The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is a domestic security organization that has responsibility for both enforcement and intelligence. The FBI seeks to protect the United States from domestic and foreign terrorist activity, enforces criminal laws, and assists international, federal, state, and local agencies and partners in their own law enforcement activities. The FBI is headquartered in Washington, D.C., but has field offices around the United States and abroad.
The FBI employs more than 35,000 people, about 13,000 of who are special agents while the remaining employees are support professionals. FBI special agents are responsible for conducting investigations and enforcing federal law. Cases can involve foreign counterintelligence, terrorism, cyber crime, white-collar crime, corruption, financial crime, kidnapping, bank robbery, and drug trafficking. In addition to conducting investigations, FBI agents obtain and serve search warrants, make arrests, and testify in federal court.
Those interested in becoming special agents undergo a rigorous application process with strict entry requirements. Applicants must be at least 23 years old but not older than 37 at the time of appointment. At least a four-year degree and three years of work experience is required. Applicants must also be U.S. citizens and have a valid driver's license. When applying, applicants are assigned to an Entry Program based on background. The five programs are accounting, computer science/information technology, language, law, and diversified. The FBI then processes applications based on the critical skills areas it is most in need of. Candidates complete a number of tests, participate in a physical fitness exam, and submit to a background check and medical exam. Those who successfully complete all of these steps are assigned to a new agent class and given one of five career paths: directorate of intelligence, counter-intelligence division, counter-terrorism division, criminal investigative division, and cyber division.
Professional staff within the FBI provide support functions for including information technology, intelligence analysis, applied science/engineering/technology, linguistics, business management, investigative surveillance and support, and FBI police. Each of these positions has a different set of qualifications and requirements for successful employment, but all applicants must be U.S. citizens permitted to work in the United States.
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