Learn What You'll Do as an FBI Agent

Learn all about careers and education requirements as an FBI agent.

Career Overview

FBI agents are the government's principal investigators, responsible for investigating violations of federal law and conducting sensitive national security investigations, including the following:
Organized crime Public corruption
Financial crime Fraud
Bribery Copyright infringement
Civil rights violations Bank robberies
Extortion Kidnapping
Air Piracy Terrorism
Espionage Drug trafficking

Special agents may perform these tasks:

  • Conduct surveillance
  • Monitor court-authorized wiretaps
  • Examine business records
  • Investigate white-collar crime
  • Track the movement of stolen property
  • Collect evidence of espionage activities
  • Participate in undercover assignments

Prerequisites for the Role

fbi agent with dark glasses

FBI education might include experience in law, law enforcement or the military. All of these will help if you're interested in working for the law enforcement branch of the FBI. If you'd rather work for the FBI regarding matters related to financial crime or fraud, then experience in the finance sector is necessary.

Candidates must successfully complete written and oral examinations, medical and physical exams, a psychological assessment, and an exhaustive background investigation. Also, candidates must be between 23 and 36 years of age at the time of appointment. Because AllCriminalJusticeSchools.com is not affiliated with any local, state or federal agency, you should be sure to check with your local FBI field office to see if the program you're interested in has any other specific requirements or restrictions.

Skills, Schooling & Experience

The U.S, Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook* notes that the FBI looks for candidates who have a criminal justice degree (bachelor's or master's), or a degree in one of the following areas: engineering/science, accounting/finance or foreign languages. Then you'll need at least three years of work experience. After you've been accepted by the agency, you'll head to the FBI academy on the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia for 17 weeks.

Currently the FBI is only accepting applications for candidates who have one or more of the following skills:

  • Fluent in a Foreign Language
  • Accounting/Finance experience (Accounting/Finance Degree/CPA/or at least two years of related work experience)
  • Engineering experience
  • Computer Science experience or other IT specialties
  • Physical Science experience
  • Law experience
  • Law Enforcement or other investigative experience
  • Military experience

Make sure you check with your school prior to entering a specialty area, as program outcomes may vary according to each institution's specific curriculum.

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor and Industries 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook; Police and Detectives.