Career Choice: FBI Special Agent

By Paula Santonocito

For example, the Intelligence program focuses on positioning the FBI to meet current and emerging national security and criminal threats. Investigative work, policy establishment, and analysis all fall within its jurisdiction.

Details about each program, as well as salary information, are available at the FBI Careers site.

Women Wanted

At the site you’ll also find a special section devoted to Female Special Agents.

In the Meet Our People section, several female special agents provide insight into their jobs. Be sure to check out both the videos and the written testimonials.

A spokesperson for the FBI tells SMW that as of February 28, 2010, the Bureau employed 2,576 female special agents and 10,916 male special agents; that is, 19 percent of special agents are women and 81 percent are men.

The number of women special agents has increased in recent years, but women generally do not pursue the positions to the extent men do. As a result, the FBI targets women specifically at its site.

FBI Citizens’ Academy

Special agent trainees apply directly, and they enter the program through various internship programs.

However, another possible avenue is the FBI Citizens’ Academy. All 56 FBI field offices nationwide offer the program, which usually involves a series of 10 sessions where you learn all about working for the FBI. Fingerprint and forensic services are part of the curriculum, as is firearms training.

An FBI spokesperson says the program is a good avenue for people to find out more about being a special agent, and although not the traditional path to employment it could lead to a job or an appointment for a job.

If you’re on another career path and unsure about committing to a change, the FBI Citizens’ Academy will allow you to truly investigate what a special agent does. It will also provide you with insight into other FBI jobs—which brings up the reasoning behind age restrictions for the jobs.

Special agent is not intended to be a career-long position, the FBI tells SMW; as agents acquire skills and expertise, they transition into other roles within the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

That’s right: This job not only offers intrigue today, it leads to opportunities tomorrow. Is special agent in your future, 99?

This is the first in a series of articles where will profile nontraditional careers for women.

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