National Avg. Salary

$79,620 More Salary Data →

Job Growth Rate

-1.2% More Growth Data →

Recommended Degree

Bachelor's Programs & Degrees →

Attributes

  • Fast Paced Career
  • Good Entry Level Salary
  • Growing Industry
  • High Income Potential

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FBI agents work for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and are responsible for investigating crimes and enforcing federal laws. The responsibilities of an FBI agent vary greatly depending on his/her field of specialty, but all roles play a large part in protecting U.S. citizens and upholding federal laws.

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Job Description

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in FBI agent roles:

  • Investigate crimes, gather evidence, execute warrants, make arrests, and testify in court
  • Work with individuals across a variety of law enforcement agencies to conduct investigations
  • Analyze evidence in labs as part of investigations and provide documentation on findings
  • Conduct background checks and take fingerprints
  • Prepare and submit paperwork and reports for activities and investigations

A Day in the Life

The role on an FBI agent varies greatly depending on the agent’s specialty, role, and the types of investigations he/she is conducting, so day-to-day tasks will depend on all of those factors. Field agents spend their time investigating crimes and suspected crimes in their assigned areas and may spend their days meeting with sources, investigating crimes, gathering evidence, making arrests, and testifying in court. They may also work with local law enforcement officers and partners to conduct investigations.

FBI agents may also work on specialized teams like the SWAT team or the Hostage Rescue Team. These individuals respond to emergency situations which may include hostages, explosives, and armed suspects. These FBI agents are called in when extreme measures may be required to protect citizens and diffuse dangerous situations. Often, these roles are filled by former military professions and may require the use of snipers and other specialized equipment.

Other FBI agents focus more on analysis and may test evidence in labs, perform language analysis, or monitor and detect networks for cyberterrorism threats. FBI agents in analysis roles may not be required to work in the field and expose themselves to dangerous situations. These professionals may use specialized equipment to gather intelligence and analyze evidence, and they often testify in court to support and explain their findings.

Typical Work Schedule

A career as an FBI agent is not a 9-5 role. Agents may be expected to be on call 24-hours a day and may work evenings, overnight, holidays, and weekends when necessary. FBI agents are expected to be available any time their expertise or skills are needed.

Projected Job Growth

Due to population growth and an increased focus on national security, it’s expected that there will be a high demand for FBI agents in the coming decade.

FBI Agent Specializations

FBI agents can work in a number of special investigation units. According to the FBI’s website, their investigation programs include “domestic and international terrorism, foreign counterintelligence, cyber crime, public corruption, civil rights, organized crime/drugs, white-collar crime, violent crimes and major offenders, and applicant matters.”

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FBI Agent Salary Data

We've provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Annual Salary

Low Range

$53,810

Average

$79,620

High Range

$128,690

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$26/hr

Average

$38/hr

High Range

$62/hr

How do FBI Agent salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, FBI Agent's can make an average annual salary of $79,620, or $38 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $53,810 or $26 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #143 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

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How To Become

The process of becoming an FBI agent takes a long time, and there is extreme competition in the field. The first step in becoming an FBI agent is to earn a bachelor’s degree in a related field. For example, field agents may pursue degrees in criminal justice or criminology, while cybersecurity agents may need degrees in information technology or information systems. For other agent roles, degrees in science, languages, psychology, or law may be more appropriate. The degree pursued should be relevant to the program you hope to specialize in as an FBI agent.

FBI agent applicants must be between the ages of 23 and 37. However, waivers may be provided for individuals older than 37 for military veterans only. Most specializations will require experience in the field, which could vary widely based on specialization. For example, some agents may need to have military experience while other may need to work in a lab, as a police officer, or as a lawyer prior to applying for FBI agent positions.

With a bachelor’s degree and relevant experience, individuals between the ages of 23 and 37 may be eligible to apply for FBI agent positions. The application process will vary depending on field of specialty. Applicants begin by applying for open roles. If qualified, they’ll move on to a series of tests that are designed to identify an applicant’s knowledge and abilities. After passing tests, they’ll then need to pass background checks, medical examinations, and physical fitness tests. Only the most impressive candidates are admitted into training programs after all tests have been completed.


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Quick Summary

  • Recommended Min. Degree

    Bachelor's

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a FBI Agent. a Bachelor's is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among FBI Agent

  • 2.3%   Doctorate
  • 13.1%   Masters
  • 41.8%   Bachelors
  • 12.3%   Associates
  • 22.9%   College
  • 7.2%   High School
  • 0.4%   Less than High School

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Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

116,700

2024 Est. Jobs

115,300

Job Growth Rate

-1.2%

Est. New Jobs

-1,400

How does FBI Agent job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -1,400 jobs for a total of 115,300 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -1.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #640 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

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What Companies Employ The Most FBI Agents

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 48,500 2,700 3%
Federal government, excluding postal service 45,500 -4,400 -4%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 21,300 400 0%

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