The life of an FBI Special Agent is that of an individual who is always on call whenever his country needs him. The notion of 9 to 5 is simply not on the table for the profession. Typically a specialist in the intricacies of law, the financial tricks dirty accountants use to launder money, the various tongues spoken throughout the world, or the various programming languages used by software, an FBI Special Agent is essentially a master detective and gatherer of information backed by the direct authority of the central government.
The FBI does not have a single track to become a Special Agent, but each track is highly demanding and influenced by whatever deficiencies are present in the overall resources of the FBI at any given time. To illustrate this, the FBI has a set of five Special Agent entry programs. In order for you to proceed to the second step of being considered for an FBI Special Agent position, one of these five tracks must be completed.
FBI Special Agent Entry Programs
In order to qualify through this track, you must either be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or have a four-year college degree with a major in Accounting and three years of what the FBI calls “progressively responsible accounting work” employed with an accounting firm, government office, or other such reputable employer.
Computer Science / Information Technology
In order to qualify through this track, you must have a four-year college degree related to computers or information technology, such as a computer science degree, a computer programming degree, or a computer technology and networking degree. An electrical engineering degree is also acceptable. Alternatively, if you have a four-year degree in any subject, as well as Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) or Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE) certification, you qualify through this track. For those of you seeking qualification through this track, CCNP is much, much easier than CCIE.
In order to qualify through this track, you must have a four-year college degree in one of the languages the FBI is currently seeking, as well as pass the reading and listening portions of the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) and score “3” or higher on the Speaking Proficiency Test (SPT) associated with your qualifying language. As of August, 2013, the FBI is seeking those who speak the following languages: Arabic, Chinese (all dialects), Farsi, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Pashtu, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Urdu and Vietnamese.
In order to qualify through this track, you must have a JD degree from an accredited law school.
The FBI’s catch-all category, the diversified track allows the Bureau to reach out and snap up anyone who has skills that appear to be of need as technology and criminal stratagems evolve. As such, it has the broadest requirements. In order to qualify through this track, you must simply have either a four-year college degree and three years experience leveraging that degree in a full-time job or an advanced degree and two years experience leveraging that degree in a full-time job. Though this does mean a professional cellist technically qualifies, note the catchall nature of this category. It can set you up for being ignored in the second phase of the FBI Secret Agent hiring process,
Those who qualify under one of the five Special Agent entry program tracks are shunted over to critical skills. Those exhibiting one or more of these critical skills are given priority when it comes time to start interviewing for a new Special Agent position. As of August, 2013, the desired critical skills are:
- Computer Science/Information Technology
- Foreign Language(s)
- Law Enforcement and Investigation
- Physical Sciences (e.g., physics, chemistry, biology, etc.)
- and, of course, Diversified