How to Become an FBI Police Officer? A Complete and Most Comprehensive Guide 2022
If you are interested in joining the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI as a police officer, you have to the right place. In this article, we will share everything you need to know to become an FBI police officer! So keep reading till the end to learn everything about it!
The job description of an FBI officer varies. It depends on their skills, role in the bureau, and the case they are dealing with. In short, we can say that the tasks of an FBI officer change each day, and there are doing something different every day.
Talking about the general job duties, an FBI officer testifies in the court works with other agents and sources on various cases, arrests, and paperwork.
What you do in the FBI can vary depending upon your location and the field you are in. Some Agents might spend more time behind a desk where they work in a local capacity, while others may not spend as much time working in a home base.
Wherever you work in the FBI, whether it is in an international, local, or national capacity, one thing is for sure: Being an FBI agent is rewarding and exciting. The dangerous yet honorable opportunity that an FBI agent gets to serve the country and community is the driving force behind every agent. FBI constitutes highly trained and skilled individuals intending to protect people from the harms of terrorism, cybercrime, and organized crime.
To be clear, this job requires a lot of dedication and time, but it is worth the sacrifice for the right candidate.
Duties, Tasks, and Overview
The bureau’s job is to investigate and take care of the matters that threaten the security of the United States while collecting intelligence, gathering, and investigating crimes. FBI investigations are mainly divided into white-collar crime, international and domestic issues, cybercrime, and foreign counterintelligence.
FBI Police Officer Duties
AS we discussed, the roles vary from person to person, depending on their skills and responsibilities. They perform all the necessary duties to investigate a case and address the serious security issues of the country. These duties may include working with the intelligence, gathering data, and executing warrants to make the arrests. They can either be made responsible for the managerial and administrative work, for example, public affairs, or they have to work in the field for investigation and security.
Working as an FBI officer
This job has no timings and is both demanding and very unpredictable. There are no duty hours, and you are typically on call most of the time. Since a security issue or criminal activity can occur at any time, the FBI police officer has to be available 24/7. Even it is a weekend or a public holiday. They must also have no issues with carrying a firearm, and they can willingly expose themselves to even bodily harm in the performance of their duty.
How to become an FBI Police Officer? A Step-By-Step Guide
Here is a step-by-step guide that can help you learn everything from the eligibility criteria to documentation and the whole screening process. So let’s get started.
Application Process and Eligibility Requirements
You can apply for the FBI police officer jobs by either applying on www.FBIJobs.gov or submitting your CV to an FBI police recruiter. Your application must include the resume, document verifying status, and college transcripts for submission.
To be eligible for applying to the FBI, you must meet the following requirements:
- Age must be between 23 to 26 years.
- Must hold US citizenship. Non-citizens cannot apply for the FBI police officer job, and the applicant must have lived in the USA for at least the last 3 to 5 years.
- Must have a clean criminal record with zero convictions.
- A thorough security clearance is required. The FBI will check all the previous records, including medical history, employment, law enforcement, medical history, and more.
- Must be physically fit. The candidate has to clear test exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, mile runs, etc.
- Must also be medically fit. There must not be any underlying medical condition.
- Must hold at least a bachelor’s degree
- Must have at least 2 years of professional experience. For those with a master’s or higher degree, at least one year of professional work experience is required.
The FBI police office must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college in the USA. There are no strict requirements regarding which degree you must have. However, certain subjects are better suited for the job. Thus, it is better if you have a bachelor’s degree in any of the following subjects:
- Criminal Justice and Military Intelligence
- IT and Computers
- Hard Science Subjects, e.g., Biology or Chemistry
- Accounting and Finance
- International Relations
It is also better to acquire a master’s degree in these subjects. With that, there are good chances that you qualify for the police officer job, and you can also earn more. A master’s degree may also help you be eligible for technical and managerial positions in the future.
Apart from this, the candidate’s communication skills, leadership skills, interpersonal abilities, and adaptability are also checked, and only those who comply with the requirements are selected. If you are pursuing your career in the counterterrorism and counterintelligence department, then it adds to your profile if you are proficient in any other language (apart from English).
The potential candidates must submit their applications for the test and interview of the FBI police officer jobs. There are two phases in the testing. Phase 1 measures the attributes like logical reasoning, judgment and decision-making, and the candidates’ personality traits. Those who clear Phase 1 are moved to Phase 2 of the selection procedure. Phase 2 testing is a structured interview that the candidate must clear before moving to the next step. The candidates also go through the physical fitness test, background investigation, drug test, and polygraph test.
It must also be mentioned here that the FBI gives a lot of importance to criminal history. Although minor offenses, for example, traffic tickets, may not eliminate you from contention, it lowers the chances, especially when done at an older age. Also, remember that even minor criminal issues, for example, defaulting on loans during education, can eliminate you from the job.
Other reasons for disqualification can be conviction of domestic violence, unable to pay the taxes, not paying the child support, or anything that does not meet the FBI criteria. You must know that if you have been a drug user in the past and you lie about it, you are considered disqualified for the job. Similarly, the candidates using marijuana are disqualified, and you must not have used it for the past 3 years (even with a prescription) if you want to join the FBI police.
Basic Field Training at Quantico
Once you have passed the testing procedure, you must report to the FBI Academy located in Quantico, Virginia. Here an introductory field training course is conducted for 20 weeks before the job begins. These 20 weeks include 800 (or more) hours of training and instruction with a significant focus on these 4 aspects: academics, firearm training, case exercises, and operational skills.
The academics deal with a broad range of subjects. These include the study of the law, forensic science, ethics, and behavioral science. Skills like interrogation, reporting, interview, and investigation are taught to the students. These subjects prepare the candidate to investigate the crime scenes and run the counterterrorism operations.
The Firearm training deal with building knowledge regarding the weapons and their use. The curriculum includes weapon handling skills, orientation, safety, and live training. There are a total of 28 sessions with 110 hours of firearm training.
Case exercises are another critical component of the candidate’s education. These exercises are carried out at the Hogan’sHogan’s Alley, and various steps of investigation and interrogation are covered in this.
The operation skills deal with the in-field tasks and include operation planning, surveillance, and tactical driving. Most of this training is done at the FBI’sFBI’s Hogan’sHogan’s Alley to develop the skills by doing simulated exercises.
Pay of an FBI Officer
As reported by the US Office of Personnel Management in 2020, an FBI officer usually earns around $28,000 to $66,000, and the highest-paid employees even earn over $170,000. The salary depends totally on the expertise and skills acquired by the person and the cost of living. In other words, we can say that it depends on the paygrade and the paygrade step that the officer has achieved over time.
The distribution of pay is done in categories given below:
- General Salary (GS)
- Senior Executive Service (SES)
- Senior Level Positions (SL)
- Executive Pay (EX)
The General Salary (GS) is the most populated one, and the FBI trainee usually starts from GS-10. The pay at this scale is around $50,000 per annum during the training period. Once the training is completed. Then the salary level is authorized depending upon the field office assignment. As the officer’s career progresses, the pay increases according to the expertise and bonuses. Usually, after the two year probation period, the salary keeps increasing, and by the 5th year, the payscale level typically reaches G-13 with a salary of at least $79,000 per annum. The cost of living bonus also has a significant impact on the overall salary of an FBI officer. It can be anywhere from 16% to 41% of your base pay. Thus, those who acquire jobs from the field office usually get a large pay increase. In short, we can say that the FBI police officers get good pay and earn good earnings upon the progression of their careers.
The Pros and Cons of Joining FBI
Being in the FBI has its perks and drawbacks.
The prominent perk is the pride one carries while serving the nation for a good cause. An FBI officer takes care of the rights of the citizens and saves the country from some significant criminal activities, domestic threats, and terrorism.
With that comes a vast responsibility; hence, it is not easy. The life of an FBI officer is always at risk, and they are always subject to dangerous situations. Also, the working hour varies, and you have to be available even 24/7 if some critical situation arises. These men must always be ready to face even the most challenging situations and the most violent crime scenes and be able to interrogate and investigate to ensure and enforce the law. Thus, you need to have a strong heart and a brave mind in these circumstances.
Difference between an FBI Officer and Police
People often get confused between a local police officer and an FBI officer, so let’s discuss this here as well! As we know, the FBI is a federal investigative agency that is law enforcement agency. It deals with all the threats to the country at the government level.
In short, we can say that it is the custodian of US national security. Police, on the other hand, is a local law enforcement agency that deals with day-to-day matters. The FBI is a premier investigating agency, and it assists the police in handling significant cases.
In other words, we can say that the FBI investigates all the critical cases and those related to the USA’s security. The police, however, ensure the daily maintenance of law in the area. Hence, if the FBI is the brain, the police forces are the body parts, and both work together to perform critical functions.
The End Note
The FBI police officer job is both mentally and physically challenging, and you must only apply if you are ready to risk your life for your people. However, it is a very rewarding one, too, and comes with many perks. Thus, if you are ready to join the FBI police officer force, make sure you apply on time and have all your documentation completed. Also, make sure that you are physically and medically fit and ready to take any challenge given to you. So get yourself prepared and follow the steps mentioned above to join the FBI as a police officer. Best of luck!