What Is Required for FBI Physical Fitness?

Angela Crout-Mitchell

In order to become or remain a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, there is certain criteria that must be met in regards to physical fitness and health. People who wish to become FBI agents are required to undergo vision and hearing tests, and must also complete and pass a specific FBI physical fitness exam. These guidelines are in place to ensure that current and future FBI agents are in excellent physical condition to cut down on job related injuries and to ensure the agents are capable of performing their duties safely and competently. The FBI provides trainees and current agents with physical training guidelines in order to assist the candidates with properly preparing for the fitness entrance exam.

The FBI physical exam tests for conditions like hypertension.
The FBI physical exam tests for conditions like hypertension.

FBI candidates and trainees are required to undergo vision and hearing tests as part of their FBI physical fitness evaluation. Each candidate must have eyesight no worse than 20/200 in either eye and should be able to use vision correction devices with no problems in order to be eligible for the FBI academy. People with color blindness are also required to pass the Farnsworth D-15 color vision test. Candidates are allowed no more than a 25 decimeter hearing loss at 1000, 2000, and 3000 Hertz for continuation in the training program.

An FBI physical fitness exam often tests for heart conditions.
An FBI physical fitness exam often tests for heart conditions.

A medical exam and past medical history disclosure are also part of the FBI physical fitness requirements. The medical exam is a standard physical with special emphasis on possible preexisting conditions that may limit physical abilities, such as heart conditions or hypertension, certain types of surgeries, and emotional or mental disorders. In most cases, if the examining doctor finds that the past medical history does not limit the person's ability to perform the basic job requirements of a FBI agent, the candidate is allowed to continue with testing for inclusion in the FBI training academy.

The successful candidate is also required to be able to pass the FBI physical fitness exam. Prospective FBI agents are given one minute to complete as many traditional sit-ups as possible as part of their fitness evaluation. The next step of the process is to perform a 300 meter (328 yard) timed sprint and is followed by the candidate performing as many push-ups as possible with no time limit implemented. The final exercise requirement is a timed one and a half mile (2.41 km) run. People who are unable to pass these requirements within the guidelines established by the FBI are required to wait one year before requesting retesting.

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Discussion Comments


Many FBI jobs today have nothing to do with working in the field, so physical strength and stamina are not as valued as these traits might have been in the past for prospective agents. I don't know this for certain, but I would be surprised if the physical fitness training and the physical fitness requirements for field agents is the same as it is for agents who work on computer security issues and other agents who mostly sit behind a desk all day.

There is much more of a demand for agents with computer savvy than there is for agents who can run a mile in five minutes or lift twice their weight. I don't imagine the FBI is turning away computer geniuses because they can't bench press 200 pounds.


I understand that FBI agents need to have regular physical exams to check their health, but there is no way that all FBI agents are in that good of condition. With all due respect, I have seen some people who have FBI jobs and some police officers too who have been on the job for a while, and some of them probably couldn't run three block without getting exhausted, and it would take them about 10 minutes to run those three blocks.


I always thought it would be fun to work as an FBI agent, but I have to admit that there is probably no way that I could pass the physical fitness part of the examinations. Those men and women have to be in really good shape to pass the physical fitness training and to do their jobs.

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