FBI Sniper – Observer Complete Career Guide

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FBI Sniper – Observer Complete Career Guide

A snipper at any law enforcement team has a very sensitive role to play. A sniper’s role is limited to marksmanship and keeping an eye on the whole squad when engaging with hostile forces. The FBI snipers are highly trained professionals who are ranked amongst the world’s finest snippers. However, becoming a sniper requires excessive training and specific personality traits that help them on different battlefields. These individuals hold the highest rank at all the law enforcement organizations, whether they work with SWAT or the FBI Hostage Rescue Team. Their job is to maintain public safety and safeguard the United States’ national security.

There are different ways to become a sniper in any law enforcement organization, but there is a need for some expertise in the candidate so that he can apply to the FBI. The talent can be natural or gained through training programs. The mastery of marksmanship, which is the most critical skill a sniper must possess, can be learned from private shooting schools. Then there is an option for trial and error learning, which, although it may take a lot of time eventually, you learn from your own mistakes.

This article will share the tips and tricks of becoming a sniper at the FBI, be it their SWAT team or HRT.

How to become a sniper at the FBI?

Becoming a sniper is rewarding for many individuals. The job of a sniper is dangerous and requires you to be 100% in the field. You are aware of your surroundings so that you can comprehend the situation. Therefore, it requires special training to become a sniper at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The individuals have some of their skills and capabilities that are needed in critical situations because the FBI snipers are the first ones to move inside an operation or sensitive area and give direction and instruction to tactical assets and personnel.

Initial Sniper Requirements at FBI

The first step of becoming a sniper at the FBI is to join as a Special Agent. We have a detailed blog post on how to join the FBI as a special agent. Click on the link provided below to find out more about it.


Other requirements of becoming a Snipper are:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be between the age of 23 to 37
  • Must have a four-year college degree
  • Must have a valid driver’s license
  • Must have served in the FBI for at least three years

The candidates who fulfill these requirements to be a sniper in the army have to give a few exams. The exams involve a written test and an interview, physical fitness test, background check, medical exam, and a drug test.

FBI Sniper Training

The applicants who pass the exam undergo a training program at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. These candidates are then assigned into five different divisions in which they train. The divisions are Directorate of Intelligence, Counterintelligence, Counterterrorism, Cyber, and Criminal Investigative. After completing a 21-week training program, each individual must serve for two years in the Field office alongside a Special Agent.

After completing a two-year training program at Field Office, the candidate can apply in a two-week selection program to join the FBI’s tactical units, SWAT, or the elite Hostage Rescue Team. All the Field Offices have their SWAT team composed of Special Agents who serve as FBI personnel. They only serve in SWAT when training or when they are assigned a mission with them. However, the Hostage Rescue Team members do not serve in the Field Office. Their career is solely based on training and mission deployments.

The training is difficult and requires special skills; therefore, candidates who outperform others and those who can work under extreme conditions and not lose self-control are selected. The individuals who succeed at the program are then sent to the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Course. The course is 12.5 weeks long, and it is designed to polish the skills of the candidates.

There are several topics covered in this course under two different categories;

  • Marksmanship and Basic Field Craft
  • Unknown Distance and Stalking

After completing the course, the candidates are assigned to the SWAT team or Hostage Rescue Team to fulfill the two key roles of the tactic units, deployment and initiating negotiations.

HRT FBI – FBI Hostage Rescue Team HRT Salary And Career Guide

Sniper Job Description

The sniper has the most life-threatening role in planning when they are on the battlefield.

  • A snipper should have the finest skills at marksmanship using a variety of weaponry.
  • The observational skills must be exceptional and should know when you shoot the target.
  • It’s teamwork; therefore, a sniper must know-how to cooperate with other snippers.
  • A snipper should know how to communicate clearly, as they have to report everything to the commander and other team members.
  • Negotiation skills are a must-have for a snipper, as they have to initiate conversation and build contact with hostiles.
  • A sniper must have a wide-angle of thinking about the situation and neutralize the targets, which might cause great violence by using tactics.
  • They have to provide instructions and strategies for deployment.
  • The snipper holds the front position, therefore, provides covering using defensive fire while the rest of the team keeps their position.
  • The observes now know the disposition of hostile combatants, the weaponry the hostable might have, presence of hostages, and other environmental conditions
  • In serious situations like a terrorist attack, these observers have to prioritize explosives and other nuclear weapons.

FBI Sniper Salary

The snipers who work with the FBI are a part of the tactical operation unit. They are the members of SWAT, Enhanced SWAT, or Hostage Rescue Teams. According to the General Schedule (GS), all the FBI members are paid, which starts at GS- 10 for snippers working at the FBI.

The GS scale rises according to the service and promotions of each individual and goes up to GS-13. If the snipers reach the level of a supervisor, instructor, or manage, their scale moves up to GS 14 04 GS -15. Hostage Rescue Team snippers already serve as a sniper. Therefore, their salary starts at GS-14 or GS-15.

These are the sniper salaries based on the General Schedule of 2020.

General Schedule GradePay Scale
GS-10$50,246.00 – $65,321.00
GS-11$55,204.00 – $71,764.00
GS-12$66,167.00 – $86,021.00
GS-13$78,681.00 – $102,288.00
GS-14$92,977.00 – $120,868.00
GS-15$109,366.00 – $142,180.00


There are other advantages other than the base salary. Snippers receive the cost of living, which usually is 12.5 to 28.7% of the base salary. There is 25% bonus pay for availability as well. Not only this, there is health insurance, life, and long-term care insurance, Thrift Savings Plans, and full retirement after 20 to 25 years of service

If you are willing and committed to developing marksman and observation skills, there are chances you can become a Sniper/observer. The FBI needs snippers and masterminds, so if you think you have a creative mind and self-discipline, you should be working hard towards your goal. Make yourself and your country proud of your capabilities.

If you have any questions, comment down below, and I’ll get back to you soon!

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