How to Become an FBI Agent? Eligibility Criteria, Hiring Process, Salary, Roles and Duties

Becoming an FBI agent is a dream for many US citizens. One of the reasons behind this is that the FBI offers a challenging and rewarding career in law enforcement. However, the road to becoming an FBI agent is full of challenges. It requires a great deal of dedication and hard work from the candidate. Plus, you should have a commitment to serving the US and protecting its citizens. Most importantly, you must be physically and mentally fit.

If you’re serious about becoming an FBI agent then this post can help you out. Here, we’ll take a closer look at what it takes to become an FBI agent. We will also provide you with accurate information about the steps you need to take to become a successful agent in the FBI.

FBI Overview

Name of the departmentFederal Bureau of Investigation
Popularly Known AsFBI
Established onJuly 26th 1908
Number of Employees35000+
Parent AgencyDepartment of Justice
DirectorChristopher A. Wray
HeadquartersJ. Edgar Hoover Building Washington, D.C., U.S.
Official website

Eligibility Criteria to Join FBI as an Agent

The FBI has strict and straightforward eligibility criteria. You need to meet all of these criteria to be a part of this prestigious organization.

  • You must be a U.S. citizen to work for the FBI.
  • You must have a good public record with no felony convictions or other serious criminal offences.
  • Applicants must pass a thorough background check. This check includes reviews of their employment, education, and criminal history.
  • Must pass a urinalysis test.
  • Ensure that student loan repayments are in good standing.
  • You must have filled out all required annual federal, state, and local taxes.
  • Being current on court-ordered child support payments.
  • Must not have engagement with organizations designed to overthrow the U.S. government
  • Registering with the U.S. Selective Service (for males only) is also necessary.

Preferences of FBI

  • The FBI strongly encourages veterans and military service members to join the organizations.
  • Veterans applying for the positions may also qualify for age restriction waivers.

Eligibility for FBI Special Agents (SASS)

There are many additional eligibility criteria that you must meet to be considered for the post of a special agent in the FBI. Check out the criteria below.

AgeYou must be at least 23 years old
Driver’s LicenseYou must have a valid driver’s license
Physical FitnessIt is compulsory for you to pass the FBI’s physical fitness test
Education and ExperienceYou must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution along with at least two years of professional work experience
SCI ClearanceYou must be able to obtain and maintain a top-secret security clearance
Upper Age LimitYou must be under the age of 36 unless you have a veteran preference or federal law enforcement experience. Additionally, you must complete the SASS process and enter on duty before your 37th birthday.

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Core Competencies Required to Join FBI

According to the FBI, they look for the following things while selecting an agent.


FBI agents work closely with one another. They also collaborate with other law enforcement agencies. So, it is important for you to work well as part of a team and communicate effectively with your team members.


Excellent communication skills are necessary for FBI agents. You’ll need to be able to communicate clearly with people from different backgrounds. Remember, you will have to deal with witnesses, suspects, law enforcement officers, etc.

Flexibility and Adaptability

The work of an FBI agent keeps on changing. You must adapt quickly to new situations. Plus, your approach should be flexible in problem-solving.


FBI needs agents who are proactive in their investigations. So, you must have abilities to go above and beyond to get the job done.

Interpersonal Skills

The ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures is compulsory for all FBI agents. You’ll need to be able to build trust with colleagues, informants, and community members.


FBI agents are expected to take charge of investigations and lead teams of agents. Developing leadership skills will help you excel in your career.

FBI application process

The application process of the FBI involves the following steps.

  • Submit the application – First, you should go to the FBI’s website and search for available job openings. Once you find the job, you can submit your application through the FBI careers page
  • Attach a federal resume and college transcript – You must ensure that you attach a federal resume and college transcript to your application. The FBI wants these documents to be uploaded in a specific format. So, make sure you follow the guidelines carefully.
  • SF-50 – If you’re a current or former federal employee, you must attach an SF-50 form. It is a record of your federal employment history.
  • DD-214 – Those who are a veteran should attach a DD-214 form. Veterans are also required to a Veterans’ Affairs letter dated within the previous year.

FBI Hiring Process

The hiring process of FBI involves the following steps.

  1. Eligibility and Qualifications Review: The first step in the FBI hiring process is to review an applicant’s eligibility and qualifications. This includes assessing their education, work experience, etc.
  2.  Interview and Testing: After an applicant passes the initial eligibility and qualifications review, they will be invited to complete a series of interviews and tests. These tests include a written exam, a physical fitness test, and an interview with an FBI official.
  3. Conditional Job Offer: If you pass the testing and interview process, you may receive a conditional job offer. This offer is subject to the successful completion of a background investigation.
  4. Background Investigation: The FBI will conduct a thorough background investigation. It includes a review of your employment history, credit history, criminal history, etc.
  5. Final Job Offer: If you successfully complete the background investigation, you may receive a final job offer. This offer is subject to passing a medical examination and drug test.

Salary and Benefits of an FBI Agent

The salary of an FBI agent depends on his/ her rank. The lowest rank agent earns $78,000 while the highest rank earns up to $153,000. On the other hand, supervisory agents can earn up to $170,000.Agents get benefits like health insurance, a 401K plan, and paid time off.

Major Roles and Duties of an FBI Agent

The duties and responsibilities of an FBI Agent are as follows.

  1. Investigate Federal Crimes – They are responsible for investigating federal crimes such as terrorism, cybercrime, etc.
  2. Collect and Analyze Evidence – They use a variety of methods to collect and analyze evidence including interviewing witnesses, reviewing documents, etc.
  3. Conduct raids and arrests – Agents of the FBI are often involved in executing search warrants, conducting raids, making arrests, etc.
  4. Protect the country – They also work to protect the country from terrorist threats and other foreign intelligence activities.
  5. Community Outreach – A few FBI agents also engage in community outreach programs. They interact with the public to build relationships with local communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a foreign national be an FBI Agent?

No, you must be a US citizen to be an FBI Agent.

What type of benefits do FBI Agents receive?

They get benefits like health insurance, life insurance, retirement benefits, and paid time off.

What type of training do FBI agents get?

They receive extensive training in a variety of areas such as firearms, investigation techniques, self-defence, etc.

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