The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) offers exciting career opportunities for speech language pathologists. The FBI utilizes the education and skills of speech language pathologists trained as FBI special agents in multiple ways. All FBI special agents, no matter what area of specialty, are paid the same amount and receive the same training. The annual salary of a special agent ranges from $48,000 to $87,000.
Speech language pathologists work as special agents within the FBI. They spend six years in college earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech language pathology. They obtain their licenses to practice speech language pathology and afterward attend the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, for 20 weeks to become special agents. Special agent candidates apply directly to the FBI or are recruited by the agency because of superb academic performance.
The FBI requires the talents of speech language pathologists in the lipreading department. Lipreading special agents give a voice to conversations that are difficult to hear. By watching lip movements from a distance or on recorded images, the agents transcribe what is being said. Sue Thomas is the first professional lipreader hired by the FBI. Born deaf, Thomas was trained to read lips as a child and transcribed conversations on surveillance tapes the agency collected on the Mafia. FBI speech language pathologists train other agents in the skill of lipreading.
Voice Stress Analysis
Special agents who are speech language pathologists administer a test used by the FBI to interview suspects. This test is called the voice stress analysis or lie detector test. During the interview, the administering special agent watches the suspect and listens for speech patterns that combine to determine the outcome of the test. Voice inflections, stuttering--even a calm even tone when speaking--can determine whether or not a suspect is telling the truth.