The FBI, short for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was founded in the United States in 1908. Since then, it has become the U.S.’s top investigative agency, focusing primarily on major crimes and terrorism. There’s no doubt, working for the FBI can be an exciting and rewarding job.
Aside from the opportunity to serve and protect your country, you’ll get all those excellent government benefits, including an excellent health care plan for you and your family and an excellent pension for you to retire early. If you’re interested in joining the FBI but don’t know where to start, take a look at some of the suggestions below:
Basic requirements of joining the FBI
Here are the basic requirements for joining the FBI.
- Must be a citizen of the United States (or, randomly, the Northern Mariana Islands)
- Must be at least 23 years of age and no older than 37 when applying
- Must have a four-year degree from a government-accredited college or university
- Valid driver’s license
- Subject to a background check – may include drug tests, lie detector tests and extensive interviews
- Minimum of 3 years of work experience in your field
Education and background
Now that we know a 4-year degree is required to get into the FBI let’s take a look at what specific degrees will give you an advantage. Because money is almost always involved in crime, the FBI is always looking for those who have an accounting background.
This means not only a bachelor’s degree in accounting but also a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) license. The FBI also looks for people who can speak foreign languages, specifically, ones that relate to their focus of operations. A Master’s in Criminal Justice is also another right educational path to getting into the FBI.
Unlike most jobs on the market today, the FBI requires that you are in peak physical condition to join. If you’re going to be an FBI agent in the field, physical activity and stress are always looming, and they want to make sure you can handle it. As mentioned in step #1, you’ll need to pass a series of rigorous physical tests. Be prepared to get into the shape of your life by adopting an exercise regimen strength training and cardio 4-5 days a week.
Choose a specialty
Although accountants and foreign-language speakers are usually the highest in demand, the FBI recruits from many other fields. It’s up to you to prepare for which FBI program you’d like to try and join. The sooner you know this, the better you can prepare and learn the necessary skills to get in. Some other popular FBI programs include computer science, law, and information technology (IT).
Previous experience in a law enforcement position is not required for getting into the FBI, but it can certainly help. Working for the District Attorney’s office or your local police precinct will give you some in-the-field experience as a law enforcement officer.
If you’re young and eager to get into the FBI, it’s worth a shot to try and get in without any experience; if you don’t get in, it’s a good idea to get some more experience in the field and try again in a few years. Read our article on becoming an army ranger.