What Are the Different Qualifications for the FBI?

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  • Written By: L. Whitaker
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2019
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In order to be considered for employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), applicants must meet certain minimum requirements based on age, citizenship, work experience, education, and availability. Additional qualifications for the FBI involve a detailed background check, drug testing, and taking a polygraph or lie detector test. Those individuals who are applying for a special agent position have to meet even more qualifications for the FBI, including a medical exam and statement of geographic availability, which might not be necessary for non-fieldwork support positions such as intelligence analysis. Certain disqualifying criteria, such as having been convicted of a felony, will automatically bar an applicant from ever being considered for employment with the FBI.

Government policy on the basic qualifications for the FBI requires applicants to be a citizen of the U.S. or of the Northern Mariana Islands, to hold a four-year bachelor's degree in any subject from an accredited institution of higher learning, and to demonstrate a minimum of three years of experience in a professional field. Candidates must also have a current driver's license, be able and willing to relocate for assignment in any FBI field office, and be between 23 and 37 years old, except in special cases for preferred candidates who are military veterans. Finally, every candidate has to be able to meet physical criteria for overall fitness as well as demonstrate hearing and vision within specific protocols.


Aside from these initial qualifications for the FBI, applicants also have to meet the criteria for a specific entry program. The program options include law, computer science/information technology, language, accounting, or diversified entry. If an applicant is considered a strong candidate according to the basic requirements, then his or her application will be assigned a priority level based on which specific critical skills the agency is currently seeking. Some examples of desired skills include expertise in the military, physical sciences, engineering, or law enforcement; proficiency in languages; and financial or accounting skills.

There are specific disqualifying criteria that can automatically prevent a person in perpetuity from meeting qualifications for the FBI. Under federal government policies, individuals cannot be considered for FBI employment if they have ever had a felony conviction, defaulted on a student loan, violated the official FBI drug policy, or failed an FBI drug test. Additionally, male applicants will be disqualified if they have ever failed to register for Selective Service as required by federal law.


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