Law enforcement officials and investigators, such as FBI special agents, often work long, irregular hours and under highly stressful conditions. The job of FBI special agent requires that the person meet certain minimum physical criteria regarding sight, hearing and physical fitness. These agents work out in the field, conducting investigations and gathering evidence to use in undercover operations or in a court of law.
Agent candidates must submit to an approved visual acuity exam and present with uncorrected vision of at least 20/200. Corrected vision, using soft contacts, must be 20/20 minimum in one eye and 20/40 in the other. Candidates who have had laser corrective surgery must wait six months after the surgery before beginning the training program.
FBI agent applicants must undergo a hearing exam and meet minimum hearing criteria as required by the bureau. Agents must pass the test with no more hearing loss than 25 decibels at Hertz levels of 1000, 2000 and 3000. Unlike vision requirements, no agent candidate will be considered who does not meet the minimum auditory requirements without correction.
The bureau employs a strict scoring scale by which to measure a candidate’s physical fitness. The scoring system takes into account the candidate’s gender and age. Prospective special agents must perform the maximum number of sit-ups possible in one minute, complete a timed 300-meter sprint, perform the maximum number of push-ups possible untimed, and complete a timed 1.5-mile run. If the candidate fails the test, he or she may retake it twice after a predefined waiting period. Candidates who fail to pass the minimum fitness requirement three times will no longer be eligible to train as special agents.