Career Choice: FBI Special Agent

By Paula Santonocito

CSI documenting evidenceExcitement. Intrigue. Investigation. If these words have you nodding yes, yes, and yes, a career as an FBI special agent might in your future.

Initial Qualifications

First, a trivia question: Do you remember Agent 99, from the television series “Get Smart”? Alas, then this job’s probably not for you.

To become an FBI special agent, you must be at least 23 years of age, but younger than 37 upon appointment to the job, although age waivers may be granted to preference eligible veterans who have surpassed their 37th birthday.

If, on the other hand, you only know Agent 99 from the 2008 “Get Smart” movie, you may meet the age qualification, and FBI special agent could indeed be a position worth pursing.

In addition to the age requirement, you must be a U.S. citizen or a citizen of the Northern Mariana Islands. You must also hold a four-year degree from a college or university that’s accredited by one of the regional or national institutional associations recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education, and have at least three years of professional work experience.

Physical requirements, which include a physical fitness test, vision and hearing requirements, and a medical review are part of the application process as well.

So too is an extensive background investigation that includes a polygraph; credit and arrest checks; interviews with associates, personal and business references, past employers and neighbors; and verification of educational achievements in order to grant FBI Top Secret security clearance, which must be obtained in order to be eligible for the job.