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How to Become an FBI HRT

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For those wishing to join the FBI to fight terrorism, the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) is an ideal way to be on the front lines. HRT special agents serve high-risk warrants, protect dignitaries, barricade subjects, conduct manhunts and rescue hostages. Applicants must possess a bachelor's degree and be between the ages of 23 and 37 to qualify as a special agent with the FBI. All HRT operators serve as special agents for at least two years before being accepted onto the team.

Tactical Recruiting Program

Meet the minimum tactical qualifications. Applicants must have at least three years of military or law enforcement tactical experience. Law enforcement applicants must have worked on SWAT or other tactical teams and completed continuing education courses such as advanced SWAT, basic or advanced sniper/observer or hostage rescue.

Combat arms experience is required for those serving in the Army or Marines. Members of the Navy must have Navy Special Warfare experience such as serving on the SEAL teams. Combat Controller, Combat Rescue, or Tactical Air Control Party experience is required for Air Force members.

Submit a special agent application online at (see Resources). At the end of the application, select the link for the Tactical Recruiting Program (TRP) and complete the application. If you're qualified and have the necessary qualifications, you'll be contacted to begin testing.

Schedule and complete phase I testing. This phase consists of three written tests: biodata inventory, logical reasoning and situational reasoning. Additional testing may be included if you indicated special skills on your application, such as proficiency in a foreign language.

Complete a telephone interview to confirm your tactical experience and qualifications for TRP. If you pass the interview, you'll continue the application process in the TRP program. Acceptance into the TRP program does not guarantee acceptance onto the HRT teams. If you fail, you may continue the process to become a special agent, but not as part of the TRP program.

Finish the special agent application process. This includes a writing test, interview, physical fitness test, medical exam and extensive background check. Tactical candidates must score at least 20 points on the physical fitness exam (see Resources). This test includes one-minute timed sit-ups, a 300-meter sprint, 1.5-mile run, untimed push-ups and untimed pull-ups. The specific minimum requirements vary by gender and age.

Attend New Agent Training. This is a 20-week program held in Quantico, Virginia, at the FBI Academy. Agents learn about law, investigations, defensive tactics and firearms. After graduation from the Academy, special agents work in a field office for at least two years.

Attend the two-week HRT selection course after gaining two years experience in the field. This course tests physical ability, skill with firearms, leadership and teamwork. New team members are selected from this course based upon ability and attitude.

Complete the six-month New Operator's Training School. After completion of the course, you'll join the HRT teams.

Without Tactical Experience

Prove yourself as a fit and highly skilled field agent in the FBI. Obtain a recommendation from your Special Agent in Charge for HRT selection. This recommendation is based on the quality of your investigations and field work.

Attend the HRT selection course. New team members are selected from this two-week course that tests mental and physical ability and aptitude for work on HRT.

Attend and successfully complete the New Operator's Training School. Following completion of the training, you will become a member of the HRT teams.


Be committed to your choice to work on the tactical team. If accepted into the HRT, agents are required to serve a minimum of four years on the team.


Acceptance into HRT is not guaranteed for all applicants in the Tactical Recruiting Program. Applicants not accepted onto the team continue to serve as special agents.


Maureen Malone started writing in 2008. She writes articles for business promotion and informational articles on various websites. Malone has a Bachelor of Science in technical management with an emphasis in biology from DeVry University.

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