Federal agents must be well-educated to take on the demands of investigating and enforcing federal laws and matters of national security. Terrorism, organized crime and cyber crimes are just a few of the types of cases handled by special agents. All FBI special agents must have at least a bachelor's degree. Agents must meet requirements including work experience, certification and specialized skills to qualify to become a special agent.
Applicants with a bachelor's degree in accounting may qualify for the FBI's accounting entry program. Three years of work experience in a professional accounting firm or public accounting setting are required. Alternatively, individuals with a CPA certification qualify under this program. This accounting experience is also a critical skill that gives applicants higher priority. Experience in finance including degrees in finance or business, work experience in the financial field and certifications such as certified fraud examiner, certified financial analyst or certified internal auditor also qualify as critical skills during the hiring process.
Information Technology or Computer Degree
The computer science/information technology entry program requires applicants to have a bachelor's degree in computer or information technology or a related field or electrical engineering. Applicants who have a degree in another major also may qualify under this entry program with a Cisco certified network professional or a Cisco certified internetworking expert certification. Work experience in this field, including installing and maintaining server operating systems or managing a corporate network, is another critical skill the FBI is looking for.
Applicants with a juris doctor degree from an accredited law school qualify for entry under the law entry program. No work experience is required; however, it may give the applicant an advantage over applicants with no work experience.
Foreign Language Fluency
Applicants fluent in a second language may qualify to apply for a special agent position under the language entry program. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in any field and pass the listening and reading sections of the Defense Language proficiency test and the speaking proficiency test. Qualifying languages include Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Farsi.
Applicants with a bachelor's degree who do not meet one of the other entry programs may qualify under the diversified entry program with three years of full-time work experience. Applicants with a graduate degree qualify with only two years of full-time work experience. The diversified entry program only provides limited opportunities for hire, but meeting one of the critical skill areas gives applicants a priority in the hiring process. Some critical skills include law enforcement experience, military experience or expertise in physical sciences such as biochemistry, forensics and nursing.