In order to combat terrorism both in America and overseas, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) depends on having a constant supply of up-to-date information. Where intelligence analysts will examine this data once it is collected, it is Surveillance Specialists who are actually responsible for gathering this important data.
When you are employed as a Surveillance Specialist with the FBI, you will work with another agent to acquire intelligence that will be useful for investigating criminals, counterintelligence against foreign governments and counterterrorism. Like most positions within the FBI, there are very stringent requirements for becoming a Surveillance Specialist, as well as multiple tasks that you will be responsible for completing.
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As a Surveillance Specialist, your job requires you to work in a number of intense situations, and being comfortable in these different scenarios is one of the first qualifications for this career. For example, Surveillance Specialists should be prepared to travel wherever the FBI requests, which can be anywhere in the country and sometimes abroad.
A Surveillance Specialist should be capable of working nights and weekends, be able to adjust to a work environment that is constantly shifting and should be able to work as part of a team in an unstructured setting. Working as a Surveillance Specialist for the FBI can require performing both fixed and mobile surveillance, and you should be prepared for both circumstances.
Before you can work as a Surveillance Specialist, you must be able to meet the general requirements for FBI employment, which includes passing a background check and physical fitness test. In addition, potential Surveillance Specialists will need an advanced skill set that includes such items as advanced observation abilities, analytical talent, attention to detail, patience and the capability to surveil subjects undetected.
Once you have been hired by the FBI to work as a Surveillance Specialist, you’ll be required to complete a nine-week training course before being allowed into the field. Since you may be required to perform mobile surveillance, you must also successfully complete a defensive driving class.
Surveillance Specialist Job Duties
After becoming employed as a FBI Surveillance Specialist, there are many tasks that you will be responsible for completing. Chiefly, you must be able to successfully perform both in-person and electronic surveillance tasks that are important for the FBI’s counterterrorism and counterintelligence efforts.
While remaining undetected, a Surveillance Specialist will have to takes photographs of individuals, automobiles and buildings. Additional tasks that you will have to complete while working in this career include identifying targets, participating in covert training, fully documenting activities that surveillance subjects engage in and staying on an investigation for extended periods of time.
Although they receive FBI training, Surveillance Specialists are not required to be Special Agents, which means the pay level for a Surveillance Specialist career differs from other FBI employees. However, their pay is still based on the General Schedule (GS) table. Starting out, a Surveillance Specialist will either be rated between GS-7 and GS-9. Over the course of a surveillance career, it is possible to be promoted as high as GS-12.
If you possess advanced observation skills, you can potentially become a Surveillance Specialist with the FBI, gathering important information needed for criminal investigations and national security.