The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is an investigative agency in the United States of America that focuses on terrorism and serious crimes within the US borders. There are a wide range of career possibilities with the FBI, and a career with the agency can be immensely satisfying and rewarding for people who qualify. Many people want to work for the FBI, but the agency is only able to hire a small number of people each year. A college degree is required, and a strong background in one of the areas in demand by the agency can give you a head start in the application process.
Getting a job with the FBI starts young. Start by excelling in high school and participating in sports and other extracurricular activities. These skills will stand you in good stead when you apply for college. The FBI requires a four year degree for all its applicants, although the degree can be in any field that you want.
After college, plan on working for a minimum of three years, establishing yourself as a self directed, motivated, and committed individual. After you have fulfilled these requirements, you can start the process which may lead to your employment with the FBI. The more education and work experience you have, the better your job prospects will be.
Employment with the FBI falls into several categories. Most people are familiar with special agents, who work in one of five programs: accounting, computer science/information technology, law, language, or “diversified.” The staff of the FBI also includes many support personnel, ranging from hostage negotiators to data analysts. If you work for the FBI, you may find yourself working in counterterrorism, cybercrimes, criminal investigation, or intelligence divisions. Before you start applying, think about your strengths and weaknesses and where you might best fit in.
In order to become a special agent, you must be a US citizen or citizen of the Northern Mariana Islands between 23 and 37 years of age. In addition to a four year degree, you should have a valid driver's license and be prepared to pass a physical examination and a background check. The FBI also has a no tolerance drug policy, and you will be regularly tested for traces of illegal substances. Employees must also be prepared for station reassignment, which may involve moving across the country for work. If you want to work for the FBI in another capacity, check the individual recruitment requirements available on the FBI's website.
Previous law enforcement experience is not required to get a job with the FBI, but it is certainly helpful, as are advanced degrees. Since the agency is a highly competitive employer, it can afford to be very particular about new hires. You may want to consider contacting an FBI recruitment representative in your area to get more information about jobs, as standards can change unexpectedly with the changing political climate. The FBI always has a shortlist of vitally needed skill sets, and if you have skills on that list, you can greatly increase your chance of employment with the organization.