FBI Surveillance Specialist Career Guide Requirement Training Salary

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FBI Surveillance Specialist Complete Career Guide, Requirement, Training, And Salary Details

FBI requires a constant supply of up-to-date information to combat terrorism in America as well as overseas. The surveillance specialists of the FBI gather the on-ground intelligence and information. FBI Surveillance Specialist are responsible for acquiring all the critical data through detailed surveillance. Intelligence analysts examine the data collected by surveillance specialists.

Surveillance specialists work with an agent to acquire information. This information is used for investigating criminals, counter-terrorism and counterintelligence against governments of other countries. Due to the confidential and investigative nature of the job, FBI requirements for the job of surveillance specialist are also similar to most of the other positions within the FBI.

The Federal Bureau of intelligence, most commonly known as the FBI, is responsible for protecting the national interests of the United States. There are numerous emerging threats every day, and the agency works to counter that.

The people working in the FBI are designated with different duties, and they are responsible for gathering information regarding various issues. The surveillance specialists are primarily responsible for keeping a check, mostly on people, sensitive buildings, and borders of the United States.

The surveillance specialists work with case agents and help them in keeping a check on their target. Most often, the responsibilities of the Surveillance specialists include counter-terrorism operations, counter-terrorism intelligence, and criminal investigation.

The job of FBI surveillance specialists is not an ordinary job, and there are many people out there who wish to join the agency as surveillance specialists. However, there are very few of them who successfully land at this place. This being said, one should not forget the job is challenging, and it requires certain sacrifices that you’ll have to make.

Before applying to become an FBI Investigative Specialist, there are several things you should consider. As an FBI Investigative Specialist, you will investigate various criminal activities, including terrorism, drug trafficking, and cybercrime. You must have strong investigative skills as well as knowledge of laws and regulations relating to the criminal investigation. In addition to your professional qualifications, you must also possess strong interpersonal communications skills, a commitment to the mission of the FBI, and a sense of integrity.

We have brought you a checklist of what you might expect if you aspire to have a career in surveillance.

  • You will have extensive traveling. The purpose of this traveling would be operational duties as well as training.
  • You will have to compromise working in an office setting, and most of your job will be carried out in the field environment where you’ll have to keep an eye on the assigned task.
  • Your work schedule will be compromised, and you’ll be required to work during the weekends as well. This does not mean that you will be working throughout the week but what it means is that you will have to remain available during the weekends, and you can receive the call to duty anytime.
  • The dynamics of your work environment will continuously change. For example, you’ll have to work in different settings depending on the project that you are working on.
  • You will have to deal with different gadgets. This includes a Camera and other necessary equipment.
    All these do not mean to keep you away from the job of an FBI surveillance specialist. Instead, they are discussed so that you can have a ground reality before you enter a particular position.

FBI Surveillance Specialist is responsible for the operation and management of the FBI’s surveillance capabilities. They conduct surveillance operations, develop and manage surveillance programs, and oversee the training of surveillance personnel.

The FBI Surveillance Specialist career path is a challenging and exciting one. It requires a dedication to upholding the law, a passion for surveillance, and a commitment to protecting the American people. If you have these qualities and are interested in becoming a surveillance specialist, the FBI offers several exciting opportunities.

The FBI’s surveillance capabilities are some of the most advanced in the world. As a surveillance specialist, you will have the opportunity to use the latest technologies and techniques to help protect your country. You will also be responsible for developing new methods and techniques for conducting surveillance.

The FBI is looking for talented and dedicated individuals to join its team of surveillance specialists. If you are interested in a career in surveillance, the FBI is the place for you.

Apply today and begin your journey towards becoming a world-class FBI surveillance specialist.

There are two different paths for surveillance specialists.

The first one is FBI mobile surveillance and the second one is fixed surveillance. For mobile surveillance, you will have to keep moving, and your duties will be to travel around and gather information. During the mobile surveillance, you can use public transport or car, and this job is primarily for people assigned to monitor an individual’s activities. So, if you are someone who likes to travel and keep an eye on the surroundings, this job is perfect for you. You will not only be doing your job, but instead, you will also be enjoying yourself as you travel from one place to another.

On the contrary, fixed surveillance means that you will be working in an office, and your duty will be to gather information using technical equipment. An ideal FBI surveillance team comprises both the surveillance experts and people hired as Surveillance Specialists who are expected to work in both environments.

Surveillance Specialist job description

The FBI surveillance specialist jobs have become more challenging due to the evolving sophistication of manysurveillance-specialists terrorist operations and growing awareness of the public regarding the capabilities of federal authorities. The target of the surveillance specialist’s job is to look for the individuals who exhibit suspicious behaviour. Surveillance specialists use different maneuvers to collect detailed intelligence while maintaining a facade of normality.

FBI surveillance jobs require professional and personal skills to gather as much information as possible without disclosing the identity. In order to bring the skills of the surveillance specialist in operation, the FBI may require its surveillance agents to travel to different locations within the country.

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Duties of FBI surveillance Specialists

As we have discussed the two types of surveillance specialists, let’s now jump on the duties you will be expected to perform in the Federal bureau of intelligence. First of all, you will be responsible for conducting surveillance operations; these surveillance operations will be in physical form and through modern equipment. Physical surveillance requires you to be physically present at a place and monitor the happenings through your eye. Sometimes you will be asked to describe those happenings, and for this, you need to have an excellent learning memory. The second type of surveillance is through equipment in which you’ll be asked to keep a check on certain people or happenings and keep a record.

Your second duty would be to gather photographic evidence of the happenings around you, and for this task, you will have to take pictures of the cars, buildings, and people. Though the job might seem simple, it is not. The main problem in this task is to be suspicious in the eyes of the people. You might be saying that you have no prior experience with doing such a task. If that is the case, you are going to be trained on this during the FBI surveillance specialist training.

During your job, you will be assigned to a particular project in which you will have to monitor people and areas. These projects may take a long time, and as a surveillance specialist, you will have to remember all the happenings. The best practice for an FBI agent is to keep track of all the happenings and document them somewhere. The documentation would help you remember the developments even if they had happened a year ago.

All the happenings in a particular case shall be documented to be used as proof later on. The FBI surveillance specialist must preserve all the evidence so that a case can be established later on. The surveillance specialists are sometimes required to give testimonials before the court of law, and if you are aspiring to be one, you must be willing to present yourself before the court of law.

Requirements for an FBI Surveillance specialist

The FBI surveillance specialist requirements will be discussed in this section. Make sure to check every point of the list to complete the requirements before applying for a position within the agency.

  • The FBI surveillance jobs are offered to those willing to relocate to any field within the department. The agency can’t afford to keep an individual within a specific department. Therefore the candidates who choose to relocate are accepted within the agency.
  • The Candidate must have a willingness to travel frequently. The nature of the job is such that it requires frequent traveling, and therefore, the candidates who accept this term are inducted into the training sessions. 
  • The candidate for a position in FBI Surveillance must be medically fit and willing to accept indoor and outdoor assignments.
  • The candidate must accept that their work hours will be irregular, and they must be willing to accept these terms.
  • The candidate must be a detail-oriented person. This means that while being on assignment, the candidate needs to observe the object in detail and report the happenings to the respective department.
  • The candidate must have a valid driving license.
  • The minimum educational requirement for the job is an associate degree, and the candidate will also have to go through security clearance or background check.
  • A candidate having experience with photography and other electrical equipment will have an advantage over other candidates applying for surveillance careers.

What does a surveillance specialist do?

  • FBI surveillance job description consists of the following duties that a surveillance specialist has to perform:
  • Plan, manage and execute a surveillance operation.
  • Secretly set up a surveillance post at a fixed location or in a mobile vehicle.
  • Perform electronic surveillance like taking photographs, videos, and sound recordings for admission into a legal proceeding and analysis.
  • Observe the communications between the target and other individuals.
  • Distribute the collected intelligence to appropriate FBI personnel after analyzing it.
  • Keep up a high level of professional behavior and attentiveness during the surveillance operations.

Job requirements for FBI:

The FBI has an exceptional reputation in law enforcement all over the world. The Bureau has a great history of solving cases from the Watergate investigation to the investigation of the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The FBI is renowned for its willingness to follow the leads wherever they go, even with immense political and public pressure. All that reputation of the FBI is because of its intelligent and prepared corps of special agents who are always ready to take on criminals anywhere in the world to protect the property and citizens of the US.

fbi-surveillanceFBI special agents must be committed to upholding the values of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI requires its agents to be trustworthy and honorable. They must be steadfast in upholding democracy and protecting the property, citizens, economy and infrastructure of the United States of America. The FBI requires its agents always to consolidate the Bureau’s motto: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity.

The September 11th attacks brought intelligence and counter-terrorism to the forefront in 2001. Over the years, the mission of the Bureau has changed. FBI works not only for law enforcement but also for the national defense. The FBI is charged with protecting the country against terrorist attacks, carrying out foreign intelligence operations, and combat corruption along with law enforcement and civil rights protection.

All these particular tasks have elevated the requirements for surveillance specialists and special agents. FBI requires individuals that are capable of adhering to the Bureau’s code. The FBI employees must take on crime and terrorism with their extraordinary technical and psychological skills. FBI special agents must be capable of coordinating with local and international law enforcement agencies and confidential informers.

FBI surveillance specialist job requirements, according to the FBI official website, are as follows:

  • Candidates must have a minimum of an associate degree.
  • Candidates must have willing to relocate to any field office within the FBI.
  • Candidates must be ready to travel frequently to fulfill duty assignments.
  • Candidates must be willing and medically able to accept assignments indoors, outdoors and in a wide range of weather conditions and situations.
  • Candidates must be available to work nights, weekends, holidays, odd hours and extended shifts as deemed necessary.
  • Candidates must be able to exhibit considerable patience.
  • Candidates must possess detailed observation abilities.
  • Candidates must have the ability to appropriately respond to unfolding situations and think quickly on their feet.
  • Candidates must possess strong analytical abilities, communication skills and writing skills.
  • Candidates must have exceptional attention to detail at all times and remain attentive throughout extended periods of inactivity.
  • Candidates must have the ability to blend seamlessly into a crowd to observe subjects.
  • Candidates must have the ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment.
  • Candidates must possess a valid driver’s license for the state in which the candidate resides.
  • Candidates must have experience working with photography and other electronic equipment.

The FBI has stringent job requirements because of the sensitive nature of the work. Following are the basic job requirements for FBI special agents:

  • Candidates must be a citizen of the US.
  • Candidates must have a valid US driving license.
  • Candidates must hold the US accredited four years college degree.
  • Candidates must be at least 23 and at most 37 years old at the time of appointment.
  • Candidates must meet the physical fitness criteria of the FBI.
  • Candidates must comply with FBI Drug Policy.
  • Candidates must be cleared for Top Secret SCI.
  • Candidates must have at least two years of professional work experience or one year of experience for those who hold a master’s degree.

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FBI Special Surveillance Group

FBI special surveillance group is a unit of investigative specialists that are highly classified. Members of special surveillance groups are not necessarily the special agents of the FBI. Special surveillance groups specialize in vehicular and foot surveillance of US citizens suspected of being involved in espionage or terrorism in the US Surveillance of suspected foreign nationals is also carried out by the Special Surveillance Group of the FBI.

fbi-surveillance-specialistThe SSG group’s investigative specialists or surveillance specialists are not armed and can not make arrests. Their task is to collect the on-ground intelligence and provide it to appropriate FBI personnel. Surveillance specialists receive nine weeks of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. These specialists carry FBI credentials and FBI badges. They conduct investigations along with special agents and intelligence analysts.

FBI Surveillance Specialist Salary

FBI surveillance specialists are not required to be special agents, although they receive FBI training. The surveillance specialist or surveillance investigator’s salary differs from the other FBI employees; however, the salary of the surveillance specialist is also based on the General Schedule (GS) table. At the start, a surveillance specialist is rated between GS-7 and GS-9. A surveillance specialist is promoted as high as GS-12 throughout a surveillance career.

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FBI Investigative Specialist Training

To become an FBI Investigative Specialist, you must complete an application process that includes passing several exams and demonstrating your knowledge in various areas such as criminal justice, law enforcement, computer crime investigation, and intelligence gathering. Additionally, you may need to complete specialized training, such as the FBI police officer program.

Upon completing the application process, you will be hired and placed in an FBI field office, where you will work under the supervision of a Senior Special Agent. As an FBI Investigative Specialist, your primary duties may include but are not limited to interviewing witnesses or suspects; collecting evidence; writing reports; and testifying in court. You may also be assigned to work within a task force or joint agency operation.

The FBI has transformed itself into an intelligence-driven organization. FBI focuses on collecting, sharing, analyzing and acting on intelligence to discover, understand and prevent national security threats. The FBI ensures that the employees charged with intelligence analysis and surveillance get the best training and receive continuing professional development.

The FBI surveillance specialist training program is a rigorous course that prepares individuals for a career in FBI surveillance. The program is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to conduct effective surveillance operations. In addition to learning the basics of surveillance, students also learn about the legal and ethical implications of conducting surveillance.

The FBI surveillance specialist training program is a valuable opportunity for individuals interested in a career in FBI surveillance. The program provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to become successful surveillance specialists. Individuals who complete the program are well-equipped to pursue a career in FBI surveillance.

To begin, you will need to meet FBI eligibility requirements, which include being at least 23 years of age, having a valid driver’s license, and possessing a four-year degree from an accredited college or university. You must also pass an FBI background check and know investigative techniques, policies, and procedures.

The agents receive sixteen weeks of training at the FBI academy in Quantico, VA and Washington, DC during the first probationary year. They learn self-defence, firearm handling, fingerprinting, criminal law, and FBI rules and methods during the training. After training, the FBI agents are assigned to one of the field offices for a year.


Following are some of the basic training programs for FBI agents and surveillance specialists.

Basic Field Training Course:

This course prepares the new agents and investigative specialists for their collaborative work in the field. BFTC helps the agents and surveillance specialists to accomplish the FBI’s mission as a national security and law enforcement organization.

Driving Skills (TEVOC):

TEVOC teaches the agents and the specialists to drive safely and effectively. It teaches them to track and catch the criminal and terrorists and avoid getting harmed by them. Driving training prepares the drivers to handle dangerous situations while driving.


FBI initiated a robust firearms training program after Congress gave authority to the FBI agents to carry firearms in 1934. The firearm course has grown and evolved continuously over the years to prepare the agents for threats and dangers during their assignment.

FBI Agent Work Environment

FBI agents must investigate violations of US laws and report their findings to the attorney general. FBI agents investigate crimes like kidnapping, bank robbery, fraud and sabotage. The task of FBI agents is highly investigative, and they do not express their opinions regarding the case. The agents must keep their work confidential and are not allowed to share their work information with outsiders and their family members. They may have to carry firearms on their assignments.

FBI agents work from the field offices located in the US and from national headquarters in Washington DC. FBI may be called in for assistance in federal crimes like tax evasion and counterfeiting. Generally, federal crimes are investigated by other agencies.

The FBI agent’s work environment is different from other jobs. FBI special agents and surveillance specialists must be ready for assignments in all places at all times. They can be called at any time of the day for an assignment. The extra hours spent at work are compensated with an annual bonus. FBI surveillance job or investigation agent job is a rewarding career for the person who can accept the job’s responsibilities. The work can be exciting as well as dangerous.

Does the FBI work overseas?

FBI stations its agents and other personnel overseas to protect the Americans by establishing relations with law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies worldwide. There is a continuous exchange of information between the FBI and other international agencies to overcome or prevent any threat.

Crime and terror have gone global. Keeping this in mind, the FBI has 63 legal offices and 30 smaller sub-offices in the key cities of different countries. These FBI offices around the globe provide coverage for more than 180 countries and territories. The offices of the FBI are established through mutual agreement between the US and the host country. These offices are located in the US embassy or consulate.

The International Operations Division manages FBI offices in other countries at FBI Headquarters in Washington DC. This office keeps close contact with Interpol, other federal agencies, and security agencies. Sharing of information from this office and international liaison is conducted according to the law treaties, FBI policies, interagency agreements, and attorney general guidelines.

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Salary of FBI surveillance Specialists

The FBI surveillance specialists are different from the agents. Therefore, their pay scale is also different. The FBI surveillance specialists are trained for their jobs, and their pay scale is according to GS. During the start, a surveillance specialist will be rated between GS-7 to GS-9, and the surveillance specialist can go up to GS-12. 

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