Preparing for a Career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation

If you’re interested in pursuing a career with the FBI, there is plenty of information available on how to do so, much of which is just a few clicks away on Here are 10 things that you should know when considering a career with the FBI:

  1. If you are a full-time college sophomore, junior, senior, or in graduate school, look into our Honors Internship Program, which is a paid, 10-week summer program that offers you the opportunity to work in one of our investigative, intelligence, or support divisions. It’s an inside look at the FBI—one that could open a lot of doors for you in the future. The application period for the 2021 Honors Internship Program is now open through September 30, 2020.

  2. The Collegiate Hiring Initiative is the FBI’s full-time, entry-level hiring program. You are eligible to participate in this program if you are a graduating senior or have received an undergraduate, graduate or PhD degree. For the 2021 Collegiate Hiring Initiative, students must graduate by June 2021. For Veterans, eligibility is within six years of the program date (June 2015 – June 2021).

  3. All applicants must be U.S. citizens and attend or have attended a college or university full-time as an undergraduate, graduate, or post-doctoral student. Students must have and maintain at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) throughout the application process (or, for collegiate hires, through graduation). Honors interns must maintain a 3.0 GPA throughout the program. Applicants must be able to pass a polygraph exam, drug screen, and background investigation, and be able to receive a Top Secret security clearance. For a complete list of qualifications, visit

  4. Selected candidates will be interviewed. Final selection and conditional offers are based upon your academic achievements, area of study, work/life experiences, and the needs of the FBI. This offer is contingent upon the successful completion and favorable adjudication of your full background investigation and the receipt of an FBI Top Secret security clearance.

  5. So what should I major in? Our hiring process is extremely selective. Our best advice is to make an honest assessment of your skills and interests and based on those, choose something you’re passionate about. It’s the only way you’ll be able to achieve the kind of success that will set you apart from the tens of thousands of other applicants.

  6. Isn’t it best to get a degree in criminal justice? In a word, no. In today’s complex world, a degree in criminal justice, by itself, simply doesn’t meet any of our hiring needs. The FBI is interested in applicants with a wide range of educational backgrounds including but not limited to accounting, STEM, finance, human resources, information technology, journalism, law, and more.

  7. What does the FBI need right now? In terms of what we need the most, foreign language fluency tends to hover at or near the top of the list, followed closely by military intelligence and international studies experience. Because our investigations are increasingly complex and require superior analytical abilities, applicants with technical backgrounds in engineering, information technology, and physical sciences are also in high demand.

  8. You may still be able to qualify under the ‘Diversified” category. This category provides opportunities for us to consider professionals from a variety of other disciplines, including education, research, counseling/mental health, sales and marketing, and more generalized business and management backgrounds.

  9. Although it should go without saying, stay away from drugs. Regardless of what you read in any agency’s drug-policy guidelines, the less you’ve used the better. And never is better yet. The FBI considers CBD products to be marijuana and its use is subject to our marijuana use policy. If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation, and don’t ever get behind the wheel of a car when you’ve been drinking.

  10. For aspiring agents, fitness is imperative. The job is a demanding one, and the training program at Quantico is rigorous. Applicants must pass a challenging fitness test about halfway through the process, and if you aren’t already in good shape when you apply, you won’t be ready when it’s time to take the test. Make fitness—through regular exercise and proper nutrition—a part of your lifestyle now. For many applicants, the FBI special agent physical fitness test (PFT) is, without a doubt, the most challenging part of the process. Our PFT doesn’t just test physical fitness. It tests qualities like self-discipline, self-motivation, and the ability to plan and adjust to challenges. Go to or visit our YouTube page to familiarize yourself with the PFT. You can also download the FBI Fit Test app to help your training process.