We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

FBI Agent


The FBI won't let just anyone become a Special Agent. There are some intense requirements involved, not the least of which is that you have to love Point Break. Here are some of the other necessary qualifications (source).

  • Age: You must be between the ages of twenty-three and thirty-seven. There are some exceptions to the "thirty-eight is not great" rule, but if you want this career you should probably get to Virginia way before that.
  • Citizenship: Agents must be citizens of the United States, or the Northern Mariana Islands. You didn't even know the Northern Mariana Islands was an American Commonwealth, did you? Well, it is (they are?). We picked it up after World War II. In fact, it was the reason the U.S. entered the war in the first place.*
    *Shmoop Disclaimer: No, it wasn't.
  • Education: A four-year degree from an accredited college or university approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Think you can skip the degree because you're a highly decorated war hero? Nope. Everyone in the FBI graduated from college—even Special Agent Rambo.
  • Driver's License: Potential agents must have a valid driver's license to join the FBI. How else are you going to drive one of those sweet mobile command units?
  • Flexibility: You must be willing and able to go anywhere for the Bureau. Seriously, you could be sent anywhere at any time, so don't tell your neighbors you can take care of Jürgen, their pet Schnauzer, when they go to Cancun for the summer. You can't make that kind of commitment.

Still with us? Good, because those were just the general FBI qualifications. There are even more specific qualifications for those who want to become a Special Agent.

  • Work Experience: You must have at least three years of work experience. It's not like the NFL where you're drafted right out of college; the FBI would prefer that you be a bit more mature.
  • Entry Programs: There are five entry programs (Accounting, Computer Science/Information Technology, Language, Law, and Diversity), and every Special Agent applicant needs to qualify under one of these. After that, there are further breakdowns regarding critical skills such as Engineering Expertise and Foreign Language(s) Proficiency. You'll have to be talented, to say the least.
  • Physical Fitness: This is where things get really tough. You'll be tested to determine your strength and fitness levels, visual and hearing acuity, and overall medical health. If you're a half-blind asthmatic who runs a fifteen-minute mile and can bench maybe fifteen pounds, you're not getting in no matter how much code you can crack.
  • Background: If you've made it this far and still think you've got what it takes to make it to the FBI Academy in Quantico, let's hope you've been good. All of that hard work and training is erased if you've ever been convicted of a felony, failed a drug test, or even defaulted on a student loan.

So yeah, it's not easy to qualify. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to be as close to perfect as humanly possible.