Learn if working as a federal agent or FBI linguist is the right career for you by reading this article. Get an overview of what salary these professions attract, education and training details as well as the licensure and certification required before joining either of the professions.
Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Career Overview
The Federal Bureau of Investigations offers several career choices related to the field of justice. Usually, rigorous training and education is necessary before joining the profession, with a bachelor’s degree being the minimum education qualification detail.
Career Options with the FBI
Generally, a bachelor’s degree in a related field is required before getting a job as a federal agent or linguist. Degree programs in accounting, computer science, law or language are prime examples of what most FBI agents and linguists study while in college or university.
They acquire, evaluate and report on important security intelligence especially in matters of national security. Being a linguist requires you to know at least one foreign language as a lot of work may involve translation from a foreign language into English. FBI linguists are generally categorized into 4 main sections, contract language monitors, special agent linguists, contract linguists and contract testers.
The contract linguists deal with the translation of audio or written information about national security. At times, these professionals may assist in interrogations and polygraph tests. Employment for contract linguists is mostly part time, which depends on an agency’s needs. It is also possible to get full time jobs with experience. On the other hand, a contract language monitor translates as well as summarizes written and recorded information. The contract testers check for language fluency usually in phones. As such, most of these jobs come in contractual forms, usually working in FBI offices.
The FBI often employs special linguists whose work includes analyzing intelligence gathered, thwarting terrorists’ efforts, screening wiretaps, interviewing witnesses and suspects as well as testifying in courts. To get employed as a special linguist, it does come with several demands. For instance, you must have a bachelor’s degree in Language or linguistics, and accept full FBI training.
Payments in the FBI vary greatly. Even in cases where two employees work in the same job category, their payment may still vary greatly as payment is guided by the federal government’s General schedule (fbijobs.gov). Locality and availability are other factors that may contribute to a varying paycheck in the FBI. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for translators and interpreters are expected to rise by up to 29% in the coming years. On the other hand, the average pay for these two professionals was estimated to be $44,190 in 2014.
Their work duties are numerous and complicated. For instance, they uphold and enforce laws against terrorism, drugs, spying, corporate misdeeds, bank robberies, fraud, among others. In fact, special agents have to uphold laws against up to 300 crimes in the U.S. Note, to get employment as a special agent, you must be at least 23 years of age, be a Northern Marian island or U.S. citizen and not be older than 37 by the time of acquiring employment.