FBI Pay Scale 2023 – How Much Do FBI Agents Make

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FBI Pay Scale 2023-How Much Do FBI Agents Make

Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI in the United States official law enforcement agency aims to protect the nation from terrorism and other criminalities. The agents who work for the FBI devotes their lives to maintaining security and peace within the States. Their duties are challenging and complicated. Special agents who work for the agency have to face life-threatening risks every day. This is why the FBI is considered the world’s best agency, and the agents are perceived as the nation’s prestige and honor.

The nature of this profession makes it one of the highest  paying careers amongst law enforcement agencies. The agents who serve the country with dignity and faith often get promoted quickly. The FBI salary is based upon a GS-Level payscale. According to that scale, the agents are getting paid. If you are planning to join the agency but don’t know where to start, our blog post on How To Join The FBI – The Best Degree Paths will help you get started. FBI career is one of the most rewarding occupations, along with the highest paying FBI jobs you get to contribute to the more significant cause.

This article will discuss how much do FBI agents make per year according to the FBI pay scale 2023. Along with that, we will also explore the General Schedule, which is the general pay system for all the FBI employers.


Related: Best Degree Paths For Becoming An FBI Agent Complete Career Guide

FBI Agent Salary -FBI General Schedule (G-S) Pay Scale

Pay is an essential factor that all candidates consider before applying for any job, not only in the private sector but also in the public sector. Government jobs, predominantly white-collar jobs, pay handsome salaries with rapid promotion opportunities and other benefits like health insurance. All the federal government employees, including the FBI agents, are paid according to the government-regulated pay scales. Most of the employees are compensated according to the General Schedule (G-S) pay scale.

FBI Agent Salary General Schedule

The General Schedule is a pay scale for  system according to which federal employees working in professional, technical, administrative, or clerical positions are getting paid. The general schedule is composed of 15 levels. These levels are assigned to different jobs, which then determine the pay level for that specific job.

Grade levels

  • GS-3 or GS-4 is typically the internships and student jobs
  • GS-5 to GS-7 is the entry-level government jobs
  • GS-8 to GS-12 is the mid-level government jobs
  • GS-13 to GS-15 is the high-level supervisor and management jobs

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FBI Agent Salary?

As discussed above, the general schedule determines the FBI salaries. The federal government fixes these GS levels based on experience and educational requirements. The agencies establish GS – grades based on difficulty, responsibility, and qualification. A candidate who falls into the criteria is qualified for the positions. There are many chances of promotions in the FBI, which increases the GS level of the agents. Some G-S levels are the golden opportunities for the agents to go higher in rank without switching jobs.

The federal agent pay scale starts at G-S 10, the agents and the staff have the opportunity to go up to GS-13. The special agents who have supervisory positions in the FBI can climb up to GS-15. Each GS-grade has 10 steps within each GS-level. The average increase is one year at steps 1-3, 2 years at steps 4-6, and 3 years at steps 7-9. However, agents who give outstanding performance get an immediate increase, typically of 1 level per year.

FBI Base PAY & Living Adjustment

The salaries under the General Schedule systems are based on the base pay and a locality pay adjustment. There are 53 General Schedule Locality Areas established by the GSA’s Office of Personnel Management. The General Schedule base pay is adjusted according to the cost of living based on the location. It is adjusted annually in relation to the nationwide changes in the salaries of the private sector employees. The General Schedule base pay is adjusted according to the cost of living based on the location. It is adjusted annually in relation to the nationwide changes in the salaries of the private sector employees. This means that if you live in a metropolitan city like New York or California, you are more likely to get paid higher than someone living in Pittsburgh.

Besides, the FBI salary scale is generally 10 to 25 percent higher for those who live outside of the continental United States. The federal government offers a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) to employees who live in Hawaii, Alaska, or offshore territories.

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Who pays the FBI

There are people out there who wonder about the payments of the FBI, and by doing so, they’re curious about the salaries of the agents and other employees of the agency. The Federal Bureau of intelligence is a federal agency established to serve the purpose of national security in the United States. The agency has its budgeting, but the federal government pays the amount.

This implies that the federal government funds the agency to serve the purpose of national security. The primary source of funding for the FBI is Congress, and a set annual budget is being passed on to the agency by Congress. The agency then plans its operational activities and pays its employees. A secondary source of funding for the agency is reimbursable activities. A handsome amount of the FBI’s budget is generated through these activities. Generally speaking, these activities are the transactions between the agencies in return for their services.

FBI Base Salary

The FBI agents make up to $73 thousand a year on average. This is the mean average pay of the agents. The agents who have served in the agency for a long and are in senior positions have much more salaries, and they make up to $ 15,092 a year. An agent who is just starting to become a part of the agency can’t expect this higher salary. The base salary of the agents beginning to work in the agency can be around 5 thousand dollars a month.

If you are starting to become a part of the agency, you need to know that the salary offered by the agency is handsome, and you can make a decent living out of this salary. The base salary isn’t where you will be stuck for your whole life. Instead, the amount will increase as you move up the ladder of ranks within the agency.

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FBI GS Levels

GS levels are essential for all government jobs; they determine the amount of salary that an individual will receive. The rule is applied to the FBI agents, and they receive the pay according to their GS levels. The grades of FBI agents are discussed below; this will give you an idea of where you will be when you become a part of the agency.

The general grade levels are as follows:

PositionGS Payscale
Internees and StudentsGS-3  or GS-4
Entry-level AgentsGS 5 to GS 7
Mid-level agentsGS 8 to GS 12
High-Level Supervisor and managersGS 13 to GS 15

FBI Ranks

The FBI has a unique structure of ranks that it uses to classify its personnel. There are only two ranks at the highest level: Director and Deputy Director. The Director is appointed by the President of the United States and reports directly to the United States Attorney General. Below these two positions are five Executive Assistant Directors (EADs), who are responsible for the major operational divisions of the FBI. These divisions are Intelligence, Counterintelligence and International Operations, Criminal Investigations and Response, Cyber-Investigations and Operations, and Science and Technology.

The next level of the FBI includes nine Assistant Directors (ADs). These ADs oversee specific departments within their respective divisions. For example, the AD of Counterintelligence and International Operations manages the FBI’s efforts to counter foreign intelligence threats, while the AD for Criminal Investigations and Response is responsible for overseeing investigations into criminal activity.

Below the Assistant Directors, numerous Special Agents lead their teams within each division. These agents have a variety of different specialities depending on the division they are in. For example, an agent working in the Intelligence Division may specialize in analyzing threats and gathering intelligence. In contrast, an agent working in Counterintelligence and International Operations may focus on uncovering foreign spies operating in the United States.

Finally, there are also support staff members of varying levels who provide administrative, technological and logistical assistance to Special Agents and other FBI personnel. This includes analysts, scientists, computer experts and administrative support staff.

The FBI’s rank structure provides a clear chain of command that is essential to the efficient operation of the organization. It ensures that each division has qualified, experienced and knowledgeable leadership in their areas of expertise. It also enables the FBI to respond quickly and effectively to any threat or incident that requires attention.

The FBI’s rank structure is an important part of how the organization functions and helps it achieve its mission of protecting the United States from domestic and foreign threats. It is up to each member of the FBI team – from Director to Special Agent to support staff – to uphold the highest standards of excellence and ensure that the FBI can meet its responsibilities.

Each member of the FBI contributes to its mission uniquely – by upholding values, serving with distinction and protecting our country. All FBI personnel, regardless of rank or position, are essential to the success of the Bureau in its ongoing effort to ensure the safety and security of our nation.

The five branches of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are made up primarily by divisions, offices and sections. The Executive Assistant Directorates oversee each branch’s operations in order to provide cohesion across all departments within their respective agencies – which is why they’re called “executive.” There can be upwards or downwards referrals from these EADs depending on who you speak with at any given time but there will always only ever one boss: The Director himself!

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FBI Branches

Three branches are under the Deputy Director and two are accountable to the Associate Director. The five functions of the Branches of the FBI include:

  • FBI National Security Branch
  • FBI Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch
  • FBI Science and Technology Branch
  • FBI Information and Technology Branch
  • FBI Human Resources Branch

The FBI’s Office of the Director is a central administrative organ that provides staff support functions (such as finance and facilities management) to five different branches. It also has oversight over various field divisions, including information technology departments which manage human resources programs within their respective areas.

Office of the Director

  • Immediate Office of the Director
  • Office of the Deputy Director
  • Office of the Associate Director
  • Office of Congressional Affairs
  • Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Affairs
  • Office of the General Counsel
  • Office of Integrity and Compliance
  • Office of the Ombudsman
  • Office of Professional Responsibility
  • Office of Public Affairs
  • Inspection Division
  • Facilities and Logistics Services Division
  • Finance Division
  • Records Management Division
  • Resource Planning Office
  • Security Division

FBI Rank Structure

The following is a complete listing of the rank structure found within the FBI

  • Field Agents
  • Probationary Agent
  • Special Agent
  • Senior Special Agent
  • Supervisory Special Agent
  • Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge (ASAC)
  • Special Agent-in-Charge (SAC)
  • FBI Management
  • Section Chief
  • Deputy

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FBI Promotion Timeline

The FBI field agents usually start at GS 5 Payscale, and their promotions are regular till GS 13 pay scale. Initially, the agents have to complete a probationary period of two years, and once they are done with the probationary period, they can move up to the senior pay scales. The promotions are depended on the performance of the individuals and their reputation within the agency. GS 13 is the pay scale where most of the agents are working. 

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Educational Requirements for FBI

Receiving a handsome FBI gs pay scale always seems fascinating. Still, there comes a requirement before achieving that status in the federal bureau of intelligence, and that requirement is educational degrees. A two-year college degree is mandatory to become a part of the FBI, and there isn’t any specification regarding your college degree. This means that your educational degree can be in any discipline, but if it is in a field related to the criminal justice system, it is going to help you out in your professional life at the FBI. Some of the fields in demand in the Federal bureau of intelligence include technology, engineering, mathematics, law, cybersecurity, health care, and accounting and finance.

If you are among the ones who haven’t chosen a discipline for their college degree, you should be looking for a discipline related to the criminal justice system. However, if you’ve already completed your college degree or you are in the middle of it, you should be focusing on achieving that degree as soon as possible so that you can get entitled to the FBI agent pay scale.

Work experience is also a plus in the FBI. A candidate who has one year of professional experience in any of the fields related to the criminal justice system is treated equivalent to a master’s degree holder. For this reason, you should also look for employment to gain experience while you are waiting for jobs in the FBI.

Years of Experience in the FBI

The years of experience matter a lot in the federal bureau of intelligence. The agents paid with higher salaries have much more experience than those who are paid less. The agents usually start their career at GL-10, and they move up one scale after every 1 to 3 years of experience. During this time frame, the agents must demonstrate that they can provide the promotion. This can be demonstrated through a professional attitude towards the work and having the skills to perform the duties assigned by the agency. An agent serving at GL-10 is expected to earn more than $52,000 a year.

The FBI gs levels are different from GL levels, and an agent who has served in the agency for more than two years at GL can be promoted to the GS level of the FBI salary scale. The agents working in the FBI can be promoted to GS-13, which is top-level for the agents within the agency. The average annual salary of special agents working at the position is $79,468.

With this information, your questions like how much FBI agents get paid or how much an FBI agent gets paid must be answered. The average annual salary of the agents depends on their pay scale. During the initial years of service, the income is around 52 thousand dollars a year, and this can go up to 79 thousand as you gain experience in the agency.

Job growth for FBI Agents

Job growth is an essential factor to be considered before choosing a profession. In the next decade, the expected job growth for the law enforcement career is 5 %, which means that the people employed in any agency capacity are expected to get 5 percent growth. This also affects the new openings in the agency.

If we talk about the particular job growth in the FBI, it depends on the agency’s requirements and its missions. The federal government funds the FBI missions. If sufficient funds are resting at the government’s disposal, it can promote the employees of the FBI, thereby offering them a handsome job growth. 

2023 GS Base Payscale for the FBI Agents

The starting salary for an FBI agent starts from the GS-10 and ascends to GS-15. The general base payscale tables are revised yearly and are implemented in January.

This year (2020-2021), the GS pay rates have raised a total of 1.0%. The 2021 GS base pay is mentioned below in a table from GS-10 till GS-15, including the annual GS base pay at every step (1-10). 

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GS Grade   Step 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 6Step 7Step 8Step 9Step 10

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