Degree in Criminal Justice: Becoming an FBI Special Agent

By James Collister on February 24th, 2009

Earning a degree in criminal justice is a pathway to numerous careers within law enforcement, the courts system, and corrections. Possible jobs with a criminal justice degree include:

  • Police officer
  • Detective
  • Private investigator
  • Parole officer
  • Corrections treatment specialist

Another career with criminal justice degree credentials worth considering is working as a Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent. But before getting swept away in the romance of the field, the FBI career website warns, “There is no such thing as a typical day for an FBI Special Agent.”

FBI Application Requirements

Courthouse and U.S. FlagOnly U.S. citizens between the ages of 23 and 37 are eligible to apply for a position with the FBI. A professional may enter the application process with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice plus three years of relevant work experience. After entering the application process, applicants are then ranked according to particular skills the FBI desires. Skills and experience that may boost an applicant’s position in the pile include law enforcement experience, military experience, and foreign language proficiency. Applicants must also pass a physical assessment and psychological examination before becoming accepted as an FBI Special Agent.

Earning a Criminal Justice Degree

Options are plentiful for students pursuing a criminal justice degree. Most universities are now offering alternative class schedules or a criminal justice degree online. Warren National University, an online college for a criminal justice degree, is one such school that has designed a program for mid-career professionals. Participation in these types of programs allows students to maintain work and family responsibilities while enrolling in a criminal justice degree from home.

Starting an FBI Career with Criminal Justice Degree Credentials

All new FBI Special Agents begin their careers with an 18 week training program at the marine base in Quantico, Virginia. Training takes place at a law enforcement training facility and includes both classroom study and hands-on training in areas such as the use of firearms. Special Agents then enter a two year probationary period and must relocate to an assigned post. Agents must transfer to wherever they are assigned, although they may specify their preferences ahead of time.

Working with the FBI after graduating with a degree in criminal justice can involve testifying in court, meeting with sources to investigate illegal activities, and making arrests. It entails issues like terrorism, organized crime, and drug-trafficking. But it also comes with health and life insurance, vacation and sick pay, and a full retirement plan. Deciding to work for the FBI requires careful consideration, but could be the most exciting, rewarding career for a professional with a criminal justice degree.

Category: Law and Social Sciences

Tags: , ,