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.

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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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

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 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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