FBI Criminal Investigator Description

Monday, you rush to your site to recover important data from an informant; a major human traffic ring plans to make a shipment soon. Wednesday, you’re suited up in the field ready to strike when the truck crosses the border. Thursday, you’re at the office taking statements preparing your case. Friday you’re working on paperwork, the weekend is close but you know there’s another challenge waiting next week.

You’ve always dreamed of a career in law enforcement, but now after you’ve put all that time into college you think you can reach higher. That’s where the FBI comes in, when you become an agent you’re trained to strike out against major crimes, schemes, and terrorist plots before they happen. You’re trained and ready to be the front lines against global attacks and international espionage. Are you ready to be a part of a focused, highly trained team and enjoy the benefits of protecting your loved ones and country?

At the core of the FBI is the role of the special agent. Their main task force of agents are Jack-of-all-trades, responsible for carrying out the day-to-day mission of the FBI. If you want a fast paced challenging career and a chance to serve your country, the special agent is the career of choice. You’ll earn over 40,000 your first year; constant performance reviews, promotions, and yearly raises will advance your career without sacrificing pay.

Enforce over 300 critical federal laws and stop crimes before they happen. When they do, you’ll be there too, catching those responsible and helping restore what they took. At the FBI you’ll have an assigned position doing what you love, you’ll become a specialist within your field and an expert on handling high stakes cases. The wide array of positions and fields needed by the FBI bring the best of law enforcement together to work as an effective team. Your high demand assignments give you the determination and drive to reach your full potential.

What will you do as an agent?

The FBI agent’s job changes every day, no one day is the same. When you join the FBI you can expect placement where you perform best. Some agents might investigate criminals and recommend prosecution, others seek out and gather information from informants. You’re responsible for collecting evidence, examining records, recording data, or an undercover assignment. What you’ll do as a special agent is nearly unlimited, you’ll need critical skills and self determination to succeed. No matter your skillset the FBI seeks qualified applicants who are competitive within their field.


When first joining the FBI you’ll attend the Academy at Quantico – During this time you’ll earn GS10 step 1; to better understand how government positions and their pay work you can review the following table. This pay and the pays quoted on the table below are considered base pay.

As well as the base salary, you will also receive an adjustment of 17.5% this is due to the cost of living within the Quantico area. You’ll continue earning this adjustment at your field offices rate after training. In total, the pay you’ll receive while at training is roughly two-thousand dollars every two weeks.

When you are assigned to your field location you will receive an extra 25% increase in your base pay and adjustment, this adjustment is to compensate field agents for the long hours typically worked. It is hard to account for every agent’s salary once leaving training; typical first year pay will fall between 61,100 and 69,900 depending on the agent’s assignment.


FBI special agents enjoy multiple benefits as well as their pay. From competitive health care plans to rewarding college programs the FBI invests in each of its employees. All employees are eligible to take part within the benefits programs provided they are available in the agent’s area.

Paid Vacation

Agents gain paid vacation at a rate of 4 hours a pay period, which totals 13 days a year. This increases the longer the agent remains in-service up to a maximum of 8 hours a pay period.

Sick Leave

Agents gather sick leave at a rate of 4 hours a pay period. Sick leave never expires throughout the career of the agent. Agents may use sick leave to meet appointments, care for themselves, their dependents, or make funeral arrangements.

Federal holidays

Federal agents receive 10 paid holidays a year on federal holidays, if the agent works on a holiday they receive additional pay for the hours worked during the holiday.

Access to Work-Life programs

The FBI is flexible to alternative work choices needed to work within the FBI. Flexible work hours become available to agents on a case by case basis. Flexible schedules allow both the FBI and the agent to work together through difficult situations.

Extra Training

The FBI sponsors multiple extra training classrooms and programs for agents to sharpen their skills. In addition, the FBI designs specific courses and degrees through colleges to aid its employees in earning higher education.


The FBI offers complete health care insurance on a cost-shared basis with its employees. In addition to health insurance FBI employees also enjoy; long-term care programs, flexible spending accounts, and participation in the federal employees’ compensations act. Employees can enroll during the first 60 days of employment in programs that interest the agent. An added yearly open season enrollment is available during certain weeks in the month of December and November.

Life Insurance

The FBI offers basic life insurance for all Federal agents from their date of hire. It covers the yearly salary of the Federal employee plus 2,000 dollars Regardless of age or experience the cost is only 15 cents for each thousand dollars. The government will pay the remaining premium not covered by the employee’s payment.

Basic coverage also includes a free stipulation that increases the payout based on age of the deceased agent; if the death of the agent is caused by an accident the payout doubles. Payments can also be made directly to the agent if loss of sight or limb occurs.

The basic insurance will follow an agent into retirement without increase to premiums paid.

FBI employees can also choose to supplement the FEGLI Basic coverage with three Optional coverages:

  • Option A provides $10,000 of added coverage doubled in the event of accidental death
  • Option B provides extra coverage from one to five times the employee's salary, rounded to the next highest $1,000 (with no accidental death doubling)
  • Option C provides life insurance on an employee's spouse and unmarried dependent children under age 22

Employee Benevolent Fund

Provided by the FBI, the employee benevolent fund pays 17500 dollars to the deceased agent’s family within one day notice of the death of the agent. In addition, if the death was terrorist related the fund will pay an addition 100,000 dollars to the family. To participate in the fund costs 1.00 a pay period, regardless of age or current pay.

Retirement Plan

When an agent retires with 25 years of work in the FBI— or 20 years of work if older than 50. The agent is eligible to receive 1.3% of their salary (averaged over the 3 highest paying years the agent worked) times 20 for the remained of the agent’s life. In addition the amount is increased yearly by the COLA index to represent the cost of living adjustment.

Thrift Savings Plan

The FBI offers access to the Thrift Savings Plan. This plan is similar to a traditional 401k and allows agents to invest earnings on a pre-taxed basis and delay paying taxes until withdrawing money in retirement age.


FBI Jurisdiction & Investigative Priorities FBI Experience & Education Requirements