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How to Become an FBI Agent

How to Become an FBI Agent

A Federal Bureau of Investigation agent is a professional who must have a relatively high level of qualifications. This profession requires good physical training, advanced logical thinking abilities, and a sharp mind. To become an FBI agent, you must meet the specific requirements of the bureau. Before the direct interview, you also need to undergo special training, background checks, and tests.

If you are interested in a career as an FBI agent, we recommend reading our article. We have collected all the essential information regarding this profession – the primary duties, requirements for employment, how to build a career as an agent, and more.

Primary Duties of an FBI Agent

The primary job duties of an FBI agent are to gather intelligence and monitor compliance with the U.S. laws that will protect the citizens and property of the country or criminal activity (this applies to both foreign and domestic). Agents work worldwide and in various areas to investigate cases and keep track of how federal laws are being enforced. These professionals do more than just routine work; they have a reasonably active job that involves:

  • Frequent travel on business trips or relocations;
  • A schedule of 50 hours a week, with a constant need to stay in touch;
  • Testifying in court on cases;
  • Carrying a firearm and being prepared to use it for its intended purpose;
  • Adherence to the boundaries of the law.

What requirements must an agent meet?

To get a federal agent job, you must go through a whole process. Out of all the applicants, only a few get in. People who meet several established requirements can apply for a job as an FBI agent:

  1. Citizenship of the United States;
  2. Age between 23-36 (veterans have slightly different age restrictions for employment);
  3. Passing a drug test;
  4. Background check;
  5. Good economic status;
  6. Excellent physical fitness and no health problems;
  7. Education and a bachelor’s degree;
  8. Valid driver’s license and driving experience of 6 months or more;
  9. Full-time experience of more than two years;
  10. Passing the bureau’s special certification on the level of physical fitness – you must run a 300-meter sprint, perform push-ups and the 1.5-mile run.

How to get a job at the Federal Bureau?

If there are no problems with your physical fitness and you have a bachelor’s degree, the following steps are worth following to develop a career as a federal agent:

  1. Apply. First, you should prepare an appropriate federal resume and a college transcript to be further reviewed by the hiring manager at your local bureau office or on the FBI’s official Internet portal.
  2. Take a two-step test. The first test is for logic and other mental abilities. The second stage involves interviewing three special agents and a written research report. You can find examples of official practice tests, questions, and correct answers on the official website of the federal bureau.
  3. Take the physical fitness test. This test requires excellent physical fitness, so you should take care of this issue long before you apply for a job. Trainee agents can use a particular “Fit Test” app to prepare for the upcoming physical fitness test.
  4. Get a conditional offer for an interview. If your physical fitness meets the requirements, the candidate for the position receives a conditional interview offer. After receiving it, the prospective agent has only seven days to submit their application.
  5. Pass a background check. Each candidate undergoes this background check to prove they can be admitted to the bureau’s secrets. It includes a drug test, a medical screening, and a polygraph test, and agents also interview family members and friends. This screening can take up to 1.5 years.
  6. Get training at the FBI Academy. Before you begin your direct duties, you must take an introductory course. Future agents are trained for 20 weeks. The academy is located in Quantico, Virginia.
  7. Get to work at your assigned location. New federal agents must move quickly to the designated local office where the bureau will send them. It is worth noting that agents work not only in the United States but also outside the country.

What an FBI agent must learn

To get a job and become a successful FBI agent, it is imperative to undergo a particular training program. First, it is necessary to apply, which involves nine stages. The future agent is sent to training lasting 20 weeks in the final stage. As part of the program, there are several areas of activity:


Future FBI agents must take a course in:

  • Law;
  • Basic ethics;
  • Behavioral science;
  • Rules of reporting;
  • Interviewing;
  • Intelligence and investigative techniques;
  • Forensics;
  • Interrogation techniques.

Trainee agents also learn how to investigate terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, counterintelligence, cybercrime, and others. Recruits must visit the Holocaust Museum and other critical locations to understand the responsibility on an agent’s shoulders and how important it is to monitor support for justice in the world.

Developing Operational Skills

This program teaches defensive techniques, tactical driving, and other essential skills for safe and effective operations. Recruits must be able to defend themselves against dangerous actors using physical combat. They must also be excellent at defensive driving and know the basics of survival. More than 90 hours are devoted to practicing tactical operations, during which various real-life situations are dealt with. The trainees role-play dangerous situations during the course, with specific environments simulated around them and appropriate weapons used. Specifically, recruits practice what to do during a robbery, night surveillance, interrogation of suspects, kidnapping, and other situations.

Firearms Training

The course presented involves 110 practical hours of firearms training under established protocols: recruits practice marksmanship, gun safety, and more. The agent must know how to handle different types of weapons. By the end of 28 training sessions, the recruit must prove that they have mastered the course well.

Case Exercise Training

During the mastery of the program, trainee agents review real-life scenarios from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In this way, trainees are immersed in the process from raw data to an entire case investigation with a search for all the perpetrators.

Date: 17 October 2022
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