Average Salary: $106,310
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $2,776,000
As with any government job, there are very strict pay scales that are used to determine how much you'd make as an FBI Agent. Well, they don't literally use scales; that would be an awful waste of taxpayer money.
The General Schedule (GS) that the government uses consists of fifteen "grades," and each grade is made up of ten "steps." As you work your way up the pay scale, you'll make more money (obvi), but higher-ranking FBI Special Agents are also entitled to extra pay benefits (source).
FBI Special Agent trainees at the Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and new Special Agents, start out fairly high on the scale: GS-10, which is about $45,000 a year. And that's not all: Special Agents and trainees also receive a locality adjustment based on their assignment. Since some places have a higher cost of living than others, agents get paid more based on the average cost of their living expenses.
With this locality adjustment added in, trainees are set to earn around $50,000 a year (in Quantico). New Special Agents also have the added benefit of receiving availability pay, which is an increase in their salary based on the near certainty that they'll work overtime every single week.
After adding in all of these adjustments, new Special Agents are set to make between $61,100 and $69,900, depending on where they're assigned.
And that's just the first year. By the time you climb through the ranks to the upper echelons of the Bureau (GS-15) you'll be making closer to $130,000 plus locality and benefits.
Not every FBI Special Agent is going to end up making that much, but the potential is there. And once you factor in bribes and hush money you're pretty much set for life.*
*Shmoop disclaimer: We do not advocate the taking of bribes or hush money. In fact, our official stance is: Don't do that.