A NCIS Special Agent career involves working with the United States Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). NCIS jobs offer an exciting opportunity to work with the preeminent counter-intelligence and counter terrorism agency within the United States Navy.
It is not required that you enlist in the NAVY to work for NCIS as about 50 percent of special agents are civilians. When you become an NCIS Special Agent you will be trained to assume a wide range of intelligence tasks around the world. NCIS special agents are full-fledged law enforcement investigators who are licensed to carry a firearm. They frequently work with other federal investigative agencies to apprehend suspected terrorists and others who are planning criminal acts against the United States. NCIS special agents are supported by experts in such other areas as forensics, surveillance, cyber-based investigation and analysis, and counter-terrorism.
The Special Agent Afloat Program of NCIS embeds NCIS Special Agents aboard U.S. aircraft carriers, Hospital Ships, as well as Amphibious Assault ships. The purpose of this placement is to provide these fleets with specially trained investigators and counterintelligence experts as support to deployed Navy and Marine Corp troops. The environment on these ships may best be described as “floating cities” since they are self contained with every necessity.
The work of an NCIS Special Agent on a ship is very similar to an agent working in any major urban city. AN NCIS Special Agent assigned to a ship must be skilled in carrying-out criminal investigations, including crime scene analysis, witness interviewing, and use of proactive law enforcement measures to prevent criminal activity. The special agent aboard a ship also provides guidance to troop command with regard to counterintelligence and terrorism activities. Another responsibility of special agents afloat is to provide Navy and Marine commanders with operational guidance and support with regard to any issues which might threaten troop safety.
Benefits of becoming an NCIS Special Agent:
- A career as a NICS Special Agent is one of the most challenging and exciting in all of federal law enforcement. Indeed, this career is so interesting that they even developed the NCIS TV show which has been in production since 2003 and has one of the highest viewer ratings of any criminal-based program.
- NCIS Special Agents are provided with plenty of responsibility early in their careers thereby enabling these agents to gain a wide range of skills.
- If you like to travel then this is a great career. World travel and life abroad — in such locations as France, Spain Germany, Japan, and countries of the developing Third World can be a part of an NCIS Agent career.
- The NCIS is a great place to gain experience in such areas as cyber investigations, forensic analysis, white-collar crimes, as well as counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence.
NCIS Special Agent Job Requirements
The basic requirements to become an NCIS Special Agent are listed below:
- Candidates must not have reached their 37th birthday at the time of application (exceptions are made for military veterans covered by Federal Law Enforcement Retirement regulations).
- Must have uncorrected or correctable 20/20 vision, with normal color vision.
- Must be a U.S. citizen or naturalized U.S. citizen.
- Must pass a comprehensive background check and have no criminal history, as well as the ability to obtain a Top Secret Security Clearance.
- Possession of a valid and unrestricted driver’s license.
As noted, candidates are not required to enlist in the Navy or have prior law enforcement experience, though such experience will be considered a plus.
NCIS Agent Education and Training
Candidates who want to become an NCIS Special Agent must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. No specific major is recommended.
Once hired, NCIS provides extensive training via the NCIS Basic Agent Course which is given at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. Training involves such subjects as crime investigations, crime scene analysis, domestic and international security, armed and unarmed self-defense, counterintelligence and terrorism, cyber-surveillance, polygraph techniques, procurement fraud, as well as advanced programs in forensic science and foreign language.
NCIS Special Agent Salary
NCIS Special Agents receive and attractive salary and benefit package, including eligibility for Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP). LEAP is a type of premium pay offered to special agents who are required to work substantial amount of unscheduled overtime based on the needs of their work. LEAP pay is set at 25 percent of an agent’s basic pay rate.
The following salary table is based on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Salary for Law Enforcement Personnel in all Federal Agencies, including NCIS: Figures as of January 2009.
Grade 3 is where most entry-level NCIS Special Agent candidates will fall. However, it may be possible to start at a higher step depending on past work experience and level of education.
NCIS Special Agent Career Opportunities
Aside from advancing in terms of Grade level, NCIS provides career advancement through the Foreign Area Officer Program As per the NCIS official site:
The purpose of the NCIS [Foreign Area Office] FAO program is to educate, train and maintain, through career management and continuing education, a group of qualified NCIS Special Agents and Intelligence Specialists with specific skills and knowledge relevant to regional foreign areas, languages and cultures.
Recruitment and Selection of FAO agents is based on a candidate’s knowledge of a specific geographic region, foreign language ability and prior experience in the area.
Professional development of FAO expertise in selected geographic areas is obtained by acquiring a graduate degree and foreign language instruction at the Foreign Service Institute, the Defense Language Institution, or another program that includes a full immersion language component. Candidates may also attend the U.S Naval War College, The Naval Postgraduate School, regional security centers, along with other accredited academic institutions.
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