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The United States of America has many Law Enforcement bodies. This project is purposed to analyze the qualifications for joining Federal Bureau Investigation- Cybercrime division in comparison with the Central Intelligence Agency. Since its formation, the FBI has sought to recruit different talented experts in their various agencies. These experts range from pundit analysis to computer geniuses. Potential candidates who show interest in joining the various agencies must be highly qualified. Vigorous training is mandatory with sufficient education background relevant to the division of interest. Men and women chosen must uphold high sense integrity. Their job description exposes them to highly sensitive information that must be handled with care. At the end of it all, the agents are fairly remunerated.  Additionally, employees are eligible for promotions for showing dedication, and commitment to giving out their best in what they do.

Federal of Bureau Investigation- Cyber Crime Division

Introduction The American government was facing numerous internet-related crimes. In a move to protect her citizens, it came up with the Cyber Crime unit which is under the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The sole purpose of this division is to carry out conclusive investigations and prosecute anyone found guilty of computer intrusions, website hacks, data theft and cyber fraud (Most Wanted Talent, 2014). The huge amount of money lost through cybercrime was threatening to cripple the United States economy. Also, the widespread cyber terrorism and identity theft were frustrating the progress of national security. This agency works in liaison with other organizations for example Department of Defense (DOD).

Requirements for a Cybercrime Agent

How much one will qualify to be a cybercrime agent is determined by the courses they pursue in High School. A student interested in working in the computer crime unit ought to develop as many computer skills as possible while still in High School. They are advised to take as many web related courses as possible. For someone to be admitted to the special agent's programs, vast computer and web knowledge is mandatory. The students should also ensure that they learn as many foreign languages as possible. It is a great asset and an added advantage owing to the nature of cybercrime. Investigations are sometimes carried out in foreign countries that do not communicate in the English language (FBI: Career Guide).

The second requirement is a bachelor’s degree in any course pertaining criminal justice. To meet the cut off admission into the training program an individual must have this requirement. For those who are willing and have the ability to obtain masters degrees are highly encouraged to do so because it enhances their career prospects. An aspiring agent should also have at least two work-related experience. Familiarizing with finance, accounts and computer science is considered to be beneficial. It widens the applicant’s skills and knowledge in preparation to work in the field. Students can gain this experience through internships offered by many governmental organizations (FBI: Career Guide).

The final condition to be met by an individual wishing to work in cybercrime agency is to undergo the special training program. The training equips the trainees with more advanced knowledge concerning their respective agencies. Also, it provides them with real life dilemmas and problems that they have to find a way of fixing in real time. Just like most agencies cybercrime unit has its admission requirements. Namely: One must be a United States citizen, be at least 23 years old but not over the age of 36 years unless he or she has been granted a waiver and must be physically fit. Training takes place at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. It goes for about eight months (FBI: Career Guide).

The Hiring Process

The hiring process is quite extensive. Applicants have to go through polygraph tests, interviews, drug tests, written tests and a thorough background check. Besides, a release form must be signed by an applicant to authorize the Federal Investigation Bureau to carry out a review of personal credit, military, medical, employment records and any other that the Bureau deems necessary and relevant. The major processes that take place before an Agent is hired to include proof that the individual has the minimum education requirements as stated have the work experience of at least two years. Secondly, Must complete the Self Physical Test popularly known as Self-PFT. Submit an application through the FBI website. Accept an invitation to take and pass a Phase I test; it is an exam that lasts for about 3 hours focusing on the cognitive and reasoning abilities of the trainees. Trainees must complete the Meet and Greet interview. After completing the first test, the graduates must accept the second invitation to take the second test; Phase II test combined with Physical Fitness Test. Receive a Conditional Appointment Offer (CAO). Agree to the background investigation. Receive the 21-week training at the FBI Academy in Quantico as a New Agent Trainee (NAT). Following the graduation from Basic Field Training Course, an agent is assigned to the Field Office. The last part of the process is placing the new agents under a probationary period as they receive real job training and experience. It lasts for 18 months (FBI: Career Guide). Qualified agents are given the certain level of security clearance depending on their ranks.

Salary Payment

Federal Bureau of Investigation salary payment varies from agency to another. The amount of basic pay and bonuses received also depends on the rank of the agent or official. Most Agents take home an average salary of $64,313 every year (FBI, 2017). Different states have dissimilar payment plans for their agents. Years of experience forms the determinant medium for salary payment.

An Anonymous FBI Agent Interview

In respect to the nature of his work and personal reasons, the agent requested that his identity should remain anonymous. Referring to his job description, he said that it mainly involves sitting in front of wide computer screens. He together with his colleagues has to consistently identify cyber or computer-related threats and neutralize them completely. To get a job with Federal Bureau of Investigation he had to work hard through high school and university. After which he joined Homeland law enforcement agency. Hard work and constant prayers are attributed to his current achievements. Having gained an experience of three years, he decided to apply for the FBI Cybercrime training programs. He attained all the qualification required, from citizenship, age, education and physical fitness tests. During the hiring process, he realized things were not as easy as he assumed. The most challenging parts of the process were the exams that tested cognitive abilities and an individual’s way of thinking. He added that he was not physically fit at the time of hiring, therefore; he had to work twice as hard as his colleagues make the cut. Although he loves his job, the pressure of multitasking especially when faced with loads of technicality problems makes him think of quitting. When asked what advice he would give to the aspiring cybercrime agents, he had these wise words to share; “One should not join the Bureau for the excitement and action it brings but should do it out patriotism to serve their country. Any case that the FBI works means that they have full jurisdiction and no other law enforcement agency should interfere. That is what amazes most people. Anybody aspiring to join the FBI- Cybercrime division should be intellectually smart, sober and vigilant at all times. How you succeed or fail in your career is determined by the skills, knowledge, and abilities within.

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

It is sometimes referred to as the National Clandestine Service. Perhaps it is because of the secrecy involved in its daily operations. Just like the FBI, Central Intelligence Agency plays a vital role in the maintenance of national security. CIA agents are at most times called Operations Officers. Anybody who is eyeing to occupy any CIA rank has to attain certain requirements (Brunot, 2017).

Qualifications of a CIA Agent in Comparison with an FBI Agent

Just like an FBI Agent, a CIA operations officer should also be a citizen of the United States. However, the two agencies differ in applicants’ age limits and the period of training they undergo. Whereas the age limit for would-be FBI agents Is set at the age of COMMERCIAL LAW23- 36, the CIA’s is between the age of 25- 35. Those who are below the age of 25 are encouraged to attend a professional training program until that time they will be eligible to join the formal clandestine training. The CIA asks prospects to evaluate themselves and decide if they have the integrity that the agency demands highly (Brunot, 2017).

CIA job description is entirely different from FBI’s. That makes the element of self-assessment an important aspect for Central Intelligence Agency. Individuals have to be ready to withstand a lot of challenges like being away from their families for a long time without them knowing what they are up to due to the secrecy of missions. They have to know how to handle stress, work under no or minimal supervision and be of sound mind. Similar to FBI’s level of education requirement the CIA to demands that applicant should be holding a Bachelor’s degree in international business or relations. It is a crucial qualifier and makes potential candidates more competitive.

CIA and FBI have the same requirement in language proficiency. Nonetheless, to work with the Central Intelligence Agency, one needs to be familiar with the 12 “mission critical” languages. They include Arabic, Dari, Indonesian, Pashto, Kurdish, Turkish, Persian, Urdu, Chinese, Somali, Korean and Russian. Wholesome similarities between the two agencies come in at the point of taking Physical Fitness Test and running the background check. If a candidate is found to have used any illegal substance within the last 12 months of hiring they become automatically disqualified. The advice from the experts is that if someone has ambitions of joining the CIA, then they should watch out not to be caught on the wrong side of the law. The application for any CIA job post has to be done online too. Their website outlines detailed instructions to be followed during the process (Brunot, 2017). According to the CIA website Agent earns a basic salary of $58,511 each year. Additional payments are made depending on the level of training of an agent and the nature of missions to be undertaken (Central Intelligence Agency, 2016).

Reasons for Choosing FBI over CIA

It is a universal knowledge that all agents working with both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency have the interests of America at heart. However, it would be easy to work for the FBI in comparison to the CIA. In many cases, a person cannot be disqualified for crimes they committed at their tender age. The Bureau gives its agents a chance to be with their family members because they don’t engage in countless foreign travels. The 12 languages that CIA demands is such a strong put-off. Most candidates find it almost impossible to master all these languages hence leading to their disqualification. Money should not come before an agent’s patriotism, but in this case, the FBI’s basic salary payment is more attractive compared to CIA’s.


Americans face different threats every day. Despite their differences, both the FBI and CIA have a role to play in keeping the United States of America safe. Candidates who dream to pursue law enforcement careers in these two agencies ought to be patriotic men and women rich in integrity. It takes hard work and dedication to see one's career bear fruits. Challenges will always come and go. Therefore, trainees are advised to never give up in their endeavors.


(2017, April 15). Retrieved from FBI: https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/FBI-Salaries-E24637.htm

Agency, C. I. (2016, January 7). [MS WORD] DRAFT SAMPLE . Retrieved from CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY: https://www.cia.gov/search?q=salaries&site=CIA&output=xml_no_dtd&client=CIA&myAction=%2Fsearch&proxystylesheet=CIA&submitMethod=get

Brunot, T. (2017). How to Become a CIA Field Agent. Retrieved from Chron: http://work.chron.com/become-cia-field-agent-8815.html

FBI: Career Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from Criminal Justice Degree Schools: http://www.criminaljusticedegreeschools.com/criminal-justice-careers/fbi-agent/

Most Wanted Talent. (2014, December 29). Retrieved from FBI NEWS: https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/fbi-seeking-tech-experts-to-become-cyber-special-agents

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