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  • Advice on future careers

    Good morning/evening all.. I am a sophomore in high school and I have my sights set on a career in public service, namely law enforcement. I'd like to go towards the FBI in the future, but I'm looking to get experience in my local sheriff's department forehand. I have multiple questions, so please bear with me. First off, my college goals. I've been looking to major in psychology and minor in criminal justice. Would these help me in a career with the FBI? Next, how should I train myself? I am well aware the fitness test the FBI administers is not for the typical person, and I want to start getting ready ASAP. Also, is the sheriff's a good place to start? I was looking at being a city cop but I'd like to have jurisdiction in the county as opposed to the city. Lastly, does anyone know how the FBI application process works? They say that roughly 5% of applicants make it, is that because the FBI didn't like their resumè or because they couldn't cut it in the PFT, the field training, etc...? Thank you all in advance for the help and apologies for the giant post.
    EDIT for Clarification: I am looking for a position as a SA with the FBI if that changes anything.
    Last edited by Orange.SRT8; 03-01-2021, 12:21 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Orange.SRT8 View Post
    Good morning/evening all.. I am a sophomore in high school and I have my sights set on a career in public service, namely law enforcement. I'd like to go towards the FBI in the future, but I'm looking to get experience in my local sheriff's department forehand. I have multiple questions, so please bear with me. First off, my college goals. I've been looking to major in psychology and minor in criminal justice. Would these help me in a career with the FBI? Next, how should I train myself? I am well aware the fitness test the FBI administers is not for the typical person, and I want to start getting ready ASAP. Also, is the sheriff's a good place to start? I was looking at being a city cop but I'd like to have jurisdiction in the county as opposed to the city. Lastly, does anyone know how the FBI application process works? They say that roughly 5% of applicants make it, is that because the FBI didn't like their resumè or because they couldn't cut it in the PFT, the field training, etc...? Thank you all in advance for the help and apologies for the giant post.
    EDIT for Clarification: I am looking for a position as a SA with the FBI if that changes anything.
    First, I'd recommend that you organize your post into paragraphs, to make it easier for us to read- police officers write LOTS of reports, and those reports need to be as easy to read as possible.
    Last edited by Aidokea; 03-01-2021, 12:45 PM.

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    • #3
      If you're going to pursue a college degree, I'd recommend something other than Criminal Justice.

      A Criminal Justice degree is no more useful in obtaining a job in law enforcement than any other kind of degree, but it is utterly useless outside of law enforcement, so if you are unable to get a job in law enforcement, you would have wasted all that time and money for nothing.

      Comment


      • #4
        At this point in your life, a major focus of yours should be staying out of trouble. This also means avoiding situations in which you could be completely innocent, but are just in the wrong place at the wrong time, often by way of who you choose to associate with.

        I'll give an example of what I'm talking about- let's say that your best friend is giving you a ride home from school in his car. He has his girlfriend with him. His girlfriend asks him to pick up her older brother on the way. You had no idea they were going to pick up older brother. You strongly suspect that the older brother uses illegal drugs. The police stop the car for a burned-out tail light, and the officer sees a prescription pill bottle for Oxys on the floor with a few pills still in it, and the name on the pill bottle doesn't match any of the four vehicle occupants. You, your best friend, and his girlfriend, all deny possession of the pills. The doper older brother denies it also, so the officer arrests and charges all four of you for felony drug possession.

        Even if you are not convicted, you will have felony drug arrest and charges on your record, and even if it happened when you were a juvenile, any police background investigator will have access to it when you apply for a job in law enforcement, and you will be competing for a job against other applicants who do not carry that baggage.

        It happens...

        Comment


        • Orange.SRT8
          Orange.SRT8 commented
          Editing a comment
          Aidokea-
          Thanks for your information, I will definitely be looking into other degrees that peak my interest. Doing my best to stay out of trouble right now, fingers crossed.

          Maybe a stupid question, does the FBI favor those with law enforcement experience, and how long would you recommend I stay with the sheriff's? I don't want to jump the gun and quit, and be denied from the FBI because a seasoned vet of a PD with 8 years of experience beat me out.

        • Aidokea
          Aidokea commented
          Editing a comment
          If you want to work for the FBI, then you should apply to the FBI.

          Working for a sheriff's department or a police department is not a "stepping stone" to a federal job, any more than working for the FBI would be a "stepping stone" to getting a job with a sheriff's department or a police department. Cops are cops.

          What is it about the FBI that makes that particular agency most interesting to you?

        • Orange.SRT8
          Orange.SRT8 commented
          Editing a comment
          The FBI became my main interest recently. I was looking into law enforcement but I'm still in the middle. I like the pay and idea of the FBI, but I'm not a desk-work paperwork guy. I will definitely deal with it if there's no option, in order to do a job I'd enjoy, but if anyone knows of a different agency with more field time I'm all ears. It's not all about the money for me but, like anyone else, it's definitely a factor
          Last edited by Orange.SRT8; 03-01-2021, 03:09 PM.

        • Aidokea
          Aidokea commented
          Editing a comment
          If money is your primary motivation, you won't make it. That said, there's nothing wrong with being paid fairly for what you do.

          Not all law enforcement agencies pay well, but there are plenty of city, county, and state agencies that do. I was an FTO (Field Training Officer) for a police department, and I don't remember the last time I saw a rookie make less than $100,000 their first year on the road.

          Your user name makes it sound like you have an interest in fun vehicles, so I'll share some stuff that may put the income potential in a context that you may appreciate: My daily commuter was a Porsche convertible that I custom-ordered new. My wife's car is a BMW Track Pack car that we ordered new and then flew to Munich Germany to pick it up at the factory. My motorcycle is an MV Agusta, hand-built in Italy. We have toured toured Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati, Pagani, Ducati, and MV Agusta in northern Italy, in addition to touring BMW and Porsche in Germany. I drove a convertible Lamborghini 150 mph on empty two-lane roads through the farmland surrounding the Lamborghini factory. We drove her BMW on the German Autobahns at speeds in excess of 150 mph. We took turns driving her BMW around the Nurburgring at triple-digit speeds. I sent my wife on an $860 cab ride in a Porsche 911 GT3 RS Race Taxi driven by Sabine Schmitz around the Nurburgring at speeds of up to 200 mph. And we spent two weeks on the Isle of Man for the TT, including renting a big-bore Ducati and riding the course at triple-digit speeds. So if you are interested in doing that kind of stuff, you can make the kind of money it takes to afford it in law enforcement, and you don't have to work for the FBI to do it.

          But there is absolutely MASSIVE amounts of paperwork involved in police work no matter what agency you work for, and it's getting worse and worse as time goes on...
          Last edited by Aidokea; 03-01-2021, 04:48 PM.

      • #5
        And you are revealing too much personal information on your profile page, especially since you are a juvenile.

        I would recommend that you remove your age, date of birth, and state from your profile, for your safety.

        Talk to your parents about being safe on the internet.

        Comment


        • #6
          Relax and enjoy being a kid.

          A BA/BS in Psych, CJ, English, History, Women's Studies, and Italian Renaissance Poetry all carry the same weight. If you want a degree that stands out and is a preferred degree field, look at Accounting, Law, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science/IT, or Engineering. Language degrees with fluency in Arabic, Russian, Chinese and Korean are useful if you want to be a linguist.

          Most people don't make the selection process because supply far outweighs the demand, poor decision making prior to the hiring process, and the inability to stand out in the crowd. The FBI gets 10,000 applications to fill half than many vacancies. What's going to make you stand out from the other 5,000 applicants who have Psych or CJ degrees?

          Comment


          • Orange.SRT8
            Orange.SRT8 commented
            Editing a comment
            That's honestly why I'm here. That's a question I was hoping to find some answers to, because I'm not sure what would set me apart from others.

          • Badger99
            Badger99 commented
            Editing a comment
            Orange.SRT8 I am not in the FBI, but I have several friends that are (as agents and support personnel). I will say none had prior law enforcement experience going in. A few started as interns during undergrad or graduate school, and another started as an Intel Analyst following grad school prior to becoming an agent. They all had computer/cyber skills, language skills, or some other unique aspect.

            I would major in something you enjoy and that can get you a related career outside of federal law enforcement. And as just joe said, languages are always in demand. It can sometimes be difficult to find folks who are fluent in those hard languages and are security clearance eligible (i.e. US Citizens).

            The only downside is it can shoehorn you into specific jobs in the FBI. My one friend purposely doesn't advertise he is bilingual in Spanish because he has no interest in those related jobs (gangs, SW border stuff, etc). I've also known of folks who got sick of working cyber but are stuck because that's their background & there is a FBI need for it. So I guess just make sure you actually like whatever unique specialty you actually pursue.

        • #7
          If you don't want to write and do paperwork, investigative work isn't for you. In SA jobs the bulk of the work is writing reports, affidavits, etc that includes the FBI. Your work experience is what is going to get looked at, the degree itself doesn't really matter because that is just a box you check off. What is in demand is CPA's, and cyber security backgrounds. The government has a hard time hiring people with those qualifications, because they make significantly more in the private sector. As far as law enforcement experience for those jobs, each agency looks at it differently.

          USMS is the one agency I know that weighs its fairly heavily when someone applys. The FBI may have prioritised hiring people with police experience years ago, but I've heard rumours of them intentionally limiting the amount of people they'll hire with a police background (because a full class of people with Police backgrounds isn't going to exactly nail someone like Bernie Madoff). One thing that will help is holding any sort of cleared position (Security Clearance), because then you are at least a known quantity. As far as the FBI's application process you'll get used to not hearing anything. I've applied for positions other than SA (I have no interest in being an SA for the FBI), and its a lot of waiting with not hearing anything for months to even years. With that in mind its best not to put all your eggs in one basket.

          Comment


          • #8
            Have you visited the FBI recruiting pages? They recruit by background from what I have seen. Sometimes there are many different backgrounds they are looking for and other times they are only looking for 2 or 3. Like was said previously accounting, cyber/IT, other tech, law, and language are your best areas to study in school if you want to be valuable to a federal LE agency as a potential SA.

            ​The money in the world of federal criminal investigators is pretty much the same for most of the bigger agencies.

            ​Most SA positions journey level at GS-13. Some agencies only go to GS-12. There are a few on a different pay scale altogether which can pay more or less. But the large majority of SAs with some time on are GS-13s making LEAP and that pays the same in the FBI as it does in the DEA, ATF, HSI, IRS, USSS (though they have overtime opportunities most don't).

            Comment


            • #9
              Think of a career outside of law enforcement or the legal system and pursue a degree for that. I know quite a few people who thought they wanted to be cops, but ended up hating the job. I myself have a Criminal Justice degree and if I could do it all over again, I would have gotten a degree in accounting. If the time comes that I want to walk away from my career as a cop, I don't really have anything to fall back on.

              Comment


              • #10
                Originally posted by Orange.SRT8 View Post
                but I'm not a desk-work paperwork guy.
                That alone is the kiss of death for most careers.




                Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                Comment


                • #11
                  Thanks to my worthless CJ degree, I am enjoying a nice retirement after a 27 year career which took me from coast to coast and a few far corners of the world.

                  The Bureau I know cares less about degrees and more about life experience and unique skillsets.

                  Get a degree in whatever floats your boat. Then become awesome at something. Or even better, become awesome at a few things.

                  Own your destiny.

                  If it is all beautiful you can’t believe it. Things aren’t that way.

                  -Ernest Hemingway

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    " but I'm not a desk-work paperwork guy."

                    Well, then the job of Federal Criminal INVESTIGATOR (1811 Special Agent, FBI Special Agent US Marshall) is not for you..............
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Originally posted by Orange.SRT8
                      I'm not a desk-work paperwork guy.
                      You're only a sophomore in high school. Who knows what type of guy you'll be a decade from now.

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
                        " but I'm not a desk-work paperwork guy."

                        Well, then the job of Federal Criminal INVESTIGATOR (1811 Special Agent, FBI Special Agent US Marshall) is not for you..............
                        Realistically, if he isn't a "desk-work paperwork guy," LE isn't for him. Most people don't understand the mountains of paperwork and desk time that is involved in LE.
                        "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
                        -Friedrich Nietzsche

                        Comment


                        • Iowa #1603
                          Iowa #1603 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          True.........

                          And pretty much NO ONE understands how little "door kicking" is done by investigators either

                      • #15
                        Though after 13+ years in both the Army and the Navy, I am somewhat loath to make this recommendation to any young person, but... US Army, 11X contract. Take 4 years to do some fun (to me at least) stuff, maybe see the world, and get your GI Bill.

                        Some of the best years of my life were spent as an 11B. Early/mid years of the GWOT were wild, and I honestly wouldn't trade those experiences, good, bad, and WTF, for anything.

                        Comment


                        • Orange.SRT8
                          Orange.SRT8 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I've always put a lot of thought into the military, the only reason I look at law enforcement is being able to stay stateside... Maybe I need to drop my doubts and keep open to the military, but I've always driven myself away from the thought.

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