The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is part of the United States Department of Justice and works to enforce federal laws and defend the country from domestic and foreign terrorism. The Bureau employs roughly 35,000 people and holds several field offices in the state of California. These offices can be found in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco, along with many satellite offices around these major cities.
If you’re interested in a meaningful career with the FBI in California, you should first learn about the requirements for the job. We’ve outlined what you can expect when applying to help keep our nation safe and make a difference in your community as an FBI agent.
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How to Become an FBI Agent in California
- You must be a U.S. citizen if applying to be an FBI agent.
- Applicants should be between 23 and 37 years old.
- You must possess a valid driver’s license.
- Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year institution.
- Three years of related experience in the field is also required.
Beyond the basic requirements above, individuals interested in becoming an FBI agent should be prepared to pass a drug test and fitness test. The fitness test requires applicants to earn a cumulative score of at least 12 points in order to pass.
Candidates will also undergo an extensive background check which covers their medical history and personal life. Credit and records checks, as well as a polygraph examination are also application requirements for the position.
Different Positions with the FBI in California
There are a variety of different positions within the FBI. Once you become a special agent, you will be permitted to join specialized teams. These include SWAT, the Special Agent Bomb Tech Program, the Evidence Response Team, the Technically Trained Agent Program and more.
Special Agents with specific qualifications and skills will be considered for these critical team positions and can expect to face sometimes urgent or complex challenges.
Although a criminal justice degree isn’t required in order to be an FBI agent in California, the field has a variety of different concentrations that you may choose to pursue. These may include the following: Criminal Investigations, Sociology, Criminal Psychology, Fish and Game Warden, Homeland Security and much more. The role of an FBI agent is diverse and multi-faceted, much like criminal justice.
Major Cities in California
- Los Angeles has a large population of roughly 3.884 million people.
- San Diego, the second most populous city in the state has 1.356 million residents.
- The third largest city in the state is San Jose with 998,537 citizens.
Specific Duties of FBI Agents in California
If you become an FBI agent in California, you can expect to have diverse days that are often challenging. Agents will be involved in investigating incidents of terrorism such as bombings, hijackings or threats. Involvement in raids, arrests and search warrants are also included in the typical duties. Additionally, FBI agents will conduct interviews with sources, participate in surveillance and sometimes work undercover.
- In 2016, the Bureau’s budget was an approximate $8.7 billion. Part of this funding was used to enhance cyber security capabilities.
- The FBI’s motto is “Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.”
The annual mean salary for FBI agents is not made readily available by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, agents are known to be paid on the government’s General Schedule (GS) scale, between GS-10 and GS-13. In California, this means yearly pay can fall between $60,197 and $122,549.
Education Programs for FBI agents in California
- DEM - Emergency Management
- BS - Criminal Justice
- MS - Cybersecurity
- Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Public Administration
- JM: American Legal Studies
- JM: General
- JM: Health Law
- JM: International Legal Studies
- JM: Special Student (Non-Degree Seeking) - Legal Studies
- LLM: International Legal Studies
- MPA: Law & Public Policy
- MS: Criminal Justice
- MS: Criminal Justice: Forensic Psychology
- MS: Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Online Teaching in Higher Education
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Homeland Security
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Emergency Management
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Global Leadership
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Law and Public Policy
- PhD in Criminal Justice - Public Management and Leadership
- DBA - Criminal Justice
- DBA - Homeland Security: Leadership & Policy
- Doctor of Criminal Justice
- MBA - Criminal Justice
- MBA - Homeland Security
- MS Criminal Justice
- MS Criminal Justice: Advanced Counterterrorism
- MS Criminal Justice: Public Safety Administration
- AS Criminal Justice
- BS Criminal Justice
- BS Criminal Justice: Criminology
- BS Criminal Justice: Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
- BS Criminal Justice: Legal Studies and Advocacy
- BS Criminal Justice: Police Administration and Operations
- BS Criminal Justice: Human Services
- BS Criminal Justice: Corrections
- BS Cyber Security
- BS Cyber Security: Secure Programming
- BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
- Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
- CTU - Criminal Forensics