F.B.I (Federal Bureau of Investigation) agents are involved in crime investigations and responsible for enforcing federal laws; this often puts them at risk of dangerous work. It’s no wonder they have rigorous eligibility criteria. In order to be qualified to work in the F.B.I as a Special Agent, you have to demonstrate that you are mentally and physically prepared for the work.
The F.B.I. Has a Long List of General Qualifications
The minimal requirements for candidates include having a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher, in addition to three years of related work experience - brownie points for those who have fluency in a foreign language (and for a cherry on top, these specific languages: Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Russian, and Korean).
F.B.I agents also have to be physically fit, mentally strong, and courageous. After obtaining these experiences, candidates must complete a self-administered Physical Fitness Test to be submitted on the F.B.I website. The fitness test is then reviewed before the candidate receives an invitation to complete another test focusing on reasoning and overall cognitive abilities. If the individual passes the exam, s/he can move to the next stage, which consists of an interview and an invitation to take a second set of written tests, as well as an official Fitness Test. From there, a background check is administered and a conditional offer can be granted. If all goes well for 21 weeks in the F.B.I Academy, New Agent Trainees receive on-the-job training at their assigned field office and start reporting to their duties. Needless to say, these procedures are the same for all agents across the board including agents who spend most of their time at their desks.
For the First Time in 16 years, the F.B.I. Introduced a Fitness Test in 2015
The F.B.I fitness test was re-instituted in 2015 after being it put to halt for 16 years, as reported by the New York Times.
The F.B.I has been training their agents since 1920, requiring mandatory fitness testing. However, in 1999, the Bureau decided to stop the tests in order to evaluate the test’s efficiency. The fitness test was reintroduced due to the rising interest in physical fitness and the increasing emphasis on investigating post 9/11 drug and violence crimes.
The F.B.I Physical Fitness Test (PFT)
For individuals to qualify for the 21-week intensive program at the F.B.I academy, they must pass The Physical Fitness Test (PFT), which consists of four events:
1 min of Sit-Ups, as many reps as possible
300-meter Sprints, timed
Push-Ups, as many as possible untimed
This test is designed to evaluate the responsiveness of agents to adverse situations such as chasing suspects and moving quickly in case of an attack. Although there are no weight limits, agents are still expected to fulfill certain requirements as dictated by their age and gender.
Take a look at the graph from The New York Times showing the minimum requirements for each test for men and women.
How F.B.I agents prepare for the test
In fact, the F.B.I released a new (and free!) fitness app to help candidates train for their Physical Fitness Test and hopefully qualify become agents. The app can be found here.
The app contains video demonstrations of the exercises completed in the Physical Fitness Test and teaches proper form and technique. Candidates can also use the app to try the full Physical Fitness Test using the most up-to-date F.B.I scoring system and protocol. Moreover, the app can sync with the individual’s phone GPS and accelerometer to simulate a more realistic experience.
Whether or not you are an aspiring agent or just a fitness enthusiast, it is worth trying the test and checking out the app to see what standards are required for F.B.I agents!