Even though the media has made the special agent position a job every cadet dreams of, it is necessary to point out there are numerous other career opportunities in the FBI. While in the past, the Federal Bureau of Investigations dealt exclusively with crimes within the United States border, the tragic 9/11 event determined American authorities to pass some of the CIA’s responsibility to the FBI.
Therefore, the FBI’s role nowadays is to protect the country from both internal and external threats. In order to shield U.S. from terrorism and foreign intelligence threats, they have created several new positions and opened up vacant spots in their old departments.
FBI Training Requirements
Law enforcement officers who want to attend special training with the FBI will need to be nominated by a highway patrol organization, chief of police, state police executive officer, superintendent or a commissioner. Moreover, the FBI will only accept officers who have experience in enforcing the law and can prove it with a minimum rank of lieutenant or equivalent.
The FBI nominees will also need to meet the following requirements:
- At least 25 years old
- Be full-time employees in a municipal, state, federal or county law enforcement agency
- Minimum 5 years experience in the field
- Professional integrity
- Have an excellent physical condition confirmed by the physical examination
- Be interested in the law enforcement field
- Agree to remain in the force for at least 3 years after graduating from the FBI academy
It is important to mention the fact that FBI now accepts international students as well. Similar to an American applicant, an international student needs to be nominated by their host country’s authorities and their applications need to be forwarded to the FBI’s legal attaché offices that are located in the U.S. embassies.
FBI Training Program
Every year, approximately 1000 new agents graduate from the 20 weeks of intense preparation courses in the FBI training program.
There are 5 major programs included in the training:
- Leadership development institute
- International training
- National academy
- Center for intelligence training
- New Agent training
FBI Training Academy
Even though the name might be misleading, the FBI National Academy is a professional law enforcement study program for both U.S. and international police officers. Because the academy’s role is to improve the administration of justice in police departments worldwide, the courses of the program appeal to the leaders and managers of sheriff’s offices, police, law enforcement agencies and military organizations.
The courses are held four times per year and consist of 10 hours of classroom each week.
FBI Special Agent Training
Applying for the special agent FBI program entails at least 3 years of professional work experience, a valid driver’s license issued in the FBI’s jurisdiction, a 4-year college degree from a national education university recognized by the Secretary of Education and an age between 23 and 37 upon appointment.
As a side note, there can be exceptions regarding the maximum age of candidates (age waivers). If accepted, the applicant will need to select one of the 5 special agent entry programs:
- Computer science
FBI Hostage Negotiation Training
Officers who want to receive hostage negotiation training will need to enroll in the special agent and tactical operations training. In other words, the program is currently open only to FBI’s special agents who are able to pass the two-week meticulous selection process.
The special agents who intend to apply for the hostage negotiations preparation course must have at least 3 years of experience in military police or the tactical team of the local, state or county police department. Take notice that full-time positions and advanced continuing education will present an advantage the candidate.
FBI Intelligence Analyst Training
The intelligence analyst uses cultural, historical and language knowledge to identify and combat international threats such as the Al-Qa’ida program or nuclear programs in the Middle East. Nonetheless, this FBI agent can also discover national threats within the country, thanks to the extensive intelligence network and partnerships.
Because an intelligence analyst will work at a global scale, the FBI proposes three career paths built around the intelligence network cycle:
- Tactical (active embedded squads and units)
- Reporting/collecting information (from technical sources and people)
- Strategic (creates strategic analytic products)