SPECIAL AGENT - GS 1811-10 (EXTERNAL - All U.S. Citizens)

Job Summary

About Us

The mission of the FBI is to protect the American people. Special Agents enforce over 300 federal statutes and conduct criminal and national security investigations. Special Agents possessing a broad range of education, experiences, and skills are needed for the FBI to be successful. For example, Special Agents may be asked to utilize foreign language skills to interview a victim of human trafficking, computer skills to decipher malicious code, accounting skills to uncover hidden assets, or communication and collaboration skills to lead a joint agency investigation. The FBI provides the opportunity for leaders in every community to join our workforce and contribute in a meaningful way. Whether it is disrupting a terrorist network, gathering intelligence on a foreign enemy, or dismantling a criminal enterprise, the work of Special Agents is extraordinarily rewarding.

About You

You are a responsible, motivated, self-starter who has the ability to work in a high pressure and demanding team environment. You are able to work independently, adapt to changing and sometimes dangerous situations and make logical, well-reasoned decisions based on all available facts. You have superior interpersonal abilities and are able to effectively communicate, both orally and in writing, in an organized and articulate manner.

The FBI needs Special Agents with unique skills, lives, and backgrounds. The one thing every Special Agent shares is belief in the mission of the FBI. They have the drive to help keep our nation safe, become part of something bigger than themselves, and take pride in making a difference in the communities they serve.

A day in the life of a Special Agent is like no other occupation and includes a variety of exciting activities. To offer a glimpse, Special Agents participate in firearms and tactical training, interrogate subjects of on-going criminal investigations, interview witnesses and victims of criminal conduct, and execute federal search warrants. Special Agents also interact with the public through recruitment efforts and community outreach events.

Major Duties

The FBI Special Agent (SA) position requires significant commitment and dedication. SAs must:

  • Adhere to strict standards of conduct, especially in maintaining honesty and integrity.
  • Be available for worldwide assignment on either a temporary or a long-term basis.
  • Work a minimum of 50-hours per week, which may include odd hours, and be on-call 24/7 even on holidays and weekends.
  • Maintain the High-level of fitness necessary to effectively respond to life-threatening situations on the job.
  • Carry a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary.
  • Be willing and able to participate in arrests, execution of search warrants, and other dangerous assignments, all of which pose the risk of personal bodily harm.

Desired Skills, Educational Backgrounds, and/or Work Experience

While the FBI encourages applicants from all backgrounds to become Special Agents, we are always looking for Special Agent applicants with skills or experience in the following areas:

  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
  • Foreign Languages
  • Law (Attorneys and others in the legal field)
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)/ Forensic Accountants
  • Detectives
  • Military experience (specifically Special Forces, Explosives, WMD and Intelligence Experts)
  • Pilots (helicopter, fixed-wing)


New Agents Trainees (NATs) are paid on the GL schedule for Federal Law Enforcement Officers (LEO), beginning as a GL-10, step 1. In addition to the base salary, NATs will also get locality pay for the Washington, D.C. area plus availability pay (25% of base + locality pay), provided certain requirements are met.

Upon graduation from training, your salary will be adjusted according to the field office assignment and Law Enforcement Officers' availability pay. Check out the OPM Pay Calculator to see locality pay for a specific geographic area.

Upon completion of the two year probationary period, Special Agents will transition to the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, provided certain requirements are met, which offers opportunities for promotion up to a GS-13 or even higher for those interested in pursuing management roles.

See the GL and GS pay scales at www.opm.gov.

Key Requirements

FBI Employment Requirements for All Positions

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen
  • Must be able to obtain a Top Secret-SCI clearance
  • Be in compliance with the FBI Drug Policy

Review the full list of FBI employment requirements.

Additional Employment Requirements for the Special Agent Position

To be eligible for the FBI Special Agent position, applicants must meet the following minimum qualifications at the time of application:

  • Be between 23 and 37 years of age*
  • Have a bachelor's degree from a U.S accredited college/university
  • Have at least three (3) years of full-time (36+ hours per week) professional work experience*
  • Possess a valid driver's license and six (6) months of driving experience
  • Meet the physical requirements (see the Physical Requirements section below)
  • FBI Special Agents must apply prior to their 36th birthday. In addition, they must be appointed and assigned to the FBI Academy no later than the month of their 37th birthday to achieve 20 years of service prior to the mandatory retirement age of 57. The FBI may disqualify applicants at any time during the process if it is determined that they will reach age 37 before appointment.

Potential Exceptions: Applicants with prior Federal law enforcement service or preference eligible veterans may qualify for an age waiver.

  • Non-Preference Eligible Candidates – Applicants with prior/current service in certain federal LEO do not require an age waiver if they will have amassed 20 years of service by age 57.
  • Preference-Eligible Candidates – Applicants who are over the age of 36 at the time of application must have been discharged or released from active duty from the Armed Forces under honorable conditions (i.e., with an honorable or general discharge). Preference-eligible applicants must successfully complete all phases of the Special Agent Selection System (SASS) and pass the background investigation before requesting an age waiver. Please Note: Veterans at the rank of Major, Lieutenant Colonel, or higher, are not eligible for preference in appointment unless they are disabled veterans. This does not apply to Reservists who will not begin drawing military retired pay until age 60.

For ANY foreign degree, applicants must provide a foreign equivalency certification at the time of application. No processing will take place absent that documentation.

Potential Exceptions: If a bachelor's degree is not from a U.S. accredited college, but your advanced degree is from a U.S. accredited college, the FBI will accept the accreditation of your advanced degree and no other documentation is required.

  • For Special Agents, professional work experience is defined as having work experience in:
  • Any occupation that requires a college degree, and may include specialized training and/or
  • Any position that includes managerial, supervisory, or leadership and/or
  • Professional Athletics such as a full-time career participating in Major League sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc.) or International Competitions (Olympics).

Summer jobs, internships, seasonal positions, temporary employment and/or volunteer work are generally not considered in the professional work experience category.

In addition to the definition above, the FBI determines if an applicant meets the professional work experience requirement based on the general requirements needed to perform Special Agent duties.

Potential Exceptions:

  • Applicants with a master's and/or advanced degree(s) require two years of full-time work experience at the time of application.
  • For eligible veterans, part-time work, internships (paid or unpaid), and Reserve/Guard duty count toward total work experience. Volunteer work may be considered.
  • For all applicants, volunteer work (such as Peace Corps) that requires full-time participation, paid full-time graduate work programs, and full-time fellowships may be considered as professional work experience.

All exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Competency Evaluation

The FBI will evaluate your resume and application against the FBI's core competencies. Please ensure that some evidence of these competencies can be identified in your application. More specifically, when you describe the details of each of your prior work experiences, please include details that will allow us to see evidence of your experience collaborating with others, solving problems, etc. Click here for the definitions of the FBI Core Competencies.

  • Leadership
  • Collaboration
  • Organizing and Planning
  • Problem Solving/Judgment
  • Flexibility/Adaptability
  • Initiative
  • Communication

Physical Requirements

As a Special Agent candidate, you must be mentally and physically prepared for the wide variety of tasks that Special Agents perform. The FBI requires every applicant to pass the official Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and meet the vision and hearing requirements. In addition, each applicant's medical history is thoroughly reviewed on an individual basis.

A PFT self-evaluation is required upon application. Applicants must conduct PFT self-evaluations using the proper PFT protocols and provide accurate results within 30 days of submitting their applications. DO NOT estimate. Possible lack of candor will preclude applicants from further consideration.

Please visit our website for more information and watch the PFT protocol video (required).

Qualifications and Evaluations

The Special Agent Selection System (SASS) is a mentally and physically challenging process designed to find only the most capable applicants. However, those who make it through the process become part of an elite team that keeps our country safe.

Applicants should consider that the processing time to complete all stages of the Special Agent Selection System (SASS) may take up to one (1) year or more.

  • Preliminary Screening – Determination of eligibility, willingness, and awareness of the Special Agent position
  • Phase I – A three-hour exam consisting of cognitive, behavioral, and logical reasoning tests
  • Language Test – A written and oral language test for applicants claiming a foreign language ability (If applicable)
  • Meet and Greet – Information session and evaluation by field office recruitment team
  • Headquarters Review Process – Determination of individual competitiveness by FBI headquarters
  • Phase II – A 90-minute written exam and a one-hour oral panel interview*
  • Proctored Physical Fitness Test (PFT) – Determination of fitness level in order to meet SA physical requirements*
  • Background Investigation – To obtain a Top Secret security clearance which may take up to 6 months or more to complete (includes a Personnel Security Interview (PSI), polygraph exam, drug test, fingerprinting, and medical exam)*
  • Basic Field Training Course (BFTC) – Special Agent training for approximately 21 weeks in Quantico, VA

Upon admission to the BFTC, you will be required to sign a mobility service agreement indicating your willingness to relocate to any field office, based on the needs of the FBI. During BFTC, you will rank all 56 FBI field offices (including San Juan, Anchorage, and Honolulu) in order of preference. Upon successful completion of the BFTC, you will be assigned to your first field office to begin work as a new Special Agent. When making assignments, the FBI takes into consideration its short and long term needs, your specific skill sets, and your preferences. All assignments are made in the best interests of the FBI. In addition, you must adhere to the two year probationary period when hired.

  • Only afforded to those candidates deemed "Most Competitive."

Please Note: If you are currently employed, be aware that you may be scheduled for testing during your regular working hours (i.e. midday/midweek), and sometimes in a short timeframe. Also, you may receive no more than a two-week notice to report to the FBI Academy.

Additional information regarding the SASS can be found on our website and in the SA Candidate Information Packet.

Phase I and Phase II Testing – No Shows

Applicants faced with emergency situations that prevent them from attending their scheduled testing must contact their applicant coordinator as soon as possible. Once a candidate is informed of and accepts a scheduled date for testing, he or she may not cancel without incurring a "fail" for that test, unless documentation indicating a medical need to reschedule is submitted. Nonmedical extenuating circumstances (e.g., a death in the family or a military obligation) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the applicant coordinator and New Agent/Analyst Testing and Selection Unit (NAATSU) management.

Before You Apply

Ensure that you meet ALL requirements, and consider the following items:

  • Are you willing to wait approximately one year before being hired?
  • Are you willing to relocate to one of the FBI's 56 field offices? Is your family prepared for relocation?
  • Are you willing to accept the Special Agent salary and pay scale?
  • Are you willing to be on probation for the first two years of employment?

If you are currently on active duty in the military, you must be within one (1) year of completing your service before submitting your application.

Required Documents

Take a moment to review all of the items below. You must submit the required documents at the time you apply. Your application will not be processed until you have provided all of the required documentation.

For all Special Agent applicants:

  • Unofficial college transcript(s)

For applicants with current or prior federal work experience:

  • SF-50 - Notification of Personnel Action

For current or former members of the armed forces (one of the following):

  • DD-214, Member 4 or Service 2 copy
  • Statement of Service

For Veterans:

  • DD-214, Member 4 or Service 2 copy

For Disabled Veterans:

  • DD-214, Member 4 or Service 2 copy
  • VA letter, dated within one year
  • SF-15 (optional)

Note: When scanning and uploading your document(s), make sure that all pages are readable and facing upright in the same direction. DO NOT upload any picture files (JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP).

Additional Information

Conditional Job Offers

If you pass the application review, testing and physical fitness tests, you may receive a conditional appointment offer. Conditional appointment offers are not guaranteed. You must successfully pass all phases of the FBI Background Investigation (including the medical exam, polygraph, and drug tests) to be considered for a final job offer.

Final Job Offer Declinations

Employees who decline the final job offer for an SA position will be precluded from becoming an SA for a period of 12 months from the date of the final offer. To be reconsidered for an SA position, candidates must re-apply on FBIJobs.gov.

Final Job Placement

Job placement of selected candidates will be determined based on qualifications and the needs of the FBI. Candidates must be willing to accept assignment to any location within the FBI in order to be eligible for consideration.

Reasonable Accommodations

The FBI provides Reasonable Accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities. If you believe you have a disability that will require special arrangements during the hiring process, you may request a reasonable accommodation at any time by notifying your applicant coordinator. Each test in the hiring process is evaluated differently. Therefore, you must submit a reasonable accommodation request for each test, if needed. The decision to grant the requested accommodation will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Equal Employment Opportunity

The FBI is an Equal Opportunity Employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for this vacancy. Except where otherwise provided by law, selection will be made without regard to, and there will be no discrimination because of color, race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, parental status, physical or mental disability, genetic information, age, sex, sexual orientation, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, or on the basis of personal favoritism, or any other non-merit factors.


Nepotism is the act of favoring relatives in the hiring process, and is prohibited by law. Public officials are prohibited from hiring or promoting relatives or relatives of officials in their chain of command, as well as actively or indirectly endorsing a relative's appointment or promotion.

During the hiring process, all selected candidates and FBI hiring managers will be required to certify they are not related to anyone involved in the hiring process.


Questions regarding this posting should be addressed to [email protected]

Who May Apply


Failure to do so will result in missing information required to process your application.

This vacancy announcement is open to all qualified candidates within the United States and its territories. This posting will be used to fill multiple vacancies around the country.

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