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FBI Hiring Process | Job Application, Interview, and Employee

The Federal Bureau of Investigation upholds federal law and ensures national security. Because of the importance of its mission, the FBI maintains extraordinarily stringent hiring and job application process, particularly for Special Agents.

Before getting a solid offer of employment, applicants should expect a multi-step procedure that involves exams, interviews, background checks, and lengthy training.

We have outlined all of these in this article.

Who is an FBI agent?

An FBI special agent is a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s law enforcement team. Special agents are to uphold federal laws, analyzing evidence, and ensuring national security.

They assign agents the following responsibilities, according to the FBI’s advice to applying for a special agent position: 

  • Protecting the people against terrorists, sabotage, and foreign intelligence gathering.
  • Defending the country from technological threats and criminal behavior.
  • Combating public corruption at all levels of government.
  • Ensuring that Civil rights are being protected, and suspected infractions are being investigated.
  • Taking legal action against criminal organizations and businesses.
  • Investigating and combating high-level white-collar crime.
  • Investigating and combating major violent crime

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Job Description of an FBI Agent

According to the FBI’s website, there really is no such thing as a typical day on the job. FBI agents enforce a wide range of federal laws and may be tasked with carrying out search warrants, obtaining evidence, and making arrests, depending on their job.

Agents are also active in training, diagnostic facilities, public affairs, and management. FBI special agents handle major criminal cases. Because of the complexity of the job, being an FBI agent is much more than a 9-to-5 job.

They can reassign agents to a new location at any moment based on the FBI’s demands.

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Career Prospects for FBI Agents

FBI agents who resign or leave the organization frequently have a variety of professional options available to them.

This is due in part to the respect that many companies have for former government law enforcement officers, as well as the reality that the officer may still have a security clearance, which makes the agent valuable in specific industries, enterprises, and organizations.

Given that the obligatory retirement age is 57, it is not uncommon for agents to pursue a second job after leaving the FBI.

Agents who decide to pursue another professional path may choose to return to the one they pursued before becoming an agent. This could imply resuming computer science, chemistry, or accountancy.

Others may choose to put their investigative and criminal justice abilities to use in the private sector, possibly as a security specialist or by starting a high-level private investigations firm.

Other work prospects exist in public relations, communications, administrative help, medical and counseling, information technology, design, and a variety of other fields.

The FBI hires for a wide range of roles, so those who desire to work for federal law enforcement but are unable to become agents should look at the FBI’s website for current career paths and employment openings.

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How Much Does An FBI Agent Get Paid Per Year?

FBI special agents are government workers, and federal pay scales set their compensation. A training FBI special officer begins her work at General Schedule level 10 (GS-10), which equates to $48,297 per year in 2018.

After finishing the 21-week training program, an agent can progress to the GS-13, which pays a minimum annual income of $75,628 and a total yearly compensation of $98,317.

They implement changes in some areas to account for the standard of living.

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Requirements to be an FBI Agent

Due to the nature of the job, the FBI must be extremely selective about who it hires as a special agent. Some conditions that an applicant must complete before applying to become an agent are as follows:

#1. Citizenship:

All FBI special agents must be citizens of the United States.

#2. Age:

New recruits should be between the ages of 23 and 37, and therefore must enroll before their 36th birthday, though combat personnel and law enforcement agents may be exempt.

FBI special agents must retire at the age of 57. The FBI does highlight that many of its agents have worked in other businesses before joining the FBI.

#3. Education

All officers must have a bachelor’s degree from a university in the United States.

#4. Physical Exam

Part of the application procedure includes a physical exam and an appraisal of the results. Furthermore, all applicants must pass a vision test: agents would have to have 20/20 vision in one eye and no poorer than 20/40 vision in the other.

Applicants who wear corrective lenses or have had vision correction surgery must be physically fit, and a physical test is part of the decision procedure. Candidates will have three chances to pass the exam.

#5. Clean Background Check

Background checks are required for FBI special agents to be qualified for top-secret security clearances.

Furthermore, agents must be free of any felony convictions or domestic and family violence charges (even misdemeanor convictions).

#6. Drug Use

The FBI takes illegal drug use very seriously, and no current drug user can become an agent. This ban includes the use of prescribed by a doctor marijuana or cannabis products, even in states where marijuana is legal.

According to FBI regulation, persons who have used hard narcotics or prescribed performance-enhancing drugs within the last ten years cannot apply.

Prior to making an application, an applicant must not have consumed cannabis in any form, even if medically needed, for three years.

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Workplace Expectations and Conditions for FBI

Working as a special agent for the FBI can be difficult. The FBI anticipates that agents will be able to work up to 50 hours per week, be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and be available on holidays, weekends, and nights.

Agents must be armed and capable of pursuing and apprehending potentially dangerous persons. An agent must also be willing to migrate to any location in the world.

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How does the FBI select its agents?

Because the FBI accepts less than 20% of applicants, employment within the bureau are extremely competitive. Typically, applicants begin their eligibility through one of the FBI’s many entrance programs, which are all customized for certain FBI career paths.

If you want to work as an FBI agent in computers and technology, law, accounting, or another division, you must prepare for the testing process after meeting the basic qualifications given above.

Written examinations that examine your basic talents, knowledge, and competency, as well as demanding fitness tests and physical standards, are all part of the process.

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The FBI Application Procedure

They divide the FBI application procedure into two stages, each with multiple steps:

The First Phase

The very first step in Phase 1 is to fill out and submit an application, which includes responding to many open-ended questions and completing a fitness and strength self-evaluation.

After the FBI has reviewed the application, the candidate will be informed if he or she is eligible to go to the next level, which is a three-hour standardized test exam. The exam assesses the individual’s personality, discretion, and reasoning abilities.

Phase Two

If the applicant succeeds in the test, he may be summoned to an interview with the FBI. Candidates must go to the FBI field office of their preference at their own expense for a “meet and greet” with FBI personnel.

FBI Headquarters examines the outcomes of these conversations, and they choose the top individuals to move further along in the process. They subject the candidate to a subsequent exam as well as an in-person interview.

The candidate may then be called to the official fitness assessment. If the applicant is successful, he may be offered a conditional appointment.

After the CAO, the FBI conducts a comprehensive background investigation on the candidate.

This entails a thorough study of the individual’s life, which includes credit checks, an examination of arrest and criminal history, verification of academic attainment, a polygraph test, and conversations with friends and colleagues.

The procedure concludes with the conclusion of the 21-week Basic Field Education Course. Following completing this course, they will post the new special agent to a regional office.

The process of application is lengthy: Phase 1 takes around 23 weeks on average, while Phase II, which includes the criminal record check and military training, may take, and over a year.

Individuals pursuing a career with the FBI should expect a reasonable amount of disturbance during this process.

Background Investigations

If you meet the fundamental educational, writing, and physical qualifications, the next stage in the FBI agent vetting and recruiting process is passing a background check.

This crucial procedure entails a credit check, a criminal background check, and medical and drug testing.

The FBI may also interview your neighbors, relatives, friends, and previous employees in order to analyze your character and establish whether you are qualified for the position and suitable for top-secret security clearance.

This background check procedure can take a long time and can be nerve-racking and challenging for prospective FBI agents, so you should come prepared.

What type of Training do FBI Agents Get?

After passing all the basic criteria, tests, and criminal records, they will invite you will be to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The training regimen lasts 21 weeks and includes on-campus living.

At the college, prospective agents spend hours and hours every day in the classrooms learning defense tactics, firearms competence and safety, and a range of other necessary mental and physical special abilities.

Throughout your training at Quantico, they will subject you to frequent physiological and written examinations, the failure of which will prohibit you from remaining in the institution and becoming an FBI agent.


To become an FBI agent is a grueling and competitive process. Years of preparation and dedication are required to become the type of candidate sought by the FBI.

And the entire process usually takes a year or more. But with the right info, it can become a walkover.

Frequently Asked Questions

It may take up to 5-6 years to become an FBI agent. From high school, you will have to attend college for four years to get a bachelor’s degree. Aside from that, you will need to register for and prepare for the role for an additional 6-12 months. If you fail any of the tests or fail to reach the agency’s requirements, they may postpone the procedure.

To become an FBI agent is a grueling and competitive process. Years of preparation and dedication are required to become the type of candidate sought by the FBI. And the entire process usually takes a year or more.

They pay FBI Agents according to the federal government’s law enforcement pay scale. First-year employees can earn around $64,365 and $73,634 per year with Locality Pay and Availability Pay, based on where they are posted.

Aspiring FBI agents should have a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA or above and three years of experience in the related field, or a postgraduate diploma and two years of experience in the related field.

The FBI’s primary mission is to prevent terrorist attacks, fraud, criminal gangs, cybercrime, and constitutional violations, as well as to investigate serious crimes. They also help other law enforcement agencies when necessary. The FBI does not prosecute cases.

The Application Process Is Prolonged: Phase 1 takes around 23 weeks on typical, while Phase II, which includes the criminal record check and outdoor training, can take up to a year. People pursuing a career with the FBI may expect a modest amount of discomfort throughout this process.




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