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Criminal Justice Articles

What does it take to become an FBI Agent?

Being a member of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a demanding and extremely important career in law enforcement. The individual seeking a position with the FBI may need to meet preliminary requirements before entering into the training program. First and foremost, an applicant must be a United States citizen or a citizen of the Northern Marianas territory; this is a legal territory of the US. It does not matter if the applicant immigrated to the United States, or was born in the US, as long as the individual is a citizen. The applicant must not be any younger than twenty-three years of age. A maximum age of thirty-seven is allowed; the last day a person can apply for entry into the program is the day before their thirty-seventh birthday.

The reason for the maximum age is to prevent any unnecessary harm or injury to agents. An agent's day to day job requires that they be in top physical condition and have a high degree of stamina. An individual applying to the FBI agent program might require to possess a four-year degree upon their date of entry. Unfortunately, military experience does not count toward or in lieu of a four-year degree. Federal agents need to be in top mental form as well as physical form, and the four-year degree proves to the review board at the FBI that the agent is mentally prepared for work at the FBI. In addition to the degree, an individual might need to have at least three years of work experience prior to applying. The prospective agent will, of course, may need to have a valid driver's license in the area in which they are applying for service.

After meeting all of these requirements, the applicant must qualify for one of the entry-level programs in the FBI. These programs include accounting, computer science or information technology, language, law, or diversified. These program entries are determined by the four-year degree the applicant possesses and is determined immediately upon entry into the training program. For example, an applicant that has a CPA or accounting degree will be placed in accounting, while those applicants with a four-year degree in Chinese will be placed in the language program. At this point, the individual is prioritized in the hiring process, which is based on the skill sets that the FBI is hiring for. Critical skills will include aspects such as law enforcement experience, military expertise, or tactical operations experience. These will determine the final placement of the applicant.

After being accepted to the FBI training program, an agent will need to perform in a multitude of physical courses to train their bodies for active service. This requires weight training as well as endurance and stamina exercises. Testing and examinations will also be required so the agents are knowledgeable in the laws and rights of both citizens and agents. Passing grades need to be attained in order to stay in the FBI training programs and meet the minimum required skills.

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