Beginning a Career with the FBI
Discover an insider’s perspective on FBI operations while gaining unparalleled experience with our Honors Internship and Visiting Scientist Programs. You can also begin a career directly after graduation with our Collegiate Hiring Initiative. To learn more about these opportunities, explore the sections below.
Our 10-week paid internship for undergraduate and graduate students offers a unique opportunity to learn and work alongside FBI employees while getting a head start on an exceptional career.
Interns with a bachelor’s degree who are enrolled in a full-time graduate program will receive GS-5 pay. All other full-time students, including dual-enrollment students, will receive GS-4 pay, including undergraduate students enrolled in a graduate course.
Please note: The FBI will soon be hiring for hundreds of new jobs in the high-tech city of Huntsville, AL, where a new FBI campus is under construction at the Redstone Arsenal, a 38,000-acre federal research, development, testing and engineering center that’s expected to be ready for occupancy in early 2021. Future permanent assignments are based on the current needs of the FBI — and filling positions in Huntsville will be among our most important needs! Please visit our Huntsville page to view upcoming news regarding the FBI’s expansion in Huntsville.
Honors Internship Program
Honors Internship Program
The Honors Internship Program is a 10-week, paid internship for college undergraduate and graduate students. While exploring our exciting career options, students work side-by-side with FBI employees at our Washington, D.C.-area Headquarters or in Field Offices around the country. Open to a wide range of academic areas, this internship offers experiences students can’t find elsewhere.
While the application period for the 2020 Honors Internship Program is now closed, you can read more about our internship qualifications to prepare for our next application period.
To apply for the Honors Internship Program, applicants must:
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Attend a college or university full time as an undergraduate (freshman, sophomore, junior or senior), graduate or post-doctoral student. Students are not eligible if they will graduate before the program start date; exceptions are permitted to students continuing their education in the semester immediately following.
- Have and maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) or better at the time of application, throughout the application process and for the duration of the internship program.
- A first-semester freshman or student attending a school that does not provide a GPA will need to meet alternate criteria. Instead of a 3.0 GPA or higher, the applicant must have maintained at least a 3.0 high school GPA and have scored a 1500 out of 2400 on the SAT (1000 out of 1600 on new SATs) or scored a 21 or higher on the ACT.
- Pass all of the FBI employment background investigation requirements and be able to receive a Top Secret Clearance.
The FBI is interested in applicants with a wide range of educational backgrounds. These include but are not limited to the following:
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
- Foreign Languages
- Human Resources
- Information Technology
- Public Relations
- Visual Arts
While applicants come from a range of academic backgrounds, the most competitive applicants also possess the following skills:
- Strong analytical thinking abilities.
- Flexibility and adaptability.
- Initiative and self-motivation.
- Collaboration — works well with others.
- Good judgment and decision-making skills.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills.
- Strong interpersonal skills.
Intern assignments are based on the current skills the FBI needs. As part of the application, candidates are asked to pick their top six desired Field Office and Headquarters locations; these are then taken into account during the selection process. To find the closest Field Office or view all of our locations, visit the Locations page.
Headquarters selections include the FBI’s main Headquarters in Washington, D.C., as well as Quantico, VA, Clarksburg, WV, and Winchester, VA. Quantico opportunities include the Training, Operational Technology or Laboratory divisions. Clarksburg offers opportunities in Criminal Justice Information Services and Winchester offers Information Management Division opportunities. To learn more about the different FBI Headquarters divisions please click here.
Candidates who select Quantico, Clarksburg, or Winchester must have their own transportation to and from work; public transportation is unavailable in these areas.
Collegiate Hiring Initiative
Collegiate Hiring Initiative
The application cycle for the 2020 Collegiate Hiring Initiative is currently closed. Application details for the 2021 Collegiate Hiring Initiative will become available July 2020.
The FBI’s Collegiate Hiring Initiative recruits graduating seniors or individuals who have undergraduate, graduate or PhD degrees to begin their careers in a hands-on, supportive team environment. For the 2021 Collegiate Hiring Initiative, students must graduate by June 2021. For Veterans, eligibility is within six years of the program date (June 2015 – June 2021).
From assisting squads and operations to analyzing business processes and ensuring security, recent graduates help support a huge part of the FBI’s mission. The Collegiate Hiring Initiative also gives recent graduates a chance to explore and transition into the many exceptional career paths the FBI has to offer, as well as into other opportunities within the federal government or the private sector.
To apply for the Collegiate Hiring Initiative, applicants must:
- Be a U.S. citizen.
- Attend/have attended a college or university as an undergraduate, graduate or post-doctoral student.
- Recent graduates must have graduated within 24 months of the program date or within 72 months for veterans.
- Upcoming graduates must graduate by June of the program start year (for example, for the 2021 Collegiate Hiring Initiative, students must graduate by June 2021).
- Have and maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA) or better at the time of application and through graduation.
- Pass all of the FBI employment background investigation requirements and be able to receive a Top Secret Clearance.
The full-time, entry-level hiring program supports a huge part of the FBI’s mission and offers participants a chance to explore and transition into many exceptional FBI careers.
Collegiate Hiring Initiative Career Paths
The following are some of the many exciting career opportunities the FBI has to offer:
Computer Scientist – Have you dreamed about developing tools and platforms that save lives? As a Computer Scientist, you will work directly with Special Agents and Intelligence Analysts to develop and implement tools, techniques and procedures to address unique investigative situations. Computer Scientists do everything from analyzing and preserving digital evidence and testing and applying technical and analytical innovations to building virtual computing environments and constructing isolated analysis networks. You will have the opportunity to innovate, test and learn while using your creativity and engineering skills in this essential role that directly impacts the FBI’s mission.
Data Analyst – As a native in the world of big data, you are trained to see trends and solve problems. Data Analysts work directly with investigative teams to uncover patterns and guide next steps. Your work might include managing and conditioning data for long-term use and retention, normalizing data sets, and identifying patterns for use in investigative planning. You will use quantitative and qualitative techniques and tools to help investigative teams get the results they need to move forward.
Digital Operations Specialist – Do you find yourself being the person who explains things like malware, VPNs, MAC addresses or virtual currencies to your friends and family? Digital Operations Specialists are computer and network pros who tactically assist investigative teams with identifying, seizing and analyzing digital evidence related to online activities encountered during investigations. You will use your knowledge to maximize investigators’ understanding of the full digital footprint of their subjects’ illegal activities.
Electronics Technician – Electronics Technicians are central to the FBI’s ability to respond to a crisis. Electronics Technicians perform critical work on communication systems — enabling a Special Agent to save a child’s life or prevent a terrorist attack. As an Electronics Technician, you may be installing or performing corrective maintenance on a variety of FBI systems to ensure the safety of the American people.
IT Specialist (General) – As an IT Specialist, you will help FBI employees solve critical issues and enable them to get the job done. You will be an important resource on technology and information, and will configure, analyze, adapt and develop new processes and systems to ensure the FBI’s technical capabilities continue to improve. You will have opportunities nationwide, but consider applying to our Washington, DC, Headquarters location if you have the following expertise and interests:
- Cloud Engineering
- Database Administration
- Software Engineering
- Big Data Technology
- Platform/Site Reliability Engineering
IT Specialist-Forensic Examiner (ITS-FE) – As an ITS-FE, you will be exposed to a new world of information technology and have the chance to work on unique investigations with partners across the United States. ITS-FEs use their technical capabilities scientifically by applying rigor and process to the evaluation, preservation and collection of digital evidence. You’ll be part of your Field Office’s Computer Analysis Response Team, an elite group of technical experts, and have an opportunity to work not only on FBI investigations, but those of our partners as well.
Budget Analyst – As a Budget Analyst with the FBI, you will be involved in developing, analyzing or executing budgets, preparing data in support of the budgetary cycle, analyzing and comparing budget estimates for variations and making recommendations to upper management regarding a number of issues, including transfers and reallocation of funding and much more!
Security Specialist – Security is of paramount importance to the FBI! As a Security Specialist, you will provide direct support and service to the administration of FBI security programs, initiate appropriate security checks, process background investigations, conduct personnel security interviews and security briefings and much more.
Human Resources Specialist – As a Human Resources Specialist, you will focus on the FBI’s most precious asset: our people. You will be involved in a number of areas, such as compensation, employee relations, human resource development, benefits, position management and/or recruitment/placement/workforce management and staffing services for one of the most prestigious organizations in the world.
Management and Program Analyst – As a Management and Program Analyst, you will research and develop projects in budget and financial management, compliance, forecasting and more. You will investigate and evaluate short- and long-range program goals, objectives and milestones for compliance with overall mission. Duties involve preparing complete, clear and concise formal and informal reports, correspondence, briefings, charts, tables and graphs.
Applicants must meet the FBI’s Employment Eligibility requirements. Applicants will also be required to provide their GPA, anticipated graduation date, veteran status and any other information related to work experience in their application.
Visiting Scientist Program
Visiting Scientist Program
The Visiting Scientist Program gives applicants the chance to work within the FBI Laboratory, one of the largest and most comprehensive crime labs in the world. Since 1982, the Laboratory’s Research Unit has welcomed college students, postgraduates and faculty and given them a unique work experience. Program participants perform research in areas of interest unique to law enforcement and national security under the guidance of leading forensic scientists. To learn more, click here.
Applicants must meet the following criteria at the time they apply: Only individuals possessing strong academic credentials, outstanding character and a high degree of motivation will be selected for the Visiting Scientist Program.
- Must be attending a college or university that is accredited by one of the regional or national institutional associations recognized by the United States Secretary of Education.
- Must have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or above on a 4.0 scale and be in good standing with his or her undergraduate or graduate degree program.
- Postgraduate applicants still pursuing their degree must be on track to complete their degree prior to the starting date; postgraduate applicants with degrees must have received their degree within five years of the desired starting date.
- Faculty applicants must be full-time, permanent faculty members at an accredited U.S. college or university.
- All candidates must be citizens of the United States.
Applicants must meet all FBI Employment Requirements, pass an FBI Background Investigation and receive a Top Secret Clearance.
There are specific elements that will automatically disqualify job candidates for employment with the FBI. For detailed Employment Eligibility and Employment disqualifiers, click here.
Participants are selected based on academic records, recommendations, applied research interests and compatibility of background with applied research programs and projects at the Research Unit. Selection is also dependent upon availability of funds, staff programs and equipment. Final selection of participants is made by the Research Unit.
How to Apply
The FBI Visiting Scientist Program is an FBI-sponsored educational program in partnership with Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).
Qualified applicants must apply directly to ORISE. For ORISE application information and materials visit: https://www.zintellect.com/Catalog and use the key word FBI.
Student Programs FAQs
Internship Frequently Asked Questions
How does the FBI Honors Internship Program and Collegiate Hiring Initiative selection process work?
There are four stages in the hiring process:
- Initial Selection and Interviews – The most competitive candidates will be invited for interviews.
- Final Selection and Conditional Offer – Selections are based upon academic achievements, area of study, life/work experiences, and the needs of the FBI. If you are selected, you will receive a conditional offer of employment by the FBI. This offer is contingent upon the successful completion and favorable adjudication of your full background investigation and the receipt of an FBI Top Secret security clearance.
- Background Investigation – Candidates who accept a conditional job offer will be sent an e-QIP application invite via email and will be scheduled for a Personnel Security Interview, pre-employment polygraph examination, urinalysis test and fingerprinting. FBI background investigators will contact former and current employers, references, social acquaintances and neighbors. They will also review your school, credit, arrest, medical and military records. The length of your background investigation depends on a number of different variables, including how quickly and thoroughly you complete and submit the e-QIP application; the extent of your foreign travel or time living abroad; and inconsistencies in the application and investigation process. Please see the Background Investigation portion of this site for more information on the FBI Background Investigation process.
- Enter on Duty – Upon issuance of a Top Secret security clearance, you will be contacted and scheduled for an enter-on-duty (EOD) date. The FBI Honors Internship Program begins in the summer.
How long does it take to be hired as an FBI Honors Intern or Collegiate Hire?
The hiring process will depend on the length of the background investigation. When conditional job offers are made and the candidates complete the necessary e-QIP application and preliminary processing, the FBI will begin the background investigation. Background investigation length can be affected by things like foreign travel, international friends or contacts, and other factors. However, most entry-on-duties (EODs) will take place during the summer after applications are due.
Who is my point of contact during the application process?
The Applicant Coordinator, or designated field office representative from your local FBI Field Office, is your point of contact throughout this process.
May I apply to both the Honors Internship Program and Collegiate Hiring Initiative at the same time?
No. The Honors Internship Program is for students who have not yet graduated or who are not graduating until at least Fall of the year after they apply. The Collegiate Hiring Initiative is for students who are graduating through Summer of the year they apply, or who have graduated within 24 months of applying. For example, a student graduating in Summer 2019 may not apply for the Honors Internship Program, but is eligible to apply for the Collegiate Hiring Initiative. Likewise, a student graduating in Fall 2019 may apply to the Honors Internship Program, but not to the Collegiate Hiring Initiative.
If I have taken illegal drugs in the past, can I still work for the FBI?
The FBI’s illegal drug policy is both clear and explicit. No exceptions will be made to the policy, and your answers are subject to verification by urinalysis and pre-employment polygraph examination(s). Please review the Employment Eligibility page to ensure you are eligible to apply for employment with the FBI.
If I have traveled or lived abroad, will that hinder my receiving a security clearance?
Many of the permanent positions at the FBI are internationally oriented, and experience living or traveling abroad is often viewed as a positive experience. However, there are cases in which national security concerns may arise. Extensive foreign experience may delay the background investigation process if there is difficulty verifying information on the application.
I am a citizen of another country. May I apply?
You must be a United States citizen to apply. If you are a United States citizen with dual citizenship, you may apply if you are willing to renounce your non-U.S. citizenship. Dual citizens who renounce their non-U.S. citizenship will be required to execute a declaration form.
My background investigation is taking a long time and the program begins soon. Should I assume that I have been disqualified?
No. You will be notified in writing if you have not been accepted. You may contact the Applicant Coordinator in your processing field office at any time to ascertain your status.
Does the FBI furnish housing for Honors Interns or Collegiate Hires?
No. The FBI does not pay for or provide housing or travel expenses.
Can I have roommates who are not FBI employees?
Yes. All roommates, however, must undergo a security check. Upon entering on duty, you and your roommates must complete a roommate background data form.
How will I get to work, and do I need a car?
For FBI Headquarters or Washington Field Office interns, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority provides Metrorail and Metrobus services. Use the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority website to determine routes and fares. Transit subsidies are available contingent upon available funding. Field office assigned interns or hires are expected to live within a commutable distance to the office they are applying to and utilize the most appropriate transportation. An intern or employee may drive to his or her assignment, but travel expenses are not reimbursed.
Individuals working in Quantico, Virginia or Clarksburg, West Virginia must have their own method of transportation to and from work.
May I take any time off during the internship?
Yes. Interns earn annual and sick leave while on a full-time schedule for 10 weeks during the summer only. As a guideline, interns may take “leave” approximately one day per month.
How should I dress for work?
Appropriate attire for men includes business suits, sport jackets and slacks, shirts and ties. Appropriate attire for women includes business dresses, dress suits, pants suits and professional blouses.
What types of projects do Honors Interns and Collegiate Hires work on?
Interns work on a variety of projects, including (but not limited to): analyzing crime data, development of portals to facilitate the exchange of information between law enforcement agencies and the FBI, supporting operations and aiding with divisions audits to ensure compliance with FBI regulations. For more information on Collegiate Hire work experiences, please visit the Collegiate Hiring Initiative section.
Will I be offered a full-time position with the FBI at the conclusion of my Honors Internship?
Interns are not guaranteed a job offer for a full-time position. However, interns who have graduated and receive recommendations for hire may be extended a job offer. If the job offer is accepted, they are converted to a permanent position pending their completion of 16 hours per month of work at the field office during the rest of their academic tenure. This 16 hours ensures the student is able to maintain his or her security clearance according to OPM’s guidelines.
What is a DD-214?
The DD-214 is a document of the United States Department of Defense issued upon a military service member’s retirement, separation or discharge from active-duty military.