Federal agents, also known as special agents, are investigators employed by the United States Government. Federal agents work in all three branches of government, as well as many independent government agencies. However, the vast majority of all agents work within departments of the Executive Branch, investigating various crimes involving that department’s specialty. Special agents investigate and enforce laws ranging from computer crime, to fisheries violations, to murder, and everything in between.
Median Annual Salary
Based on the GS payscale, including a 25% premium known as Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP):
$60,199 – $94,268
Most federal agencies now require all candidates to have at least a Bachelor’s degree, with preference given to candidates with degrees in “critical skills,” such as information technology, engineering, foreign language, finance, and medical studies. Candidates with Master’s degrees are usually hired at a higher GS rating, thereby giving them a higher starting salary.
Competition is expected for jobs in State and Federal agencies. Employment is expected to grow 11% over the next ten years. Applicants with a degree in a critical skill will have the best opportunities to get hired by a federal agency.