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How to Become an FBI Agent

Updated on September 16, 2015

How to Become an FBI Agent

Want to know how to become an FBI Agent? Before you decide to become an FBI agent, you need to take in several factors before making a determination. If you pass all of the prerequisites that are required to join the Federal Bureau of Investigations, then you may be required to possible relocate and it could be often. Another consideration to keep in mind is that you will be required to staying with the organization for at least three years after FBI academy training - even if you end up dreading the job. You will still be required to fulfill the obligation of your services just as you would if you were in a military branch. Your life will be very different as in you cannot be as open when it comes to shop talk about your FBI job with family members or friends. If you can handle the factors, then follow the steps below on how to become an FBI agent to put you in the right direction to a new career.

Did You Know Tip: Did you know that the Federal Bureau of Investigations offers intern positions to students that attend colleges and universities? Consider partaking to increase your chances of getting hired later on.

Prerequisites on How to Become an FBI Agent

To become an FBI agent, there are many factors that must be met before an individual can apply to be part of the Federal Bureau of Investigations team. An individual must be at least twenty three years old and cannot be over the age of thirty seven during the hiring process. Anyone wishing to become an FBI agent must not contain any felony charges on his or her record. The individual also cannot have any summary or misdemeanor drug charges on his or her criminal record and you must be able to take a drug analysis test and successfully pass it. Keep in mind that any altercations with the law will be a strike against you. The Federal Bureau of Investigations is very selective when upon hiring individuals and seek out the best candidates based on several different factors.

If you are currently in default or on the verge of defaulting on student loans, credit cards or any other forms of debts then you will also be disqualified. Settle your debts or get caught up on them before you consider applying to become an FBI agent. Having many negative remarks on your credit will greatly reduce the chances of being hired. The organization does a credit check and uses it as one of the hiring factors. Another factor to qualification to working in the Federal Bureau of Investigations is that you are registered with the selective service.

FBI Commercial for Recruitment

The entity also must have a driver’s license that is valid. The state of driver’s license means nothing, as long as the person has one from any of the fifty states and it is applicable. The person also must possess a bachelor’s degree from a college or university. The degree that is obtained must be from an accredited school. Consider an educational background in law, such as criminal justice, or obtain a traditional law degree like practicing attorneys have from a prestigious university. Another option would be to become a city or state police officer. The organization favors individuals with prior work experience in those types of fields. Accounting and finance are also fine choices for a degree. They also require that you have three or more years of work history in your educational field before they consider you for a likely candidate for the agency. Former military experience is also a factor that the organization takes into consideration when hiring; therefore, consider joining a reserves program or participating in a branch service for four years.

You also must be physically fit and able to complete several different tasks to show that you can handle incidents in case they arise while on the job. You will be tested by completing several short agility tests.

How to Become an FBI Agent: Application & First Meeting

Visit and retrieve the telephone of the nearest agency near you. Contact the agency and request that an application be sent. Fill out the application truthfully, if you later on are caught in a lie then you will be automatically be disqualified from being hired. Send the application in and wait for response. If you seem like a likely candidate from your application then you will be called in to have a “mini” interview. The mini like interview is used to determine if you as person will be a match for the Federal Bureau of Investigations and it also helps weed out individuals from moving on to the extensive testing and training that comes later on.

Call Back from the Federal Bureau of Investigations

If you are determined that you may be a likely candidate then you will be given a lengthier application. The application goes into your complete background. They will investigate your family, friends and anyone else that has or is part of your life. This is where the agency digs into every little crack that has been part of your life, going as far back as when you were a young child. They will also scour your credit history, work history, and anything else that they deem important. You will also partake in a drug screening to rule out that you abuse illegal substances and partake in a physical exam from your doctor.

If everything checks out okay then you will move on to more testing and interviews. You will take a polygraph test in which a series of questions about you and your life will be asked. They may use information obtained from the through background analysis to come up with adequate questioning. The polygraph testing can take anywhere from an hour up to a few hours. Do not lie for any of the questions. Be very honest even if you have to answer to some embarrassing queries. After the polygraph test, you will then meet with a psychologist who will perform an interview on behalf of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. The psychologist will ask a series of personal questions and will want your opinions on varying subjects. The psychologist may or may not use the information from the polygraph to help determine the session and may use it to get more in depth information about you; therefore, be prepared.

Sometime after the call back and between the other testing sessions, you will be asked to take part in physical examination. You will have to complete a timed mile and a half run, three hundred meter sprint, and untimed sit-ups and push-ups per the instructor’s requests.

FBI Training

If you successfully pass all of the above requirements and were deemed satisfactory during the polygraph and psychological session then you will be sent to training in Quantico, Virginia. In Quantico, you will spend about 20 weeks, according to Students live on a campus and subsist in the dormitories. The FBI academy is much like a traditional college. The academy has a cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium, classroom building, and other similarities.

During your time at the FBI academy, you will take courses that deal a great deal with firearms. You will target practice in both outdoors and indoors at the location. Training will also be completed on electronics and products that FBI agents use. You will also take courses that deal with law, forensic science, ethics and other similar subjects. Emphasis is placed on terrorism both nationally and globally during studies, as well as different types of crime. Physical training is also part of the curriculum at the FBI academy. Students will partake in standardized physical testing and train prior through running and various other activities. During training, students will take many exams and must receive an 85 percent or better on each test to continue in the program. 

CBS Special About the FBI

How to Become an FBI Agent: Graduation

After successfully passing all exams and training at the FBI academy, you will have a graduation with classmates. You will then pick up your ammunition and equipment that is given to you by the Federal Bureau of Investigations and leave for your first task. From time to time you will have to return to the FBI academy for additional training.

Resources & References for the creation of this hub: Federal Bureau of Investigations Federal Bureau of Investigations - Jobs Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to become an FBI Agent: An extensive background in conducted before candidates are accepted for training. Photo courtesy of: Saleji of
How to become an FBI Agent: An extensive background in conducted before candidates are accepted for training. Photo courtesy of: Saleji of


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