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09/08/2019

Joining the FBI out of college?

QUESTION
Joining the FBI out of college?
My goal is to become a Special Agent in the FBI one day. I plan on attending a college that offers a major in criminology and criminal justice and receiving the highest possible degree. I have never ,been in trouble. I maintain a 98 GPA, and I participate numerous extracurricular activities. I also have a number of leadership roles on my resume. I am in the process of preparing my college essay, profile, and applications. Would it be wrong to believe that I could join the FBI straight out of college? or do I need to go into the field of law first? I am a little confused, I don’t wish to waste any time where I don’t have to. Any advice on how to achieve my goal?

ANSWER
Joey has a lot of good info regarding the specialty tracks that the FBI focuses on hiring from. Those are far more important than a Criminology degree.

It is not likely that you’d be selected as a Special Agent right out of college. They’re generally looking for at least a few years of relevant experience in one of the tracks, as well as demonstrated leadership experience.

When I was going through the application process (I ended up being selected for the Phase II interviews, but pulled myself out since it was the first day of a new career), the SA applicant coordinator told me that he gets plenty of people that he considers not “highly competitive” because they just need a couple years more experience before being competitive for that Phase II portion.

Criminology degrees are a dime a dozen at the local and state law enforcement levels…although it can at least give you the edge of having a 4-year degree if your plan is to get a police job that way, then spend a few years doing exceptionally there before applying for the FBI.

Where I’d disagree with Joey is that it’s not that competitive, and you can just walk off the stage with your diploma and into an FBI office to get a job (sure, an exaggeration of his point). Last November when usajobs.gov opened up for the SA position after a year of no availability, they got 70,000-some applications. About half of those were accepted for Phase I testing, and half of THOSE passed onto the one-on-one interview with the local field office stage. And 2,000 some ended up making it to the Phase II round. So, yes, it’s quite competitive. That’s why having stand-out performance and experience in the chosen field is important to be competitive.