Growth Trends for Related Jobs

The Characteristics of FBI Agents

careertrend article image

Compassion and intestinal fortitude are just two of the characteristics that special agents of the FBI are required to cultivate. As officers of the law dealing with people as diverse as terrorists and witnesses at a crime scene, these men and women of the FBI have to draw on their innermost excellence in order to keep the peace and track down wrong-doers. If you're interested in becoming an FBI special agent, check to see if you have the right characteristics.

Physical Fitness

Even before being chosen to become an FBI agent, applicants must undergo a battery of tests to determine whether they measure up to the physical qualifications of the job. Agents may face life-and-death situations that require the highest level of physical stamina and endurance to survive. Special agents must also have excellent sight and hearing to meet the demands of their job. Ongoing participation in a regular fitness program throughout their career ensures that FBI agents are ready at a moment's notice to call on their physical prowess in any situation.

Mental Skills

Upon entering the FBI, agents-to-be must have earned a four-year degree from an institution, either college or university, that meets the requirements of the U.S. Secretary of Education. You don't have to be a genius to become an FBI special agent, but you must display a certain level of intelligence; all applicants are required to qualify for one of five Special Agent Entry Programs that range from computer sciences to law. Continually honing their mental skills, such as critical thinking, is as important to FBI agents as their superior level of fitness.

Personal Traits

Bravery and honor are not characteristics that you're born with, but develop over time. The noble nature of the job of defending and upholding the laws of the United States ensures that most FBI agents develop those two stalwart traits during the course of their career. In addition, special agents must possess a high level of integrity that allows them to safeguard sensitive information that comes their way during an investigation. Compassion, respect, fairness and accountability are considered FBI core values and are characteristics to which every agent should aspire. To ensure that agents are aware of the high personal standards that they must uphold, all FBI agents are required to attend ethics training.

Leadership Skills

Not every agent has the luxury of having a team at his back during every moment of an investigation. He must develop the leadership skills that allow him to act in his country's best interest at all times without having to stop at a critical juncture of the investigation to wait for backup. That being said, working with a team is part of the training of an FBI agent. Each member of the team brings their own special skills to the table, but all members work in concert to get the job done.


Linda Kaban is a certified yoga teacher and professional life coach who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. With a bachelor's degree in the humanities, Kaban has been writing since 1998 and has been published in YOGALife magazine along with other healthy living publications.

Photo Credits