Alertness, intellectual, and courage, are the most basic requirements to become an FBI agent. This CareerStint article speaks about the FBI agent salary range, job description, and educational requirements.
According to the data published in 2012 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 5% from 2012 to 2022. Moreover, there exist lucrative employment opportunities for retired FBI agents.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is one of the most important investigation agencies in the United States of America. And it is also one of the best in the world! The FBI’s work involves investigating crime associated with bank robbery, scams, kidnapping, cyber crime, drug trafficking, corruption, terrorism, murder, etc. The FBI appoints specialized people for this investigation purpose, and those are referred as FBI agents. These FBI agents are authorized personnel for carrying out the investigation work related to the case assigned to them. The victims in turn are expected to provide all the possible information to the agents, so as to solve the case as soon as possible.
If you are thinking about becoming an FBI agent, and pursuing a long-time career into the investigation stream, then let me congratulate you for your brave decision. The career opportunities in this field are excellent. However, you need to be intelligent, courageous, committed, and result-oriented for this purpose. These are the basic necessities. If you have the necessary strength and skills, and also know, how and when to use them, then I’m sure, you would confirm your name in the list of the most successful FBI agents. However, just having these qualities is not enough as you also need to complete some formal education (at least a bachelor’s degree), and undergo FBI related training. Successful completion of pre-job training and education would qualify you to become an FBI agent.
FBI Agent Salary Range
Performance and experience play a major role in deciding the salary of an FBI agent.
- According to PayScale, an FBI agent earns an average salary of $63,021 per year.
- An entry-level FBI agent earns an average salary of $59,013 per year. A mid-career FBI agent earns an average salary of $65,307 per year.
- On an average, the salary figures can be in the range of US $35,696 – $128,760.
- According to the FBI, an entry-level agent may earn $61,100 to $69,900, depending on the location of his/her assignment. The agent receives a base salary of $43,441. However, other benefits such as locality pay (can vary from 12.5% to 29% of the base salary), availability pay (for being expected to work overtime without prior notice, it generally accounts for a 25% premium of the base salary), etc., lead to a significant increase in the salary. The agents usually are expected to work for 50 hours per week.
- According to PayScale, the average salary for an experienced FBI agent is $77,270 per year. And the average salary for a late-career FBI agent is $101,736 per year.
- According to the BLS (data presented in 2014), the annual average salary of first-line supervisors of police, criminal investigators, and detectives was about $80,000.
- FBI agents are entitled to a variety of benefits, which include group health and life insurance programs, vacation and sick pay, and a full retirement plan.
‘Investigation’. This single word would not be able to completely describe the entire job description of an FBI agent, as ‘investigation’ includes a vast array of duties and responsibilities. Let us read in short about it further.
- The core duty of an FBI agent is crime investigation, which includes preventing illegal transportation of goods/people across the borders, murder investigations, tracing kidnappers, interviewing suspects and witnesses to obtain and verify information, and resolving kidnapping/robbery cases, etc.
- Communicate with the victims and witnesses, search for and collect evidence, such as fingerprints, DNA samples, and computer records, etc., and come to sensible conclusions.
- Prepare and submit detailed reports, coordinate with fellow officers, judges, etc., and establish an information network to accelerate the investigation process.
- Carrying out under cover investigations also forms an important part of the FBI agent job description.
- Gather relevant information pertaining to the case, and then present the report to senior officials.
Qualifications and Training
With regards to formal education, the basic requirement to become an FBI agent is to possess a bachelor’s degree in any stream. Knowledge or fluency in any foreign language is an added advantage. Other requirements to become an FBI agent are citizenship of the United States, sound physical as well as mental health, and age between 23 – 36.5 years. You further need to clear the written, oral, and physical tests. Then you qualify for the training program, which includes training on FBI rules, regulations, and procedures, criminal law, self defense techniques, etc.
One of the most important rules to be followed by FBI agents is secrecy. They need to keep each and everything, associated with their case, confidential. Case details should not be discussed even with family members. FBI agents serve the nation, and therefore, need to follow the rules strictly.