FBI Agent/Pilot: Currently all FBI pilots are sworn agents. All are graduates of the FBI academy in Quantico Va., and all have spent time working the field in law enforcement investigations. While some other federal agencies have started to trend toward hiring very experienced civilian pilots, the FBI has not adopted this approach.
Additionally, most or all FBI Agent/Pilots came into the agency with previous aviation experience. For example, the pilot I interviewed for this article began flying at age 19, became a military pilot, and ultimately a state trooper where he flew helicopters in their air unit. Before the cutoff age of 37 he applied for, and was hired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Where did most current FBI Agent/Pilots get their flying experience? I am told it is a blend of both military and civilian flying experience. In other words there is no requirement to have been a military pilot. Pilots who obtain their ratings through civilian flight schools are well represented among the ranks of FBI pilots.
College Degree: Before we get too far along in the aviation side of becoming an FBI Agent/Pilot, we need to look at the basic qualifications for an entry level FBI agent. Yes, you will need that 4 year degree from an accredited university, but not just any degree. The FBI has identified specific areas of study that they require in order to meet the minimum qualifications. A visit to the FBI's official website will answer most of these questions for you. You may want to look at what they call their "diversified" degree & experience category.
Flight Experience: While I would love to be able to report to you exactly what ratings and how much flight time you will eventually need to become an FBI pilot, it is just not possible at this time. Requirements often change with the needs of the department or agency. If there is an abundance of FBI agents with aviation experience to chose from, more ratings and experience by be required to be competitive. If there is a shortage (at the time) of agents with aviation experience, the requirements are going to be less.
What is it really going to take: Any law enforcement aviation unit whether small or large, federal or local, will have movement of personnel. People retire, people lose their flight medicals, people move on to different assignments, etc., etc. So ten, fifteen and twenty years from now there will be FBI Special Agents competing for positions in the FBI Aviation Unit. The question is, will you be one of them? Have a plan and then work your plan.
You will need a college degree in one of the areas of study required by the FBI. What will you do to make this happen? Here is a tip. I can assure you the FBI will want to know what your GPA was in college and probably in high school. It tells them a lot about you!
You will need certain aviation ratings and flight experience. What are you willing to do to make this happen? I would imagine at the very least you would want to set your goals on a commercial fixed wing license with IFR and Multi-engine ratings. Yes this will cost you money, unless of course you go the military route.
I don't think anyone can tell you exactly how to get there. All I can do is show you the opportunity, point you in the right direction, and wish you good luck. Ultimately it will be your hard work, dedication to your goal, and perserverience over many years that will determine whether or not you are selected for that pilot position 10 or 15 years from today. Go for it!
Sources: Wikipedia.com, Associated Press, FBI Official Website.
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