The best degrees for an FBI career are a mix of different programs from computer science to criminal justice. The FBI is one of those mysterious careers that leaves people wondering how agents in the field got there. Are there FBI majors? Not exactly, but there are many directions you can take for a successful career in this sector.
It is no surprise that people pick this path as a way to contribute to their communities. Therefore, people often choose the niche that meets their specific gateway interests as a major as a way to gain the experience needed for the FBI. We have researched ten popular and effective degree paths, all of which can be considered the best route to becoming an FBI agent.
So, how do you become an FBI agent? There are many best degrees for law enforcement careers and best majors for FBI special agents, all of which can lead you in the right direction.
1. Safety Administration
A Public Safety Administration degree trains you for the current times in which we live. One may argue that this is also one of the best degrees for federal law enforcement. It takes a different approach than an FBI special agent track geared towards investigations. This particular major is much more about direct action. These professionals usually work in counterterrorism and other administrative departments and make policies and plans for a variety of threats.
Students emerge from this course of study with an understanding of how to deal with active shooters and real-time emergency scenarios that we are all privy to every time we watch the news. The security detail is the middle name of this degree, as it relates to responding to threats on the national and international levels.
Psychology has been known to be one of the best majors for law enforcement in general and a popular one among aspiring FBI agents. To understand crime, it is essential to discern the inner workings of people and why they would make specific choices.
Often these choices are what motivate people to commit crimes or act defensively. A psychology student gathers this information about human behavior and can use it effectively in the FBI. These critical tools give members of the force key tools to track crime sprees, which can ultimately be life-saving. There are also niche FBI roles that require a background in psychology. For example, Psychology is one of the best degrees for an FBI profiling career.
3. Computer Science
Computer Science may not seem like a natural fit for an FBI agent. However, data and technology are essential skills that law enforcement higher-ups are required to have. Knowing how to interact with servers securely and digital case files are part of the day-to-day tasks on the force.
Networks and computer system wizards are gold mines for law enforcement and high-level security agencies, so if this is your interest, dive in. A Computer Science degree is relevant, as everything is technology-oriented, and therefore, this degree will never be outdated. It can also be applied to a myriad of career paths if you want to stay flexible and leave the ultimate career goal open-ended.
The FBI works hand in hand with the law, so, therefore, education in law can make a path to higher-up law enforcement that much easier. Regardless of what an FBI agent has studied, they must know the underpinnings of the law. A law degree almost ensures that they comply so a judge can successfully see their cases.
If agents find evidence illegally, it will no longer be able to be used in court. So FBI agents must be well versed in the legal protocol for investigations and proceedings to be effective. The law is also a broad subject, so with the FBI as an ultimate goal, a student can tailor their legal education accordingly. No doubt, a law degree is one of the best paths to a career in the FBI.
5. Criminal Justice
Criminology versus Criminal Justice? When you study Criminology, you study the inner workings of a crime, the ramifications, how much it cost, and what were its causes. Is Criminology a good major? Sure. Criminal Justice deals more, however, with how the system handles crime, how it is detected, how the criminal was detailed, and ultimately how agents and others seek justice.
Both are useful majors that can lead to a successful career in the FBI. However, a criminal justice degree is popular and effective for those aspiring to be FBI Special Agents. These professionals are at the front lines of criminal investigations and follow the case all the way through trial and prosecution. Students in a criminal justice program graduate with one of the best degrees for the FBI and an understanding of corrections, law enforcement, and the criminal justice system.
Sociology is one of the best degrees for the FBI and an underrated discipline in law enforcement. A Sociology major gives students the skills to have a macro view of crime. The agent will understand the context in which a criminal may have grown up and how they came to do what they did.
This powerful field allows one to understand the disparity in a comprehensive way and how it impacts people’s choices. Sociology helps us understand our society and the ways our communities operate and thrive. Many people pick this field because they are looking towards Justice as a way to heal violent environments, which is a perfect fit for a future FBI agent.
As a result of how tech-heavy our world is today, cybercrimes make up a growing number of the crimes that agents now battle daily. It seems we all know several people who have been victims of identity theft or someone who has had their computer with valuable information hacked. Today it is vital to ensure that all companies have the necessary tools not to be vulnerable to cybercriminals.
Many FBI agents approach their careers from this angle. Cybersecurity has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and there is sure to be no shortage of employment when you emerge with such a skillset, including in the law enforcement workforce.
A degree in Finance is also an excellent avenue for someone wanting to pursue a career as an FBI agent. Just like any organization or company, financial health and management are both critical to its success. Students in the field of Finance learn excellent record keeping and how to spend appropriately, while also keeping outstanding records.
This degree gives you a clear role, which can help land your dream job in the FBI. If you have this background, you might have to pay the competency tax, as you will be able to do more for the FBI than other agents in some cases. You might find yourself filing their taxes and keeping their books.
9. Forensic Accounting
Similar to a major in Finance, an academic path in Forensic Accounting is also an incredible contribution to an FBI force. This skill set will provide you with the tools to investigate white-collar crimes. These agents investigate embezzlement and money laundering, as well as identity theft and credit card fraud.
More and more, the FBI is looking to bring more of this skill set onto the force as these are the common crimes of our times. Students of Forensic Accounting will learn all of the best practices in financial crime investigation, and how to bring this type of crime to Justice.
10. International Studies
Overseas operations within domestic companies are more common than not, especially as a result of the internet. This high level of international business exchange can create some real legal issues, sometimes quite unintentionally. International Studies, as a degree choice, is an excellent way to engage with international law as an FBI agent and one of the best degrees for the FBI.
Agents who dive into this sector of the field must be well versed in global politics and foreign policy. Often it is helpful to speak multiple languages, which many International Studies students emphasize as a part of their degree. It is also a point of entry to study terrorism and international environmental law investigations, both hugely important in the globalized world.
Finding a Career in the FBI
There are many paths to take in the ever-evolving fields of law enforcement and especially to find a career within the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
This highly respected department of domestic security and intelligence brings together a myriad of skill sets with the implied intention of keeping the public safe. As noted above in the best degrees for FBI, there are many degrees necessary to fill the shoes of a capable FBI force.
How Much is an FBI Agent Salary?
An FBI Special Agent salary varies depending on experience, education, and position. But in general, a FBI agent’s salary is between $50,000 and $135,000 per year. Thus, the FBI agent salary per month would be from $4,100 to $11,100.
Does the FBI Accept Online Degrees?
Yes, students can earn many of the best degrees for the FBI below online. Most of the resulting degrees do not mention online at all. If you have wanted to be in the FBI since you were a kid, keep your eyes on the prize. Pave a path that you tailor to your unique interests and reasons behind this noble aspiration.
As much as the FBI is interested in your degree, applicants must have many other qualities and skills. So, if you are interested in this career you should have a clean criminal record and also be able to pass the physical endurance tests.
Get Specific and Stand Out
What is the best degree to become an FBI special agent? It depends on the role you want at the organization. Some FBI agents are more on the administrative end but are equally valuable. If you would prefer a back-of-the-house role, take that into account when picking the means to an end.
Each of these degrees focuses heavily on the issues of justice, sociology, psychology, and even financial wellness. And each is a vital aspect of an FBI agent’s job. Choose a goal, and then find your niche within the field and go for it!
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