The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI, investigates crimes and gathers intelligence. As of 2011, the FBI employs almost 14,000 special agents in 56 field offices and 400 smaller offices. The Behavioral Analysis Units are housed in the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, which is part of the Critical Incident Response Group. Three Behavioral Analysis Units exist: counterterrorism/threat assessment, crimes against adults and crimes against children.
To qualify as a special agent, you must be age 23 through age 36 at the time you're officially appointed. You also have to have a bachelor's degree and qualify for one of five entry programs: accounting, language, computer science/information technology, law and diversified. You also have to pass a physical fitness test, which includes a push-up test, a sit-up test, a timed sprint and a timed 1.5 mile run, a medical test and a background check.
All FBI special agents start at GS-10 on the law enforcement salary table, which is $43,441, at the time of publication. GS stands for General Schedule -- all federal employees receive pay based on the General Schedule. Each GS level has 10 steps, which allow for increased pay when promoted. All special agents receive an additional 25 percent annually, as their average work week is 50 hours. Special agents also receive a locality pay to adjust for the varying costs of living in different areas of the country. Special agents who move to very high-cost areas -- such as Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, San Diego, Newark and Boston -- may qualify for a relocation bonus of about $22,000.
Supervisory special agents are experienced FBI agents promoted based on experience and performance. Additionally, agents must have a minimum of three years experience to work in the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, which houses the Behavioral Analysis Units. Generally, agents have eight to 10 years experience, as positions in the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime are very competitive. Special agents are eligible for promotion to GS-13 while in the field, and promoted out of the field to a supervisory special agent position at GS-14, which starts at $77,793 as of 2011, or GS-15, which starts at $91,507.
In addition to your annual salary, FBI special agents are eligible for a number of benefits, including health insurance, life insurance and federal retirement benefits. Special agents can retire with full benefits at age 50 with 20 years of service or at any age with 25 years of service. Special agents receive 13 days of sick leave each year and accumulate annual leave each pay period, along with 10 paid holidays each year.
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation: Frequently Asked Questions
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation: Critical Incident Response Group: Investigations and Operations Support
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation: Special Agent Qualification Requirements
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation: FBI Special Agent Physical Requirements
- The Federal Bureau of Investigation: Special Agent Frequently Asked Questions
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management: Salary Table 2006-GL (LEO)