What Is the Best Degree Path for Becoming an FBI Agent?

If you dream of an exciting job where you have the responsibility to defend your country from terrorism, then a career as a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI agent) could be right for you. These federal law enforcement professionals gather intelligence and investigate crimes to protect the national security of the United States of America. Each of the varied career opportunities with the FBI requires a college education and years of professional experience.

Popular Majors for Aspiring FBI Agents

Attaining any position with the FBI requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and three years of work experience or a graduate degree and two years of experience, according to the official Federal Bureau of Investigation website. What degree you should pursue depends on what role you would like to fill in the agency. For example, FBI agents in cyber security typically have an education in computer science, information technology or systems, computer or cyber security, mathematics or a discipline of engineering.

Candidates who become fluent in languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese and Spanish can seek positions as FBI linguists or foreign language professionals who serve as translators and interpreters. Aspiring FBI linguists should pursue a college degree in their intended foreign language.

Aspiring special agents can study a variety of majors. Some study criminal justice, corrections, military intelligence or homeland security and gain experience working as police officers. Others approach the career from a business background, with a degree in accounting, finance, business administration or economics. Still other candidates begin studying political science or international studies. Science degrees in subjects like chemistry, physics and biology are also sought-after. Among the most preferred candidates for FBI jobs are those with law school degrees (Juris Doctorates or J.D.s) and accounting degrees (and a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, license).

Beyond the Degree

The job of an FBI agent is a demanding one. Having the right education and employment experience is essential for this competitive career, but there are plenty of other factors that could affect an aspiring FBI agent’s chances of getting his or her dream job. First, FBI agents must be legal citizens of the United States and must have lived in the U.S. for at least three of the last five years. They must also have a clean record, with no felony or domestic violence convictions and no failures to make any child support, student loan or tax payments. Because the job requires agents to be in outstanding physical shape, they must be able to pass a personal fitness test.

Though the competition to land a job with the FBI is fierce, there is a wealth of opportunities available to candidates with the right education, experience, physical fitness and dedication. Whether the aspiring FBI agent is interested in computer security, foreign languages, forensic accounting, law, science or criminal justice, he or she can choose from a wide range of degrees to prepare for this thrilling career.

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