FBI Special Agents occupy elite positions and must be dedicated to the FBI’s values and ideals. Agents must have a strong sense of honour and must be trustworthy, with a strict set of ethics and morals that allow them to commit fully to national security and democracy.
The main aim of the FBI is to protect the U.S. from intelligence bases threats by enforcing criminal law, including cooperating with other organisations and agencies.
FBI Agents are under intense pressure, and constant challenges, but the job is also very rewarding. There are very rigorous requirements needs to qualify to become a Special Agent, including:
1. Being at least 23, but no older than 37 when they are hired. However this might not apply to veterans over the age of 37.
2. Either being U.S. citizens or of the Northern Mariana Islands.
3. Possessing a 4 years degree from an accredited school or institution recognized by the United States Secretary of Education.
4. Holding a valid United States driver’s license.
5. Having 3 years of relevant work experience.
Special Agent candidates must also qualify for a Special Agent Entry Program, including:
2. Computer Science/Information Technology.
Once they have qualified for an Entry Program, hopefuls are assessed based on their “Critical Skills”, which include (non-exhaustively):
1. Intelligence Experience
2. Military Expertise
3. Law Enforcement/Investigative Experience
4. Foreign Language Proficiency
5. Physical Sciences Expertise
8. Law Experience
10. Diversified Experience
Online Application and Testing
Special Agent candidates are required to lodge an online application. This application will determine who undergoes testing, including:
1. Phase 1 Testing: this happens at an FBI facility, and comprises written tests. Candidates who have specialized experience will have to take extra tests in their area of expertise.
2. Phase 2 Testing: if candidates pass Phase 1, they must undergo a writing test and a face-to-face interview with a panel of experienced FBI Special Agents.
Conditional Letter of Appointment
Once candidates have passed Phase 2 they will get a Conditional Letter of Appointment, that gives them additional details on the FBI Background Investigation and more tests they need to undertake. Not everyone who passes Phase 2 will get the letter, because the FBI only awards them based on their particular need for certain skills at the time.
FBI Background Check and Physical Fitness Test
After they get the Conditional Letter of Appointment agents undergo a rigorous Background Check. They must also meet Special Agent Physical Requirements. This involves fitness testing including a sprint for 300 meters, a run for 1.5 miles, sit-ups and push-ups.
Meanwhile, the Background Check includes: credit and arrest checks, a polygraph examination, and interrogations of past employers and community, including personal and business references.
After passing the Physical Fitness tests and Background Check, candidates must also partake in a Medical Examination, including a sight and sound tests.
Once passing all of the above tests, Special Agents will then begin training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
FBI Special Agent Requirements
As well as the above, there are some other requirements Special Agents must fulfil for different areas of specialization:
To qualify as a linguist, candidates must be English-speaking and have high level fluency in reading, writing, speaking, and comprehending English and a foreign language. To confirm this, Linguists must undergo testing, including listening and reading, translating, and speaking.
FBI Police Officers
FBI Police candidates must be at least 21 to apply. They must also posses certain academic and work credentials depending on what grade they are applying for. Overall, they need specialized professional experience, and Political Science bachelor’s or analogous degree. FBI Police Officer hopefuls need to also go through 12 weeks of Uniformed Police Training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, Georgia. They must also complete the Police Advanced Training Program at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia
In order to become an Intelligence Analyst they need to posses at 4 year undergraduate degree. Candidates will be considered based on professional experience, academic credentials and domain specialization. Candidates must undertake three phases of testing including, computer tests, analytical thinking tests and logical thinking tests. They must also undertake writing tests and pass interviews.
The SWAT Operations Unit (SOU) of the FBI Critical Incident Response Group (CIRG) Tactical Operations employs SWAT Teams. SWAT members need to fulfil all Special Agent requirements as well as partaking in a competitive testing process, including difficult fitness and marksmen tests.
As part of the Behavioral Science Unit (BSU), candidates must have professional investigative case experience, academic credentials, as well as undertaking specialized training.
FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) employs Snipers, who are Special Agents and possess a minimum of three years of law enforcement or military experience. Candidates for HRT must undertake a two-week program including physical fitness tests, marksman skills, problem-solving, leadership, and teamwork ability.