Research Paper: FBI Special Agent 

Categories: FbiGovernment


Serial killers, autopsies, and crime scenes most likely won’t be included on most people’s ideal job description. Instead there very well might be corner offices and the good ole desktop computer. After all not many people can say that they would enjoy a career involving corpses and other ghastly things. However, although you may very well encounter some of these (after all it comes with the trade), let not these superficial reasons distract from a potential career in the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

After all with great benefits, salary, and an awesome job title, being an FBI special agent should not be disqualified for having a few quirks, because at the end of the day you may very well change your mind.

Job Description

Law enforcement agencies are often times depicted through television series, movies, and other media outlets. These often taint our perspective about them and many times not in a good way. That is why it is important to stay educated on the topic of what exactly do these special agents do.

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According to Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole ( a former FBI special agent herself) on her web page she posted the following:

“The job ad a FBI profiler involves a lot of skills including from interviewing and analysis to public speaking and surveillance-”

The job is not an easy task on top of all that is listed agents have to be able to sit and sift through evidence and think as well as do all the high adrenaline things, agents need to able to rise to the challenge.

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Education Requirements

Entering the Bureau may very well be one of the hardest parts of the job, after all they will only accept the best of the best. According to Dr. Mary Ellen O’Toole’s article titled ‘Becoming an FBI Profiler’:

“At this point in time [2011] the FBI requires a four year college degree on any major in order to apply for an agent position.”

Dr. O’Toole continues on and specifies of the different majors agents often have including the most related like phycology and the unusual. However, getting into the FBI is not nearly that easy you must first go through the Academy.

The Academy

On top of having to active your degree in higher education you must go through what agents nicknamed ‘The Academy’. The FBI’s training academy revived the nickname for reasons only known to those who have attended before. Hoever, what we do know is that at this place there is no time for those who do not care enough. In fact on the FBI’s official webpage they state:

“We have to be willing to send some agents home when they are unfit to be an FBI special agent.”

Although this might seem harsh in truth it would be harsher to let them stay because they could endanger themselves, their partners, and even possibly the community they serve, because of this becoming an FBI agent is one of the most competitive jobs ever. The requirements the trainees face are no less difficult than trying not to be sent home. They will face challenges in five major categories academics, operational skills, firearms, case exercises, and physical training. According to the FBI’s page titled “New Agent Training”:

  • ‘Academics involves studying all that is needed to know about the law, warrants, ethics, and the FBI’s history.
  • Operational skills involve developing in the skills including self-defence and surveillance.
  • Firearms practices are taught as well as how to use the Bureau issued weapons.
  • Case exercises are simulations of what agents and their teams will face in the real world.
  • Physical training is required and all agents must pass a standardized test that includes push ups, sit ups on 1 min., 300 meter sprint, and a 1.5 mile run.’
  • These test are not made to be impossible but more so let for the purpose of separating the able versus the unable.

Salary & Benefits

Being an FBI special agents has added benefits. For example the average median pay for an agent is about $82,860 (according to the U.S. Labor and Statistics) as well as a comprehensive benefits package. After all, these agents do put their lives on the line everyday for us. The Federal Bureau of Investigations as well as the Federal government provide many benefits for both the FBI’s special agents and employees. At there is a page dedicated to providing everyone with information about these benefits. They state:

‘Life Insurance:

  • Special Agent Insurance Fund (special agents only)
  • Charles S. Ross Fund (special agents only)
  • Officers Benefits Program (special agents only)
  • Employee Benevolent Fund (all employees of federal gov.)
  • Annual Paid Leave-
  • Sick Leave- 4 hours per pay period or 13 days annually
  • Holidays- 10 paid holidays including the following: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, as well as Christmas Day.
  • Military Leave- up to 15 days for employees in service

Other Benefits:

  • Federal Employee Benefits programs (all employees)
  • Justice Transit Subsidy (all employees)
  • Student Loan Payment Program (all employees)
  • University Education Program (all employees)’

These benefits help to ease the burden that all agents and their families carry when they are out in the workforce and are one of the many reasons why the FBI is such a nice working environment.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation has posted the following message on its Twitter page as well as their website:

“Social worker or scientist, school principal or publisher…A lot of our special agents started down a different career path and never expected to join the FBI. Could YOU become a special agent #Unexpected Agent.”

This message is pretty straight forward as a recruitment message and speaking volumes of your ability to join the Bureau. In reality this statement is quite accurate being as that anyone who is is good physical and mental condition and willing to work (even when there are some downs to this type of work) should not pass on this opportunity to serve the community. This line of work although at time dangerous and most of the time adrenaline fueled is something special and that is nothing but a fact.

Works Cited

  1. O’Toole, Mary Ellen. “Becoming and FBI Profiler.” Mary O’Toole PhD. 2011. Author Bytes.
  2. “New Agent Training.” FBI. June 13, 2016. U.S. Department of Justice.
  3. Duke, Shirley, and Keli Sipperley. STEAM Jobs in Forensics. Rourke Educational Media, 2017.
  4. Grayson, Robert. The FBI and National Security. Mason Crest Publishers, 2010.
  5. “Federal Bureau of Investigations.” Eligibility | FBI JOBS. 2016. U.S. Department of Justice.
  6. Grabianowski, Ed. “How the FBI Works.” How Stuff Works. May 22, 2006. HowStuffWorks.

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Research Paper: FBI Special Agent . (2021, Apr 05). Retrieved from

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