What does a Special Agent do?

Special agents are detectives or criminal investigators who work for government agencies to investigate suspected and alleged criminal violations of laws and to determine if the evidence is sufficient to warrant prosecution. Special agents work in the investigation, criminal justice, and homeland security functions. They investigate many forms of illegal activity including kidnapping, bank robbery, cybercrime, and other white-collar crime. They work to enforce the nation’s law and are involved in national security issues and matters and monitor ongoing situations and conduct investigations to look for possible threats.

Special agents protect national borders and are responsible for investigating interstate crimes, international espionage, and potential terrorist threats. They work in undercover assignments to gather evidence, do surveillance and observation, and monitor activity on court-authorized wiretaps. They interview witnesses or suspects to obtain intelligence on illegal activities, and they examine personal, financial, and business records. They serve arrest warrants and take individuals into custody as approved by the court. Special agents need a minimum associate's degree with a concentration in criminal justice.

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Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
3%
2 - 4
4%
5 - 7
0%
8+
93%

Common Skill Sets

Graduate Level
Graduate Degree
Top Secret Clearance
General Medical
Investigating
Conducting
Dexterity
Gathering

Special Agent Seniority Levels

L2
Special Agent
$106,665/yr
L4
Police Officer
10% made the transition
Security Officer
10% made the transition
See Career Path

Special Agent Salaries

Average Base Pay

$106,526 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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$62K
Median: $107K
$182K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Special Agent Jobs