Special Agent?, also, If i do not qualify for the waiver, what other path would be best to take, if not accepted by the coast guard?

  • Anthony Christianson

    Hey, I’m a high school graduate who’s going to attend college in the fall with a major of criminal justice. In your opinion, what would be the best path to become a special agent for either the FBI or CIA? While I’m asking, what’s the fastest way to become a detective in the police force? Thanks for your help!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Please read some of the comments on the FBI and the CIA pages. They are full of great info, especially from some of the seasoned law enforcement responders.

      However, I feel that degrees like criminal justice are of great help and can be when looking into local and regional law enforcement jobs. For federal jobs, although I still feel criminal justice is great, other disciplines may OR may not be desired (business, accounting, finance, and law… for example). I still feel that despite the degree you get (hopefully a relevant one) that the needs of the agency come first, so that means that any of the degrees mentioned can be of great help or none at all — if the CIA needs Farsi speakers and most are with various degrees, the language skill takes precedence over a degree. Or, the FBI needs computer science majors at a given moment and the person with a CJ, Business, or Law degree may have to take a seat until next rounds of hiring. There’s no perfect answer here, but what I can suggest is that you check out the website or call the agency in question to find out more. They tend to drop subtle, and most often enormous, hints about their desired level of education.

      As for the detective position, please see the slew of questions and answers under the “police officer career” article or the “detective career” article.

      • cahca

        whats all the best subject to take for being a FBI

  • Keon Scott

    I just graduated high school and I will be in college in the fall and I was wondering if Forensic Psychology would be a good major to major in for the FBI? After undergrad school I’m intending on getting a masters degree in computer IT, would this be good to work for the FBI in their Cyber crime division?

  • Nick

    Will military background help getting into the FBI?

  • Faye

    I am very interested in becoming an Agent. I have begun working on my degree and saw that there was an age limit? Is there any way to get around that or is it carved in stone? I am now 40 and will have my BA in 24 months? I did not realize this was an issue, and I do not want to waste my time, but I have big dreams and I don’t want to settle for second best. Thanks for any advice or direction.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      They are pretty stringent on the age and allow for few exceptions, like: transfer law enforcement personnel and military veterans. I still would call a FBI recruitment office to make sure.

      • Faye

        Thanks so much for your response. I am so excited about this website…
        Will the FBI recruit people who are still working on their degree?

        • Radek M. Gadek

          As far as I know, you must have your degree completed at the time of application.

          • Josh Phillips

            Hey Radek I’m 15 and I’m just trying to get my goals set right now and I’m looking toward the FBI, I would like to be apart of The Behavioral Analyst Unit, I was wondering how often they are away from home and travel. I plan on going to the Air Force as part of the Security Forces. Do you think that would give me a heads up?


  • David

    Hey my mom was in the FBI until she passed away…will that in anyway better my chances of getting in the FBI

    • JNR

      Probably not. The FBI generally will base everything on you.

  • Khan

    Do you guys know if John J is one of the best college if your going for FBI?

  • GG

    it’s my first year of college and i’m hoping to major in Criminal Justice law. However i want a position in the FBI as a lawyer or something not very physical. Are there any jobs that i am able to take without the physical training and work?

    another question, are there any other jobs i can take with a criminal Justice degree?

  • Jordan Woodhouse

    Would It Be Good To Have A 4 Year Degree In Criminal Justice And Have A Previous Career In Police Enforcement?

    • JNR

      I’m sure that that would be an excellent application to pass their desks. The prior work experience in the law enforcement would help you greatly to get through the academy that all agents must go through to become an FBI agent.

  • rae

    I am currently a sophomore at college planning on majoring in Criminal Justice, I hope to pursue a job within the FBI and was wondering if being a single mother will hinder my chances.

  • Laney

    My boyfriend has been preparing for a career in the FBI since he was a kid- but I haven’t. I was wondering what types of strain the job realistically puts on relationships.
    -How often would an FBI agent be traveling?
    -how secretive does an agent have to be?
    -how safe is the position for spouses/family/kids?
    -does every FBI agent have to keep a gun in the house?


  • CM

    Hi Radek,

    I’m a Canadian citizen and have a BA in criminology from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. I understand American citizenship is required and I don’t see that as being much of a hurdle but what about the school my degree comes from? The FBI website says only schools that are accredited by the US Secretary of Education are acceptable. Does that mean I’m screwed by having a Canadian degree? Or does the US Secretary of Education accredit some international schools, too? The SoE website wasn’t very helpful at answering my question. Hopefully you can shed some light on this.


  • Josh

    I am 18 years old and I’m pretty set on what I want to do. I am now determined on achieving a position in the FBI by the age of 23 and I have done a lot of research on what I need to do and what majors are preferred over others. I looked into the CIA and other agencies, but they either deal with mostly desk work or intelligence gathering rather than the law enforcement aspect, or in some cases such as Border Patrol, the pay is not very good.

    I am planning on minoring in Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement, but I am still looking for two majors (I was originally going to triple major, but I realized a minor in criminal justice would be more than enough). I am a very active person and I am thrilled with the physical aspect of the job. What would you recommend as the top 5 majors specifically for the special agent position in the FBI? Also what characteristics and/or other attributes are they interested in seeing? I am currently doing MMA and I workout, but I am always up for more advice on what I can do to improve myself.

  • Jeanine

    I have a question regarding my degree. I graduated with a degree in Family Studies and Community Development and now I’m going into grad school for Social Work (although I’m not sure I’m 100% passionate about it.) I’ve looked some positions offered by the FBI (in addition to being a special agent) and its looking like I got a degree that will get me nowhere NEAR a job working for the federal government. I am thinking of getting my master’s in criminal justice instead of social work just because I’m not sure its something I want to do. In the mean time, does anyone have any advice as to what I can do with my current degree?

  • Tim

    Hey I’m going to be a freshmen in college planning to major in Criminal Justice and have a minor in economics. As far as my background I’m American Afghan and Muslim. I’m also fluent in English and Dari/Farsi. Lets say I have good grades and good GPA by the time I graduate, but no work experience. What do you think my chances are getting into the FBI as a special agent?

  • Cooper

    I am pursuing my masters in chemistry, and was wondering if I could apply straight to the fbi after getting my masters? Do I still need to have a job before applying or is a masters degree in chemistry sufficient?

  • Don

    I am currently in the Marine Corps and I am almost done getting my bachelors degree in Criminal Justice. I know alot of businesses prefer military sometimes because of our discipline, work experience and training, would I be a good candidate for the FBI?

  • Breathe My Air

    I Can’t believe i’ve read every post here XD

  • angelo

    Can FBI agents date their peers?

  • Jack Lee

    If you have a criminal justice degree with no law enforcement experience, they will look at your application and laugh at you. If your GPA is lower than a 3.5, they will laugh at you. They want people who really stand out and excel at everything, not average joes with a criminal justice degree. Their acceptance rate is similar to Harvard’s acceptance rate, so keep that in mind.

    My dad’s good friend is a current FBI agent and he told me this a couple years ago because I wanted to be one. He was an accountant for four years with a masters in accounting and had no law enforcement experience prior to getting hired. He was hired about 4 years ago at the age of 27. Oh yeah, your record better be squeaky clean!

    • skeen

      “If you have a criminal justice degree with no law enforcement experience, they will look at your application and laugh at you. If your GPA is lower than a 3.5, they will laugh at you.”

      Not true. A 3.0 from an Ivy League school looks a lot more favorable than a 3.9 from a Tier 4 university with a 99% acceptance rate. Where you go to school can account for a huge difference in GPA, as more competitive school typically grade much tougher, otherwise everyone who attended Harvard would have a 4.0, they are all very smart students.

  • Nacheal

    I feel like im a late bloomer due to my age (22) and im going to be start school for clinical psychology in jan of 2012. My goals are a phd in clinical psychology, a bs in criminal justice and some type of degree where I can learn foreign languages fluently. Am I going in the right direction to start a career with the fbi or am I starting too late since its between the ages of 23 to 37?

  • Kallie

    Hello. I am interested in being a criminal profiler for the FBI. i dont know if you have ever seen the show criminal minds, but that pretty much sums up what i want to do with my life. now i do realize this is only a tv show of course, so i realize somethings on the show are exaggerated to the extreme. so i was wondering what i should major in. Criminology, psychology, criminal justice, or forensic psychology?? all of these fit something that i will eventually but unfortunately i can not major in all of these.. could u possibly give me a little guidance???

  • Rebeccah A.

    I am in college right now working on my undergraduate BS/BA Degree. I am thinking of minoring in Psychology. I am also going to look at taking two language courses (French and Spanish). I’m only 17, but what would be the right time to apply for a job in the FBI? It’s been my dream since I was a young child to work for the FBI.

  • Nathalie

    Hey, great article! I’m like Rebeccah A. above. I have always wanted to work for the FBI since I was little and no matter how old I get, the dream sticks with me. I’m 16 and graduated HS., I go to community college now but will transfer in two years, and I want to double major in criminology and spanish, then get my masters in spanish. But my problem is I don’t know what kind of extra curricular activities to do! Internships are out of the question because I’m too young, and I don’t play any sports or anything, so do you know what else I could do so that I seem well rounded individual when I apply to the FBI? I know I still have years to go, but I dont want to be 22 and not have done anything yet.

  • kayla

    im 15, and i am looking at a career in criminal justice and i was wondering what specialized jobs are there in australia (as in FBI ect) cause i dont want to be a normal police officer i want to work more the rape victims and serial killings. so i was wondering if they have any specialised jobs in Australia that specifically relate to these types of investigations.

  • brandon

    I am getting out of the marines in about a year. Ill have my associate’s and be working towards my BD in CJ. My mos is 3432 and i just want to if i should continue towards a Masters degree, or try my chances once i get my BD? Also what other training would you recommend to further improve my chances.

  • Isabel calvo

    wich of the government agencies is best, the FBI or DEA?

  • Scott

    Do fbi special agents spend a lot of time away from home or do they come home most every night?

  • Alex Keen

    I am graduating in December with a Major in CJ (3.5 GPA) and a minor in accounting (4.0 GPA). Also have a CSI certificate from UCF and 3yr part time work experience. What are my best options for work after graduation? Should I try to enter to police force with the future possibility of applying to the FBI or do civilian work? Also would I be in the diversified group of applicants?

  • Mohammed Inzamam

    I dont mean to be rude, but is there any discrimination on account of religion?

  • Tim

    Do FBI agents work solo or with partners?

  • Remi

    I was wondering what type of jobs can one take that will help them gain skills that can be applied to an FBI Agent job

  • Brad

    I am currently a college sophomore, majoring in Justice Studies with a concentration in Corporate/Homeland Security, and I am also picking up a minor is criminology. As part of the major, I am required to take 12 credits of a language (minimum of 6 in one specific language). I am still early on in figuring out my career path, but I was just wondering if these areas of study are efficient for application to the F.B.I?

  • Scott

    I am 24 years old and just graduated college with a Business management degree and a minor in marketing (2.7 GPA). I want to pursue a career in the FBI as a special agent and was wondering what I should get my masters in to make me a better candidate. I was going to apply to the police force and then try to get to an investigator/detective role. Do you think that would be the way to go or should i apply right now with 2 years business experience?

    • T-Wil

      I saw your post and your situation reminds me of myself early this year.
      The FBI only hires at the GS-10 Level and above. This means you have to have at least a master degree with 2-3 years of relevant experience. Hence, getting a Master’s is a good idea in your case. AS for what you should major in depends on you and the critical skills the FBI are looking for.
      In my case:
      I’m 24 and got my Master’s Degree (MBA) in Financial Fraud and became a CFE this year. I also hold a BA in econ with a focus in accounting all while being employed at a bank since i was 16.
      So i was able to qualify for two of the FBI’s critical factors and show 5+ years of work experience. I made it two phase 2 of the hiring process this year before getting dQ.

      That is ok because i also got another offer for another Federal Agent job with another agency. So apply to every Fed Job and maybe you can snag one.

  • Francisco Cruz

    Im currently studying criminal justice (BA) in Puerto Rico, we have an internship with the FBI here available for those in their senior year, I read above that you needed 3 years of experience as a requirement, in addition Im in the military, my question is, How does those three years of experience that i dont have afect my chances of entering in the system, despite the fact that I am in the military (Totally Fit and Disciplined) and I will have my bachelors degree? Please answer via email in addition to this site, I would truly appreciate the effort

  • Joykan

    If I’m enlisted with the USAF/ANG; can I still be considered with the FBI?

  • Maria

    I’m a high school student and i love criminology and psychology, and i was thinking about my career in the future and i really wanted to be a criminal profiler but i would like to know how much they make and if its a good career with a good pay with today society. I would like to do something that deals with getting into the criminals mind and understand why they committed the crime and the understanding of it. If you could please write back some suggestions on what career i can look into that deals with it, and some helpful information on Criminal Profiling i would very much appreciate it

  • Kevin Davis

    I am graduating with a bachelors degree in psychology in about 9 months. And have served as a Reconnaissance Marine for four years. I know the selection process takes a while and was wondering if they accept applications a few months before graduation?

  • Mr. Gomez

    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    Please visit the FBI jobs website. Most of your questions can be answered there. If you need a more specific question answered pick up your phone and call the closest field office and ask for the applicant coordinator.

  • Kelsey

    I am currently a college student majoring in business and I also play division 1 lacrosse at my University. Is business a good field to major in? Or should I pursue something in the Criminology or Law field as is discussed earlier? Also, would being a college athlete increase my chances of being selected throughout the processes?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I feel business is a strong degree choice and being a college athlete is a positive factor. But, pick a degree based on your likes and aspirations; not on what’s the fad now. Good luck.

  • Rez

    I’m 35 years old and over the past few years I have been thinking about applying to the FBI or CIA. I am now about to go for it. I have a 4 years degree in Economics from an accredited university and worked for an Investment back for years and did a number of other jobs in film industry and mortgage industry. Ive been a photographer tho for the past 4 years since the real estate bubble burst. I speak fluent farci and have been on america for 33 our of my 35 years. US citizen obviously. I have read they are looking for people who can speak farci on everysight Ive checked. My question is do u think I have a chance and also I have done plenty of drugs in the past eventhough I don’t now will that hurt my chances? And is applying over the internet the only way to go and also what positions as an iranian american would I apply for?

  • CE

    I am currently a junior Neuroscience major with a 3.54 GPA (Neuroscience is really just a mix of the science courses needed for med school and psychology courses). I was wondering how easy/hard it would be to start out working in one of the labs and then switch to the Special Agent field if that is what I decide I would rather end up doing?

  • Mandy

    I am interested to apply FBI . To be honest, I am a 28 years old female who is deaf. I have a BA degree in Social Work…however, I did major in Criminal Justice for graduate school but didn’t complete it. My family has a rich background in law enforcement so I am familiar with risks and commitment. I am interested in a human trafficking program through I.C.E. agency but I am wondering if it’s possible for me to join FBI…any chances? Thanks.

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I’m not too sure on that. I think all Special Agents need to pass a physical examination and I would imagine this includes the ability to hear. On the other hand, there may be non-law enforcement opportunities of which I don’t know that much about. I would contact your regional FBI office for more information and also visit their website, which I think you’ve done by now. Good luck and let us know how things go.

      • Mandy

        Thank you for your reply. They did have some deaf agents who were experts for lip reading. I am not certain if they still do it in present. It depends on what they need to suit a specific case. I will keep you guys posted. Thanks…will need the good luck. =)

  • RUBO

    Hello Radek ,
    Is it alright if i get my criminal justice degree “online” will i have problem with it later on if i apply for FBI?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      I think it is. Your degree will not say you went to school online, but the school you went to might. So make sure to go to a reputable, regionally accredited school.

  • Devin

    hello i am planning to do ROTC through the air force with a computer science degree how competitive of a candidate would i be for an FBI special agent position

  • Dave

    I feel like Im a good candidate but I have dabbled in drugs over the past 10 years. Is that a definite disqualification? Will i have to try and beat a polygraph machine?

  • Larry

    i would like to know could i work in FBI lab if i’m not US citizens?

  • Brett


    Does anyone know if the FBI is currently hiring for special agents? The USA JOBS website never has any listings. Thanks for any help.

  • Ana


    I am 36 years old, spent 13 years as a Lt in the french Police, (experience in different areas, different crimes, and the last two years in narcotics…) I have a bachelor’s degree (economy, social, public law, english…), I know I am reaching the age limit and I don’t have for now the US citizenship, my husband is in the US Army… I speak french fluently of course and understands perfectly serbian (my mum was serbian) but don’t speak it so well…

    I was wondering if there could be any derogation for the age (I will be 37 in january),which could allow me to apply and get the US citizenship….

    Thanks for your answers and your help…..

    And a happy new year!

  • Frank

    When is it required to register within the selective service system?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      From what I remember that’s one of the requirements to obtain many federal law enforcement jobs. Recommendation: register for the Selective Service System as soon as possible. I think the registration cut off age for the Select Service System is 26.

  • Leticia marshall

    Hello I have prior service and have a bachelors degree. My GPA is a little low, due to burning out towards the end. Will they still consider me as an applicant. Also what is the safest agent job choice. If there is such a thing. I want to apply but not sure if I want to get shot at again or have to put my life on the line.

  • caz

    HI i was looking at the FBI website and saw this “All applicants for the Special Agent position must first qualify under one of five Special Agent Entry Programs. These programs include:

    Computer Science/Information Technology

    what is the diversified program? what does this mean: if you click for more information it says you must require a degree of any discipline. don’t know what this means could you help me out?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      The FBI’s “Diversified” entry program means that if you don’t hold any of the degrees that can qualify you for the entry programs listed above (Accounting, Computer Science / IT, Language and Law), you can still apply to work for the FBI with another degree. As it relates to education, the FBI wants its potential Special Agents to possess a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree from a properly accredited college or university.

  • Teresa

    great article!
    Ive got a question:
    I am going to study forensic science at a University of the Netherlands. I can speak English, German, Netherlandish, Spanish, Italian, Russian, French and Swahili fluently and have good knowledge at Arabic, Hebrew, Swedish and Japanese.
    Is it possible to become a FBI Special Agent with my European Bachelors Degree? Even if I would possess the other qualifications?

    Thanks for your answers and your help.

  • Joby Pate

    Hey, I got a question that wasn’t really answered while I was reading the comments. What are going to be the physical requirements? Will they teach you any thing you need to know combat wise if you were in the field? I’m just curious. I’m going try to be recruited into the marines in a short period and would also like to know how that would effect entrance into the FBI.

  • check

    I would like to know what does it mean to have three years of experience? like I can’t just go and apply after I graduate from a four-year college? and would a political science degree allow me to be illegible?
    Your help is greatly appreciated!

    • Radek M. Gadek

      From what I remember reading on the FBI’s website is that the “experience” is meant to be professional experience; where you have worked somewhere and progressively achieved promotion (you showing that you can take on new tasks and responsibilities, for example).

  • John

    This is a nice article. I’ve got a question. I graduated from university and awarded Bachelor’s degree in biology. I would like to apply for an examiner position at FBI. My question is that I am a u.s permanent resident and still need 1 more year to get u.s citizenship. Can I still apply for forensic examiner position at FBI now?

  • Pedro


    I think I’m a pretty good candidate for the FBI special agent position. My concern in applying rests in the fact that I’m married (no kids). So if my first post is away from my wife how does this transfer work? I’m prior military and the way it is done in the service is that I get additional funds for being married and to find housing. Does the FBI have special considerations for those that have to move a spouse due to relocating to a new area, such as providing extra funds as she will have to quit her present job. Thanks for your help.

  • Walter

    Hi, I have an urgent question which I can’t find an answer to in the FBI’s website. My question is, how often does an FBI Special Agent travel? And does the FBI Special Agent have a say in this? Because I’m planning on applying for a position as a Special Agent, but I do not want to travel to others states, countries, etc.

    P.S. I am fluent in both English and Spanish

    Thank you

  • Zach

    I will be enlisting in the Marine Corps right after high school, then attend college. If I were to pursue a career in the FBI or the CIA, would past military experience help me? Also, which one is more action oriented? I know it’s not like the movies haha, just curious.

  • Corey

    I’m 22 years old and I’m currently enrolled in college as a computer science major with a 3.3 GPA and I would really like to become an FBI Special Agent. However when I a teenager I got in trouble a with the law a couple times. I got into a fight in school at age 16 and I was charged with affray. This is only on my juvenile record however I know the FBI would have access to it cuz, well they’re the FBI lol. And at age 17 I got a marijuana possession charge and a minor in possession of alcohol charge. It’s been 6 years and I haven’t been in trouble since. Not even a speeding ticket. I read the requirements on the FBI website and they say anyone convicted of a felony is disqualified however none of these charges are felonies so technically I am still qualified. Nevertheless, I know the FBI would probably only be interested in candidates with squeaky clean backgrounds. Or do I still have any kind of a chance?

    • Radek M. Gadek

      Let me say this quick: you still have a shot! If it becomes an issue during hiring, you may be asked to explain things. Be forthright.

  • jerry

    what are some of the negatives in being an f.b.i agent?

  • Jazmine

    I just separated from the military where i did military police and held a security clearance, I definitely know i want to be in the law enforcement field and either get a job in a federal agency or as a US marshal, I’m having big trouble on trying to pick what i should major in to help set me apart from others when i start applying for jobs such as the ones i stated. I was thinking about going for my BA in Criminal Justice and specializing in National Security and Intelligence?… Would that be smart?, Would a degree like that open doors for me? Thanks for any info and opinions you can provide me with.

  • Nick

    I’m going to college in a couple years. I love linguistics but I also want to use that skill in criminal justice. I was wondering what are the chances of becoming a linguist for the FBI? What’s the salary? And what degrees I should get for that job? Thank you!

  • Houston

    Thank you for such an informative website. I only have one question:

    Based on the following information, would I make a good candidate?

    6 year honorable discharge from the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer Second class. (Military and Medical experience)

    BA in Social and Criminal Justice

    Top Secret Clearance (expires in 2015)

    Thank you for your time.
    -Houston McDaniel

  • Mark McKinley

    Hello, this is going to be an odd question, but I don’t have a sense of smell (was born that way) and was wondering if that would keep me from becoming an FBI agent. I already know I can’t be a police officer (because I can’t smell alcohol or other drugs).

  • Kara

    Hi I’m completely fluent in French and 2 other languages but does French qualify for the needs of becoming an FBI special agent? I am majoring in criminology, will this look good on my application? I for sure want to get into the FBI special agency.

  • Zach

    On the FBI website it says that I need 3 years of experience, could military count as experience rather than, being a police officer for 3 years?

  • Alex

    Do FBI Special Agents work in teams or alone?

  • Caitlyn

    Hello. First off I would like to say that this post is fascinating and very helpful! I was wondering how much you know about the Behavioral Analysis Unit? I am not asking this because I am a Criminal Minds fan, but because I am looking into getting a master’s in forensic psychology and this seems like a great job opportunity. What does it mean to be an SSA before you are in the BAU? I am a junior in high school at the moment so I am just trying to really understand and learn all that I can for my future. Also, I am not fluent in a foreign language or extremely good with computers. Is that going to be a hindrance? Sorry for all of the questions! Thank you for you help!

  • Dcas6075

    Hi! I am currently enrolled in college and majoring in law and criminal justice. it says you have to have 3 yrs of professional experience what type of job do you think i should try and get? Also, do you have any information on negotiation officer and how and what they need to do to become one?

  • Brandon

    What edge do people Really need to be in the FBI? I’m sure that attitude and character, people skills, physical ability, and overall intelligence outside of the classroom would be important..? How about a history of hard sports like football, and even maybe a scholarship in a sport?

    Other than requirements like college, work experience (like the military), and certain courses, is there anything that might make one applicant stand out from the rest?

    P.S. How might the hiring process link to any of the above listed? For example, is there emphasis on something like interviews? Are the applicants just papers, or are they represented as human beings…

    What will make the FBI people lean towards one person than the other.. some sort of variety.

  • Ron78

    Hi there! Can I apply to the FBI holding a 6-year foreign degree in Law and Political Sciences (Validated in FL-US, Bilingual, with various seminaries attended in the Law field) without having professional work experience in the US necessarily? By the time I apply, I will be almost 36 years old and a recent Naturalized US Citizen. Thanks in advance!

  • Miranda

    What are some of the pros of being a FBI Special Agent?

  • Brown88


    Here’s an interesting scenario:

    4 year division 1 athlete, 5x All-American in my sport. I am in EXCELLENT physical/aerobic shape.

    I’ll have a masters degree in a year with a little over 1 year work experience WHILE I was getting my masters.

    How would that look?

  • Olga

    Hello, I am really interested in pursuing my career to become an FBI agent however I do have a question here. I am a US citizen, been here for about 8.5 years but I still have my accent. Do people show too much attention to how clearly you need to speak and if you have a big accent or not. I know its probably the least someone should worry about, however it does bother me so I wanted to ask. Also, do you think it would be a good idea to begin doing some intense workouts or something like that?

  • James

    Can you still get in to the FBI with an online degree in Criminal Justice, if it is a 4 year accredited school but, you finish it in 2 years because you can finish online degrees faster. Also if you get your 2 years in at a law enforcement agency like a cop

  • Dustin


    I have an economics degree from a fairly reputable school and a decent GPA but nothing to write home about. I worked in a professional setting full-time all through college and currently work for a large corporation in their accounting firm. I am starting my MBA in accounting in August and was considering applying to the FBI after graduation. Would I be a suitable candidate for the FBI? I will also say that I have never had any military training but I am very fit and have hundreds of hours of weapons training, and am currently working on a second language. I am very interested in becoming a part of the FBI but I am wondering if a civilian with no military or law enforcement ties can become a field agent and not stuck in a desk all day?

    Thanks for your response in advance.


  • brandon

    Hello, I was hoping you would know what are the views on former military personal applying. If I was to attempt to become an agent my resume would have some of the following 6-8 years U.S. Army experience, associates or bachelors in Cyber Security (depending when I get out of the army), age 23, MOS (military job) is networking and cyber security, clean background (joined army after HS)… and secret clearance but hopefully have a top secret soon

  • Steve

    I am a 22 year old IT professional with a B.S. in Computer Science and will soon have my M.S. in Digital Investigations. I am athletic and very well spoken – especially for a person with my technological skill-sets. I also already have two years of professional career experience as a Systems Administrator. Can you recommend anything that might help me get my foot in the door with the FBI? Every decision I have made for the last 5 years has been in preparation for Special Agency, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  • Li


    I have a PhD in physical biochemistry (GPA higher than a 3.5), I speak some Spanish (not fluent, but I can get by in a pinch). I am in good physical condition but have no experience with guns. Overall an okay application. My one fear: I’m openly gay. Do you think I have a chance? Would I be likely to experience any problems from the other guys at the academy?


  • Bud

    I’ve been curious about joining a special agency for while. I’m 27, been in the Army 9 years, deployed twice, tons of military school and have a 4 year degree in criminal justice with a gpa of 3.9. I have a specialty in homeland security. I just would like to know what else I need to be competitive to get heads to turn. Should I use my high ranking contacts or will that just piss people off?

  • Amber

    Hi there, Radek.
    First, I’d like to say I think it’s wonderful that you’re so helpful on this blog. You seem to have excellent research skills and spend a considerable amount of time on the answers, that’s admirable. With that said, I’m 19 and am attending a University in Florida studying criminology. I’m planning on double majoring in anthropology because I’m very interested in archaeology as well as law enforcement. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to work in the field of criminal justice, though my specific career aspects have changed multiple times (police officer, detective, CIA agent, FBI agent, etc) I have came upon the decision to shoot for becoming a FBI agent. I’m absolutely fascinated with the idea and I cannot wait to get started. There are a few things I’d like to know. One, should I be double majoring in something else instead of anthropology, like say psychology? I know the website says things like accounting and what not will help your application, but those things do not interest me and I would for one be terribly bored. I’m fine with psychology, in fact I initially began with that as my double major, but my interest in archaeology began to grow and I switched it. I am a freshman, though so I have time to change my mind a thousand more times.

    My next question is, would it look good on my application to join the local police force part time? I’d like to fulfill the three year professional work requirement as soon as possible, though i’m unsure as to whether a part time job would fulfill it or even if being a police officer will set me apart from other candidates.

    If you could help to answer these questions for me, I’d very much appreciate it. Also, if there is anything you can add from your experience that you think might set me apart from other candidates in this process, I’d very much appreciate that as well. Thank you for your time.

  • Brittany

    I’m planning on joining National Guard,
    I’d have to be with them for 6 years, would i still be able to get accepted into the FBI while in the National Guard?

  • Alissa


    I’m currently pursuing my degree in Criminal Justice and I am interested in working in the BAU. Particularly in the BAU-3 (crimes against children). What type of minor should I pursue? Psychology, or sociology? I already have Spanish as a minor but I want to double minor. Also, do you recommend someone who wants to be an agent go for their masters to have a better chance or just stick with a Bachelor’s degree?

    Thanks for your help in advance!

  • vincent

    once you’ve completed training & you have been accepted into the f.b.i do they assign you a location to live for example new york, san francisco, etc or do you have a choice of where do you want to live?

  • brenda

    could you still become an fbi agent if you have a past history of mental illness but have had or is still be treated for it??

  • ally

    i wanna be in the special unit when i grow up like helping people with rapes, abuse… etc for the persons job how much do they get paid n how many hours do they usually work and stuff like that?

  • Erin Corinne

    I’m looking into the BAU, and by the time I apply, I will have completed my PsyD in Clinical Forensic Psychology, and have two masters in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Justice. I may or may not also pursue a PhD in Applied Behavioral Analysis. My GPA is outstanding, and I’m a Marine Reservist. I also am fluent in four languages. Will these factors impact my initial salary or position? Thanks very much in advance for your time!

  • alex

    Would having a top secret clearance before applying be something that would give me and edge?

  • Stephen

    I want to become an FBI special agent in accounting. I’m in my last year of college at South Carolina State University. What will be the best thing for me to do next and can you name some schools that have some great graduate programs?

  • Liz

    In the information that was provided, it stated “You must have at a minimum three years of professional work experience.” What kind would you suggest. Is it anything in particular?

  • Makenna Manos

    What kind of professional work experience can I get involved in until I’m old enough to apply?

  • Leia

    I’ll be starting my Criminal Justice/Social Work degree this fall. My life experiences have made me a strong advocate for law enforcement, particularly being against drug use and human trafficking. I’m still not sure of what exactly I want to be, but I do know I want to make a difference.

    My question is this: Has there been a significant increase in FBI applicants and agents since “procedural cop shows” became popular, and has that affected the quality of the agency? Does the agency have any preference to those who have life experience as opposed to those who meet qualifications on paper? Would an emotional drive effect the screening process?

  • Hannah

    I’m really interested in working for the FBI and have a Law Degree, advanced qualifications (not degree) in Forensic Archeology and am now sitting the final year of a Forensic Sciences Degree for which I am predicting a 1st, I also speak decent French.
    I am 24 years old.
    However, I am English and not a US citizen, does that completely rule me out of ever working for the FBI?

    • Radek Gadek

      You can be an English native, but must have US citizenship to work for FBI.

  • Sam

    Could you become a special agent if you have medical problems like a hip replacement and/or scoliosis?

  • Adam R N

    I am so glad i stumbled upon this website it has answered many of the questions I’ve had. My question is about the polygraph you are required to take. I feel I get extremely nervous when it comes down to important situations and was wondering how strict they review the results. Like say one of the questions is “have you ever used cocaine in your lifetime?” My answer is no but could the polygraph say I was lying on account of me being nervous. Is that one of the FBI’s main ways of weeding out “bad seeds”? Also I am a little confused about the work experience. Can participating in the internship programs offered count as work experience?

    Thank you very much and you should be getting paid for your advice haha. You are the MAN!

    • Radek Gadek

      Ah the infamous polygraph. There are many schools of thought with some proponents and stern opposition. Experiences do vary, but to get more info check out antipolygraph.org. There’s some info from both sides there, despite the name of the website. Hope this helps.

  • stephen

    If someone has only a little bit of schooling but has years of experience in other things such as us army green berets and speaks 2 languages is there any waivers for the not having a bachelors degree portion or is it out of the question?

  • Robert Hoff

    Ive never had any trouble with the law @ all. But I know all the ins & outs of criminal life people always tell me I’m a born detective. But I’m 32 – I have “friends” that are criminals. These people trust me- my father was a cop all my uncles are or were cops.- its in my blood. If there is any job for me (not just being a rat) but a real way to be in the action – give me a 1 chance and u won’t be sorry….!!!!!

  • Kyle R.

    I’m majoring in criminal justice this upcoming year as a freshmen in college. I was wondering what i should minor in that would best help me become an FBI Agent. Also, what type of intern programs should i look at that would give me an inside track?

  • paige

    i am a Canadian citizen, and im thinking of going into the FBI, (i know i will have to get my US citizenship) but would they accept a degree from the university of British Columbia? or does it have to be an American University?
    thank you

  • Anthony

    My name is Anthony and I have a BS in Criminology/Criminal Justice from a private school with a 3.8 GPA, as well as a minor in Political Science. I have served eight years in the Army National Guard with several promotions, and I am currently a NYS Trooper. I recently applied to the FBI and am simply waiting now. I am 5’10” – 200lbs, and in great shape. I have no Criminal Record and a clean-slate background. Am I in? What do your great minds think?

  • Sara

    I was just notified that I am going on to phase II and the interview is in a few days away. I am pretty nervous and have read loads and loads of stuff on the interview and am unsure what to believe. Can you please help me find any information that made be valid… sample questions, etc? I only have a few days to prepare and lack information in order to do so. Please help me in any way that you can.

    Thank you

  • Faith

    What would an FBI’s family life be like?

  • Justin M.

    Hello there my name is Justin and im wondering something. im currently in the United States Army and when i get out im wanting to get into the FBI. Now i don’t have a college degree but i do have some college under my belt. Now do i have to have that degree before i try to go to the academy or does that come into the picture later on if i get accepted?

    • Radek Gadek

      As far as I know, you would need a minimum of a Bachelor degree from an accredited college or university. Your military experience will definitely be considered (Veteran’s Preference), but a degree is required. Always check with the FBI’s website for up-to-date information.

  • Joe

    I am interested in working for the FBI but am also interested in starting a family when I am older. Is it possible to be an agent and still have a family? Also, how long is one stationed in an area of operation for the FBI until they are asked to relocate? (on average, since it’s obvious the time the operation takes to complete is a varying factor)

  • Lamar

    If i have a law degree do i need work exp

  • phyllis

    Why is the age cut off so low. I have a four year degree in the medical field. I run marathon’s and bet most 20 year olds in 5&10k’s. I am a 44yr female and have a memory like no other (when I want to). I took a few criminal justice classes, but chose a different career because of kids. Now that I have the freedom to join the FBI, I can’t because of age. Why? Life experience’s is also a plus.

  • Kirstin

    I am a sophomore in high school and I am planning on attending a community college and earning my criminal justice degree and then transferring to a university to get my law degree. I think I would enjoy taking criminology or maybe forensics more but I understand that having a law degree is much more impactful on my chances at consideration or even getting hired to become an FBI agent. Is that true? Is it better to have a law degree then say, criminology? One more question, in order to get into the FBI academy in Quantico VA, do you need to have the requirements like 3 years of professional experience or do you graduate from the Academy and then get the requirements? Thanks for all your help!

  • lee

    I have my bachelors in criminal justice, my masters in criminal justice administration, 3 year in the army with 2 deployments, and qualified in pashto. I want to be a FBI special agent and wanted to know how hard it would be. I’m 25 and really want to do this. Would I be competitive? How hard is phase one testing?

  • Jessica

    I have a bachelors degree in Art History, and am beginning graduate school for an MA in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies. I am extremely interested in applying for the FBI, and feel like I would be best suited to work in the Art Crime Team unit. Is there a way to better increase my chances of being placed in that unit? Will there be a time when I can make a request like that, or is it pretty much completely up to my superiors?


    • Radek Gadek

      Having direct experience with Art, high profile pieces, can be very helpful. Internship or work experience in the field can be of value. Knowing the financial ins and outs of the “Art World” is also something to consider while obtaining experience.

  • Ryan

    so if i am reading the fbi website correctly, if you have contacts that correct your vision to 20/20 and 20/40 then you should not need lasik surgery correct?

  • Paul M.

    Have one question, an that is. I have used marijuana even though I stopped and don’t plan on using it again, will this not allow me to get in a fbi agency? I’m from california and I use to smoke heavily. I’m still in HS, it’s a passionate dream I have to become an fbi agent. P.S. I think your blog is very helpful and awesome.

  • Anne

    I just graduated with a BA in criminal justice and want to pursue a masters of science; however, I do not know what to go for. I want to work for the FBI in organized crime. Which master programs would you recommend? Also, is there that big of a difference between a MS and a MA?

  • Jim

    I have a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice and I am fluent in Spanish. But I do not have work experience, do you think I could still have a chance for the FBI? I will start my PhD in Criminal Justice next year. What are my chances?

  • Mendes

    I’m currently in the Marine Corps, my job as of now is a Marine Security Guard (MSG) guarding the embassies overseas. I have a TS, and a B.A in psychology. My MOS (job) before being a MSG in the Corps was a radio technician. I’m wondering how hard it would be for me to be a special agent in the intel, counter-intel, or criminal field?

  • michael

    My fiancée is in the military and about to get out and she wants to join the FBI but is iffy because I have a felony conviction from when I was 18 and she not sure if she would be able to get in because of that. Will my conviction not allow her to be in the FBI . Thank you…

    • Radek Gadek

      It shouldn’t.

  • Mike

    Does a career in the military meet the “3 years of professional work” requirement?

  • Michelle

    Hello, my name is Michelle. I am 23, single and have no kids. I am fluent in both English and Spanish. I have a bachelors degree in criminology with a GPA of 3.74. I am currently torn between choosing either the coast guard, air force and marines. I want to choose the branch that will help me the most when I get out in order to be in the running for a special agent position. It’s my dream to become and agent. I plan to either be a security guard in the marines aka military police as well as the air force and if I were to go coast guard I’d first be a seamen with experience in all areas but Later apply to maritime law enforcement.

  • Michael

    Does the FBI have any restrictions on applicants health? I have type 1 diabetes.

    • Hillary Davis

      Im right here with you Michael! Good question!

  • Fausto

    I’m looking to pursue a career with the FBI but i’m wondering on the chances and transfer-ability of pay. I’m currently a GS-1102-13 with DOE. I’ve been an 1102 with the air force as well, and i have supervised, led, trained, and managed teams and high value contracts. I’m prior military, 6 years also doing contracting. I have BS in business and a Master in Administration, acquisition and contracts management. In the 1102 series i have performed audits and inspections of contracts, and i’m very familiar with how to inspect and do tons of research and write documents. Will this background be something in your experience that the FBI would be interested. Also, I currently have an active clearance, and would have no problem attaining a TS-SCI.

  • Ashley Jackson

    So I’m really interested in working with the FBI but are there any desk jobs. I have severe asthma, allergies, and a severely dislocated right knee of which I couldn’t run or jump on with out my immobilizer brace even if I tried. I don’t think I would pass the physical exam, but is there any other way around the physical exam?

  • nick a

    Hi Radek,
    I have an MBA and a pretty good job making 75k a yr at a technology co. However, I am interested in applying for the FBI special agent position but I realize I would be taking a pay cut. So I’m not sure what I should do. Do you know how long is the average special agent career is and what agents usually do after a special agent career?

    Please share any info you think would help me make a wise decision based on the very little info I supplied. Thank you.

  • Syed

    When you say “professional work”, does it have to be with law enforcement or with anything. I am majoring in Business so if I work like in a company that doesn’t have to do with law enforcement, will that count as 3 years of professional work?

  • Cynthia

    I really want to learn more on what i want to study for college, I want to become an FBI Agent or be part of an SRU unit.. like the shows “Flashpoints, and “Criminal Minds” what do I have to do ? or what do i have to major in to become one ?

  • Chloe

    I’m a freshman in high school, and I know it’s young, but it’s good to think about these things. My GPA is a 3.88 and my weighted GPA (Honors and AP classes) is a 4.6. I am a native English speaker, I have three years of Spanish under my belt, and I am planning on continuing it through high school. I also plan on leaning Arabic during my high school or college career. I’m in good shape, I do lots of sports, and I also do lots of clubs (mostly to help others, internationally, regionally, etc..) I’m hoping to go to a well known college that specializes in what the FBI or any other federal agency looks for, for that matter. If I continue on this path is there a good chance for me being any kind of competition or giving me an edge? If not what else can I do to improve my chances.

  • Kristine

    I am majoring in digital forensics and I want to eventually get a job in the FBI. I am considering minoring in spanish, would this help me at all to get in the FBI?

  • Harry

    I’m working my way towards my bachelors in Criminal Justice. I am wondering if I became an FBI agent, can I work for the FBI Agencies in another country, like Japan or Russia?

  • Lauren

    for those 4 years of law enforcement experience, could that be a Federal Prison Correctional Officer?

  • Maggie rule

    What are my chances on being selected by the FBI if i have a masters degree in criminal justice, a CPA in accounting, helicopter pilot, fluent spanish speaker and scored a 2 on my russian test, and i have a 3 year work experience as a police woman? All my studies were made at ohio state university…. Thanks for your help

  • Cassandra


    I have a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s in Criminal Justice as well. I would like to become a community outreach specialist for the FBI. I don’t have any experience in the field but have been doing research for the better part of my undergraduate and graduate years. What other skills would help me be a better candidate for this job?

  • Olga

    Hi there! So I applied for a volunteer internship with FBI and so far I know that quite a few students were rejected for this year, but I’m still awaiting for my verdict. I’m fluent in Russian and Ukrainian (English as well). Have a 4 year experience as an interpreter, I’m also a certified document translator. Currently working at doctor’s office as a medical records clerk, and completing my BA in Global Studies with minors in Criminal Justice and Business. GPA = 3.35… And I’m 25 y.o. What are my chances??? Thank you!!

  • Smith

    becoming an FBI special agent has been a dream of mine since i was young, and i’ve spent much of my life trying to prepare myself for it and to make myself more marketable to them when it comes to the hiring process.

    To date, i have:
    -6 years military experience as an intelligence analyst and linguist
    -a top secret security clearance
    -fluent in spanish and english
    -two bachelors degrees in spanish and legal studies
    -3 years of work experience with the local drug unit as a spanish translator

    and with all this i still feel like being selected for the position will be tough. My point is, for all you fellow aspiring special agents, don’t settle for mediocrity! strive to make yourself stand out. I’ll starting the application process next year. wish me luck!

  • Kristyna

    Other than criminal justice, what else should we take in college to qualify?

  • Breanna

    If i went to a 2 year community college and then went to a university for 2 years and obtained my bachelors degree, would i still have a good chance at becoming an FBI special agent?

    • Radek Gadek

      Many students choose to do exactly what you are considering. I don’t see why not.

  • Erin Williams

    What high school courses are recommended if you have an interest in becoming an FBI special agent? Should I go towards more of biology courses or criminal studies?

  • Syed

    What if i am Muslim? Can i still apply to be an FBI agent?

  • Caio Jesuino

    Great info in this website. I’m a native from a different country. I got here in the US when i was 22 and now I’m over 26. To register for the Selective Service you have to be between 18 and 26 years old. I have never heard of Selective Service until i checked the job requirement for the FBI. I tried to register as soon as i found out but they wont let me now. One of the disqualification for the Bureau is “failure to register”. Do you think that could be waived since I’m not from here and didn’t know anything about it. Thanks for your time!

  • Faye

    Hey, I’m a Junior in high school and I want to become a FBI agent. My problem is, I don’t know what my major in college should be! I would also like to understand more about having prior work experience. Can someone help?

  • Alex Mandare

    Can your family get involved with the FBI work? Like someone takes your family as a hostage?

  • Emily

    One possible issue that I would appreciate some feedback on. If you are a mother of a young child, are there any child care facilities at the FBI training academy?

  • Hassan

    Can a FBI Special Agent background check hold me back if I have shoplifting record that happened once when I was 18?

  • Bryan

    Hello Mr. Gadek, I am currently a freshman at FIU (Criminal Justice major) and i am also pursuing the Navy Reserves as a way to gain experience. I have always wanted to be part of the FBI but i have recently been discouraged by my teacher, after he said, “If you guys are thinking about joining the FBI, you are taking the wrong major.” Just wanted to know your thoughts on that and if i should minor in something what should it be? Thank you and i think that your website is a great success!!

    • Radek Gadek

      I think I tackled this one somewhere in the comments, but the gist of it is: Business, Finance and Accounting are very strong degrees. Law is another big one. Your professors are more right than wrong, but there are CJ grads that get into the FBI. However, I have a feeling there’s fewer of them when compared to Business and Law degree holders.

  • Alan

    I am not a citizen of the US but I have a work permit, license, I have applied for the selective service and Have a social. Am I still Able to be part of the FBI?

    • Radek Gadek

      No, US citizenship (born or naturalized) is mandatory.

  • Kyle

    How much would having a military background help?

    • Radek Gadek

      In many cases military background may be very helpful.

  • Darius

    Quick question,
    Does 4 years in the Military with combat experience count for experience for FBI training?

    Also, once place in your career how much time will you have with your family?

  • John

    I’m a Freshman in college and majoring in criminal justice with a minor in spanish. My desire is to be a fbi special agent. When I graduate from college, I plan on becoming a police officer for 3 yrs before I apply to be a fbi special agent.Would a minor in spanish be helpful to me to speak more fluently or should I major in it? would majoring in a foreign language look better on my resume than majoring in criminal justice?

  • Shanice

    Hello, Ive currently been looking into the Fbi as a future career option. First, I’d like to know whether a BA/BS in Sociology would qualify myself to work in the Agency? I’d also like to know it’s physical demands for a person whom may have Diabetes? Also, how demanding is the job as far as balancing it with family and possibly going back to school for a masters?

  • Wright

    What happens if you have bladder problems will the FBI keep you from working cases or undercover ops?

  • Hillary

    I am a female and am a sophomore in high school, and i run cross country, and have taken health courses. I want to volunteer as an EMT. I am currently learning Spanish. I have taken a course in Drafting although i doubt this would help haha. I have type one diabetes, but it is very controlled, and i have perfect vision, hearing, etc. I am in great physical shape. I like high stress activities more than regular activities. I love the adrenaline and the rush. I want to major in forensic science, and pick up a few languages along the way. (Arabic, etc.) So even if I had a degree in forensic science do you think I would be a great candidate for a field agent job?? Please reply!!!

  • Firas Damascus

    I am student that is working on a criminal justice major. I can speak Arabic (With Egyptian, Iraqi, Syrian, Saudi accent) and English fluently. 6’1 175lb male can easily pass any police academy physical and written tests. I have a 3.5 GPA average from California State Long Beach. With my general stats, would I stand a chance against the other candidates? Am I Below average, average, or above average?

  • ana armendariz

    Will the FBI hire you if you have tattoos?

    • Andrew

      I’ve heard many stories on the polygraph exam (about how inaccurate and hard it is to pass even if you are one of the most honest people on earth). How difficult is it? I’m worried because I know I have honest qualities, but I think my minor anxiety will create non-passing results.

  • Pegz

    I will be graduating this July from UK university with my degree in Sociology and I am thinking of doing a Masters degree in Forensic Psychology. I am a native speaker in English and Greek and also hold a degree in German.

    I have no experience yet but I will be getting some. Do you think my application into the FBI (particular interest in their Behavioral Analysis/Science Unit) will be at least taken under consideration?

  • sabrina Munoz

    I am currently finishing up my last semester in college and I’m getting my bachelors degree in criminal justice and sociology. I was wondering if it would be beneficial to get my masters in business since my school only offers a business masters program. Is getting a masters degree worth getting for a career in criminal justice and a potential job in the FBI?

  • Emma

    I want to be a FBI special agent. But I live in Norway. Is it possible for me then?

  • Marie

    I have read most of the comments here, and 90% of them are ones that can be answered by simply reading the requirements on the fbi site.
    Here are my questions:
    #1-Is a degree required for all of the Professional Staff positions (not SA)?
    #2- What are other agent jobs that would not have an age limit or require a bachelors degree? I have less than zero interest in the military and I know the CIA states that having downloaded music in the past likely disqualifies you.

    I have some college credit towards an associate but dropped out after several long years of changing majors at technical schools and struggling having zero interest in those fields, especially once I found out that in that field I would need a BD to get any decent job. Why struggle to get a degree in a field you hate when it will be useless anyways? Sadly, it is too late for me to try for SA- I would need to graduate a new program in 4 years while getting relevant work experience in an economy where no one is hiring, while training to be able to do pushups and pass the physical. In 4 years I would be 36. If not accepted, I would be in debt and with nothing to show for it. I read an article stating that many many candidates get to academy and fail the physical and are asked to leave.

    • Katie

      what are the odds of getting killed on the job??

  • Angelina

    Hi Radek, I have always had a huge interest in Criminal Law/Enforcement. In my career my 2 fav’s were working criminal attorneys & PA State Police. I always wanted to try a Prison guard but was held back by family. Now that I read you blog its upsetting to me since 37 is the cut off and I am just 38 in Feb. No college, but I have street smarts and believe to have that knowledge (will say Crime) is a 70/30! So why is the age so young? Is their any other position in the field for instance secretary that I could look into? Open for All INPUT. TY so much, Angelina

    • Radek Gadek

      The age limits for law enforcement positions, like police officers, is low due to mandatory retirement/pension related legislature. Also, the age issue lends itself to those who may start to experience physical limitations nearing 40. Will you be able to help those in need? how about yourself if pinned by a 220lb attacker?

      There are departments with less stringent age restrictions or no age restrictions for law enforcement jobs. Those seem to be few and far between.

      Restriction on age apply most often to law enforcement based positions. It is a different case for support personnel, like what you’re referring to. The positions are there, the jobs aren’t… at least not yet. Look around and see what you can find. Different parts of the country are experiencing the economical factors, well, differently. Would you consider moving if you found a good job? Lots of nuances to consider. Lots of questions to ask yourself.

  • Victoria

    Hello, I have A Couple Questions. Firstly, I Am A Female Who Wants To Be An FBI agent. It Is My Life Time Dream Job. I Am Going To Major Is Psychology, And Perhaps Get My PhD. I Am Also Going To Minor In Criminology And Special Interest Of Linguistics.My First Choice Is To Become A Behavioral Scientists. I DO Much Research On My Own regarding The Field Of Criminology And Profiling. My Question Is, Which Study Would Benefit Me The Mos? Does It Sound Like I Would Be A Good Candidate? I Get Above Average Grades And I A Very Good Physical Shape. Any Comments Would Help. Also, I Plan To Study Arabic, As I Am Interested In Counter-terrorism As Well. I Plan On Constantly Building My Skill Set. (My Phone Is Typing Weird, Sorry)

  • Bryan

    I want to go to the fbi academy but i want to know if i can get in because I have a shortening in the right pelvis of 6 centimeters by cancer

  • Sara

    Radek Gadek I just wanted to thank you for putting this up. It’s really helpful.
    To everyone asking about pay or minor details: FIND OUT WHY YOU WANT TO JOIN. Having some passion for your job will take you even further.

  • Samantha

    What exactly do you mean by the requirement you listed about having professional experience? What qualifies? Just any job, could I say have been a pro ballet dancer before I applied? Is that considered a profession?

  • Matilda

    What language would be the best to know out of Russian and Arabic, if you want to work in the FBI?

  • Sam

    I plan on going into the air force after college and i will be graduating with a major in criminology and a minor is psychology and possibly political science I was wondering how the F.B.I. would feel about me being in the Air Force?

  • Xavier

    I’m currently in my third year of college majoring in criminal justice. However, I’m having difficulty narrowing down what careers I want to look into after I graduate. I’ve put some thought into the FBI and in being a federal position I understand that it’s difficult to get in. My question whether having to relocate is mandatory? What are the chances that I’d be stationed where I’d want to work?

  • keyanna

    Hey! I am a sophomore in college working on my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in forensics! I want to get my master’s degree in criminal justice… What would better my chances of becoming a FBI? Would a master degree make a difference? I really need an answer to this question… If i do an internship, would that help also?

  • Chafed 13

    I’ve been hearing from my CJ advisors that its nearly impossible to get into the FBI right out of college with a Bachelors degree in CJ they said you need a masters or policing or military experience. I’ve heard from close family friends who work for ICE that this isn’t necessarily true. Just wanted to see if this is true or not for the FBI and other federal agencies such as DEA ATF etc

  • Anna

    Radek Gedek would you recommend Brown Mackie College courses to start my FBI career ?

    • Radek Gadek

      Probably not… it’s not a reputable school and it’s for-profit.

  • Torrance

    I have a BBA in econ, graduated last may and I’m interested in law enforcement specifically FBI. How long does the application process take (specifically how long until I can expect to hear back after application is complete)?

    I noticed a requirement that stated an applicant has to have 3 years of work experience. Does that have to be consecutive and/or at the same job?

    Is there a place where I can find, study material for phase l & ll testing?

    Will the local FBI help/mentor during the application process?

    Thank You

  • Roksana

    Hi. I am currently 4th year student of Criminology & Forensic Psychology, additionally doing courses in Forensics. I am Polish, but study in UK, fluent in English, native Polish, also study Russian and Arabic. After a masters in Transnational Crime and Security & Forensic Science, and multiple courses in Criminal Profiling, I plans to join Police in UK. My question is – it is possible to be trained by FBI (I am particularly interested in Behavioral Unit) throughout UK Police forces? Or if I decide to go back to Poland, do you have any information that FBI trains EU police officers? Many thanks!

  • Marisa

    How does the FBI view college abroad? I plan to get my degree in Europe but I want to make sure that wont hinder my chances of being accepted. Any help is much appreciated!

  • Abraham Chavez

    I’m 18, joining the marines in a few months and since i’ve wanted to become an FBI agent, i was wondering if that would help me or at least benefit me into getting in to a physical related position career? I plan on getting atleast 8 years of service.. please respond i need to know

  • Ali

    Hey, Im working on getting a bachelors for CJ from a community college. I know it sounds weird that community colleges offer a 4 year degree, but mine does. Any who, consider I have finished my bachelor degree and had my three year work experience as a jail officer; will that do any good towards my chances to join the FBI? I’m also bilingual, I speak English and Arabic fluent.

    Thank you,

  • Savannah Montpelier

    I’m only 15, but all my life I’ve absolutely dreamed of joining the FBI in the White Collar division. I was wondering, are there any colleges that the FBI prefers/recommends? I want to major in law or criminology. I already am speaking Spanish.

  • Victoria

    Honestly I dont care about the money, I’m 16 years old right now but I’m going to be 17 in 2 weeks.I’m a sophomore in high school and will be 19 when I graduate. I want to be a FBI simply because people said I couldn’t . They said I wasn’t smart enough and the FBI wouldn’t accept people like me with my disability. I have short term memory, I’ve had it since I was 4. Im a really hard working person and won’t easily give up. I know this is kinda crazy but when I watch criminal minds, my heart skips a beat, my palms get sweaty, I feel like that’s where I belong in life. I know the real FBI is nothing like the reality show but it gives me hope and only god knows what I can offer to the FBI . I hope my future is promising

  • Emily

    I am a single mother and I would like to become an FBI agent. I have a 4 year degree in Accounting and I am fluent in English and Spanish. Should I try even if I am a single mother?
    If so, when I go to training, will my child be able to live with me?

    • Alex

      Yes you should try. You possess the minimum requirements necessary to become an agent. However, if you are hired your child will not be allowed to live with you during training.

  • Jon Arzeta

    How long does it take to become an BAU? What are the steps? I’m studying Criminology and Sociology.

  • Mary

    Hi Could i be a FBI agent if i have Diabetes or a thyroid problem ?

  • Katie

    Does military service count as 3 years of professional work experience? also what would be the best military route to increase chances of getting hired? I am thinking of either going to school first to get nursing degree then do three years in the navy nurse corps for experience or get into the military now as a army military police and after the two years apply to the Army CID. I am also planning to learn Arabic I am currently fluent in Spanish..
    I would greatly appreciate any response, Thank You.

  • Aj

    Is it to late?
    I have always wanted to be FBI agent.
    I am 40 yrs old, fluent in Arabic, 4 year degree (criminal justice), currently sales manager, very athletic and in good shape. What are my chances.

    • Rayleen


      Yes, you are eligible so far to apply for the BAU, but you also need 3 years of experience of an FBI special agent.

  • Cody Odiorne

    I’m in the navy, I have 3 more years on my contract and I’m planning in tee losing for an additional 3. So by the time I get out I’ll be 26. I want to be a special agent. I currently work as an IT. I haven’t started on my degree yet but when I do I’m wondering if I should go for a computer science degree, or a criminal justice degree. I’ve read up on the application process as well as training. Just would like to know which will help me stand out more.


  • Kristian Maki

    I’m currently enrolled in criminal justice working towards becoming an FBI agent. I have metal plates in both of my hands on the 4th and 5th metacarpals. Would I still be eligible to join the FBI with these circumstances?

  • chiara

    I’m a USA citizen and I speak fluently 5 languages: English, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese-Mandarin and Russian.
    I’ve lived in Israel , graduated high school there and served in the IDF for 3 years, plus I finished a biochemistry bachelor.
    The thing is, I wanted to know if my military experience in Israel counts as a military experience in the FBI?

  • Justin

    Are there specific qualifications for the behavior analysis unit? Such as IQ? I mean obviously you’d gave to have taken psychology classes. Also what do you recommend the classes and stuff that I should take from now to end of college (I’m a freshman in high school)? How long should I go to college?

    • Rayleen

      There is a requirement of a bachelor’s degree (4 years) for any related subjects such as forensic behavior, criminal psychology. But to join the BAU, you also need 3 years of FBI special agent experience. That adds up to 7 years of required experience to apply into the BAU.

  • Abbi

    Can people that are married to non-U.S. citizens become FBI agents? If a future hopeful wants to become a special agent but was married to a non- U.S. citizen that was legally here in the United States first on a student visa then a work visa up to getting a green card, what are the disqualifiers that the future hopeful would run into because of spouse? Would hopeful have to choose between career or husband?

  • Bethany

    I am a beginning to look at colleges to become a Federal Agent. I’m not sure what specific “major” that would be under though. My goal is to go to University of Tennessee: Knoxville but I’m not sure how to tell if they have any classes to take to become a federal agent. Help? Thanks in advance!

  • Luis Aguirre

    I really want to join the FBI right after college. I am bilingual and a Military Police soldier in the National Guard soon to be medically discharged. I want to know if this will help my chances to getting hired. I am currently a junior in college. I would also like to know if studying abroad other agencies around the world would be helpful?

  • Beans

    Thank you very much for all the useful information and your patience with some of the duplicated questions. I was wondering, if you are currently employed in a federal agency and would like to be move on to the FBI, is the FBI Academy still required. I realize that FBI Agents do not attend the same training as other Special Agents (FLETC vs. Quantico). If I have already completed FLETC, would I be required to attend Quantico if hired?

  • Nick

    Hi I’m looking in pursuing a degree in criminology/criminal justice. I read That one of the requirements to join the F.B.I. Is a minimum of 3 years of professional work experience in your field. So I was wondering what type of job should I do for these few years before I would apply to the bureau. Would a police officer be a good option?

  • Kayleigh

    I want to go into the military (considering multiple branches) and be some type of military police. Would I still need to have a 4 year degree if I served in the military? Also, what colleges would you recommend for majors in criminology that also have an ROTC program? Lastly, what information do you have on the Behavioral Analysis Unit?
    Thank you!

  • Mariah

    If one was to have a Bachelor’s degree in Both Criminology and Political Science from Yale University, was fluent in Farsi, Russian, Vietnamese, and German, and maintained an A average in college with a 4.0 GPA, what would be their chances of getting into the FBI?

  • Ashley Silva

    If you were born in the United States of America and you marry a person who was not born in the United States of America, can you still be an FBI Agent?

  • Diamond

    Do previous law enforcement officers who undergo Quantico training start with an entry level salary as a special agent? If so how long does it take for an increase in pay grade? If not what grade scale pay would they begin?

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