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Thread: Chances of getting into the FBI or CIA?

  1. #1
    Ally is offline Cadet
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Chances of getting into the FBI or CIA?

    Hi, i'm Ally. I'm going into my sophomore year in high school and i've been pretty interested into getting in the FBI or CIA as my future career. I was looking up the requirements and saw there really is a lot, and the chances are low to really get it either. Also, before you say "do you even know the difference, they are totally different jobs" i know, at least i think i do. I'm leaning more towards the CIA, but i'm still hesitant about what if my cover was blown, having to basically live a double life.. etc. Entirely, i want to serve the country and have a demanding job to keep me busy. I was planning on become fluent in spanish (which i know isn't really that useful, but i'm already halfway there), start learning russian and possibly farsi because i have some family members who are fluent and could really help on that. Also i was thinking of getting into the Navy for experience, go to college, and then possibly get into a police job for a few years for more experience. Would that give me a fair chance into getting into either the FBI or CIA? My GPA so far is 3.3, and i'm an a-b student with the occasional one or two C, (which i am planning on becoming a straight A student in the upcoming years). So what do you think my chance would be if this all fell out into play? The only down side which i feel the need to mention is i don't have the best mental health background. I had a short period in eighth grade where i had an eating disorder which led to depression, and i was in therapy for about one and a half year. Would that completely ruin it? I also don't have the best family background, (typical, father left and was in jail, living with grandparents and my sister is totally messed up and it skews peoples view on me, a lot of people think i'm some huge druggie, party girl when i'm totally the complete opposite) <- Thats also one concern, considering the background checks. So what would be my chances? thank you.

    also, i would want to be a field/special agent in either job.

  2. #2
    o2force is offline Rookie
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    You have a long way to go before either of those positions are a legitimate possibility. For reference, most new FBI SAs are in their low 30s. It would be impossible to lay out a road map that guarantees a job offer because the needs of both agencies fluctuate. However, you can't go wrong by getting good grades, staying out if trouble, and being well rounded (language proficiency, extra curricular activities, work experience, etc.). If in 15 years you decide that those positions are not for you then you have still set yourself up for success.

    If you feel a strong need to have some kind of mid to short-term goal I recommend looking at getting into one of the premier military academies (USNA, Air Force Academy, West Point) or ROTC.

  3. #3
    TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
    TheGreatGonzo is offline Ducks don't wear pants!
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    Jun 2001
    ...a bar in far Bombay.
    Just as O2force pointed out, your question is absolutely impossible to answer. In the many years that stand between you and your application process, there are countless variables that may change in what the agencies are looking for. Follow O2force's further advice and stay out of trouble. In your high school and college years, the choices you make and the behaviors you engage in can deeply affect your career choices. I cannot tell you how many applicants I now hear say, "I was young and did not know any better." or "My choices at that age should not be held against me." or some similar excuse. Baloney. If your future matters to you, start making wise choices now. Stay away from drugs. All of them. Period. Once you reach legal drinking age, be judicious in your use of alcohol. Make careful choices about who you hang out with. Finish high school with solid grades. Then, pick a major you like in college. Don't pick a major based on whether it will help you get hired or not. Pick it because you enjoy it. Then work hard at it. Get the best grades you possibly can. Become a well rounded person. Those are the things that you can control now that will help you be a good candidate in the future.

    "You're about as useful as a poopy flavored lollipop!" - Patches O'Houlihan

  4. #4
    whatchagot is offline Sergeant
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    In deez screets
    There is an immeasurable difference between those two jobs. We've addressed it on here before, but CIA case officers are charged with identifying, recruiting, and managing intelligence assets (sources) to collect intelligence worldwide. They tend to live 50% or better of their careers overseas, have no arrest authority, and typically do not carry firearms. FBI agents are by definition CRIMINAL investigators. Even with the conversion of large portions of FBI assets into intelligence missions, their basic mission is still to prosecute people for violations of US code.

    The advice you've received above is solid. Mine is to learn the difference between all of these jobs. There are great books out there on both.

  5. #5
    jfcc is offline Cadet
    Join Date
    May 2013
    First, I'm glad to hear you are starting to think about your future so early. As mentioned, no one here can tell you your chances, unless you were to say you are a smuggler, then we could tell you your chances....zero (joking). Make sure you're not applying what you see in the movies to the real life jobs. Yes, clandestine operatives have covers, but having a "blown" cover shouldn't even really be in your mind at this point.

    I'm currently on hold in the hiring process (due to budgets), but as a relatively young person as well I can at least give you some advice, things I wish I would have done differently. First, make school your first priority. I was a low to mid 'B' student in high school and put in little to no effort. It took me until about a quarter of the way through college to mature and wise-up. If I would have put even a fraction of the effort I did in college/grad school into high school I could have had straight A's. I didn't get into a bad school at all, but I can't emphasize enough the value of academic scholarships....(school loans suck).

    Also begin thinking about what field you want to get into, wanting to work at a particular place is fine but begin building your skillset whether its in computers, accounting, etc...If your high school has after school clubs for those types of things, they are good to get into. I don't know your personality, but I know some kids tend to think high school is the end all be all of everything. High school is a really small part of life, focus on your school work, and have some (legal) fun and get into college.

    I know its easier said than done, but don't let your family situation pull you down. If you need to get out of that situation, getting into the military might not be a bad idea. I have a friend in a similar situation, and going into the army was the best thing for him. Really, only you can evaluate this for yourself, certainly not me or any other random forum poster.

    In the end, you may get through college, meet someone and decide you don't want to be away from them 200 days out of the year (in harms way) so don't focus too hard on these particular jobs. Build your skillset, stay out of trouble and evaluate your situation once you get to a point where you're able to apply.

    Hope that helps.

    -forgive my grammar and/or syntax, its still early.

  6. #6
    o2force is offline Rookie
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    Jan 2012
    I forgot to mention, don't be affraid to look at other agencies/departments. For instance, the Air Force, Army, and Navy all have have positions in the investigative, intelligence, and counterintelligence fields. There is also the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), who perform intelligence and counterintelligence duties. The Department of State's Dipolmatic Security does some good stuff overseas. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will partake in some counterproliferation investigations. Lastly, I can't even begin to count the number of agencies (Federal, State, and local) that partake in JTTF.

  7. #7
    ATF SAC's Avatar
    ATF SAC is offline The Moderate Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Unlike many folks who are members here, your resume is a blank sheet. Since you are something like 10 years away from being a candidate for either organization, the one focus you should have is keeping red marks off it. Those "corrections" for bad choices and decisions can be a killer. You seem to be doing just fine in the face of serious challenges, and you have to hold to that, particularly from now on. Whatever you have experienced, the next 10 are far more on the record and important than the last 5. Your background, as others have found is about you, not so much other folks in the family. At the same time, I would put away specific plans for either agency at this point. You can read about them and see how your interest holds up, but I would caution against lining up an educational plan just yet. In part, other than facility in languages, it is impossible to predict what the focus will be for either in a decade. Probably computer science would be a bet worth taking, but a better one is to let your interests form as you finish high school and move into college. Your interest in the agencies may help you decide some things, but the worst decision would be to grind out your developmental years in a program that does not appeal to you and turns out to be what the agencies were interested in now, but not when you apply. Even if your interest grows, kind of keep in mind something of a plan B and C. "I like this, it is in line with my interests in the agencies, but is it helpful if the agencies don't work out?" One other thing, given your time from now to then. Nothing wrong with the most recognizable brand names you cite. However, you may want to consider broadening your focus to law enforcement or Federal law enforcement or to intelligence. If you do, you will learn more about the field in which you are interested and possibly broaden your eventual opportunities.
    Last edited by ATF SAC; 07-22-2013 at 15:32.

  8. #8
    satpak77 is offline Chief
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    Mar 2004
    all good posts, let me add, you must absolutely pay attention to

    1. No arrests of any kind. This includes college drinking "minor in possession" violations
    3. Keep credit history clean/good

    With that said, ALL AGENCIES, need candidates with this background

    foreign language ability such as Spanish/Chinese/Arabic being the heavy hitters
    computer security/IT , Accounting/CPA (if one across-the-spectrum degree exists it would be Accounting), engineering electrical or mechanical

    you HAVE to be able to answer "Why would Agency ABC hire me" or "hire _______________ "

    if the fill in the blank answer is "Joe college graduate with CJ degree and no experience" then that is a lot different than "Joe college graduate with Accounting degree, CPA, and speaks Spanish"

    Agency ABC can "plug" the second guy into a lot more ops than the first guy. And thats why they hire folks in the first place.

    good luck
    Last edited by satpak77; 07-23-2013 at 12:01.
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  9. #9
    gmc1's Avatar
    gmc1 is offline Rookie
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    Mar 2012
    Although it's more difficult to get into nowadays (what isn't?), if you are considering a stint in the military and have an interest in foreign languages, the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, CA can't be beat. A couple of years ago DLI was accredited so that graduates of DLI can receive an Associate degrees in whatever language they graduate from (provided that you have completed some general education requirements, which are also offered locally).

    Additionally, every branch sends their service members there, so if the Navy doesn't have a career-field that interests you or is unwilling to send you to DLI, you can walk over to the Air Force Recruiter and see what they have, then the Army recruiter, Marine, etc... Also, almost everyone that was there had to get a clearance to perform their future job, so you get that too. Bonus!

    I know I sound like a recruiter for DLI, I'm not, but in reading your post it seems like a viable option to knock out a few of your goals at once while gaining valuable skills and earning a paycheck. Yep, you get PAID to study a foreign language and earn a two-year degree.

    ***Caveat*** Military service is a huge commitment by itself, and DLI is no different. The courses are HARD and require hours of outside the classroom study and practice (especially the Russian, Korean, and Chinese courses) in addition to mandatory military training. You are studying a language for 8 hours a day in class, 5 days a week, for anywhere from 6 to 18 months depending on the language. The burn-out factor is real. If you fail the course, they have the option of putting you in a job where they have the greatest need. So you might have signed the line to become a Crypto-linguist in Russian (or whatever the Navy calls those guys/gals), but failed Russian, so now you're dangling from a rope chipping barnacles off of the hull of a carrier for three years until your enlistment is over.

    At the end of the day though, still a great option for you to consider. And if you do consider military service of any kind, get anything and everything the recruiter promises you IN WRITING. Can't stress that enough.

    Good luck!



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