FBI Agent Salary: What You’ll Earn

A Career as an FBI Agent in the Criminal Justice System Can Offer You Promising Earning Opportunities

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents are highly trained employees of the United States government's law enforcement arm. FBI agents investigate federal crimes, collecting evidence, conducting interviews, and analyzing data. Their jobs include desk work, fieldwork, testifying in federal court, and traveling.

New agents are typically paid $50,605 annually for this demanding and rewarding work. They receive availability and locality pay on top of their salaries, along with benefits that include retirement, health and life insurance, vacation, and sick leave.

This guide contains detailed information on salary, earning potential, and benefits that will help you decide if a career as an FBI agent is right for you.

How Much Do FBI Agents Earn?

As federal employees, FBI agents are paid according to the special base rate for law enforcement officers (LEOs). The rates consist of grades (GS or GL) and steps within each grade, with pay increases pursuant to length of time employed. Salaries are affected by degrees earned, experience, and the locality in which agents work. The table below summarizes typical salaries at various points in an agent's career and includes a link to locality pay tables.

Salaries are affected by degrees earned, experience, and the locality in which agents work.

New hires with bachelor's degrees but no prior government service earn salaries at the GL-10, Step 1 level. Those with prior government experience are eligible to start at a higher step within the GL-10 range. New agents undergoing training also earn locality pay for the Washington, D.C. area (28% of base salary) plus availability pay (LEAP), which is 25% of base pay. Once training is completed, they may be assigned to a field office with a different locality pay rate.

Average Pay by Experience Level for FBI Agents

The table below features a few examples of what FBI agents can expect to earn based on years of service. The LEO locality pay tables give a more comprehensive view of earnings for FBI agents based on several factors including location, years of service, and job title.

Entry Level (0-12 Months) $55,000
Early Career (1-4 Years) $60,000
Midcareer (5-9 Years) $65,000
Experienced (10-19 Years) $83,000

Source: PayScale

What’s my earning potential as an FBI agent?

The Office of Personnel Management determines FBI agent pay rates, and its online LEO salary calculator is a useful tool for estimating your potential salary based on office location, grade, and step. After graduating from the training program, agents are assigned to one of 56 field offices.

Pay Increases and Benefits for FBI Agents

Non-supervising FBI agents working in a field office are eligible for pay raises up to the GL-13 level. Thereafter, potential promotions as supervisors, managers, and executives at salary levels start at GS-14. Agents at this level may also qualify for the Senior Executive Service.


Location

FBI agents qualify for 15%-40% of their base salary in locality pay. The amount is based on local wage estimates in 53 metro areas and the "Rest of the U.S." As an example, locality pay in the San Francisco Bay Area is 40.35%, while those in the "Rest of the U.S." are paid 15.67%.

Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP)

FBI agents often work more than a 40-hour week and are expected to be available outside their regular hours. Because agents' average work weeks typically total at or above 50 hours, they are eligible for Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) and can earn an additional 25% of their base salary.

Federal employees classified as special agents and criminal investigators are qualified to use LEAP. They must certify that they averaged working at least two hours beyond the regular workday during the past year and that they expect to do so next year.

Benefits for FBI agents

FBI agents enjoy expansive benefits, including health and life insurance, a flexible spending account program, and a federal thrift savings plan. In addition, special agents can opt for one of three death benefit insurance funds. Departmental benefits include a transit subsidy for those commuting via public transportation, student loan repayment, professional development education funds, and a sabbatical program.

Agents earn annual leave based on their years of service, 13 days a year in sick leave, and 10 federal holidays off with pay. Those in the military reserve receive up to 15 days off for service-related activities.

Agents earn annual leave based on their years of service, 13 days a year in sick leave, and 10 federal holidays off with pay. Those in the military reserve receive up to 15 days off for service-related activities.

How Do FBI Agent Careers Compare to Other Criminal Justice Careers?

The table below shows that FBI agents make higher median salaries than other law enforcement and criminal justice professionals. Agent pay depends on the type of education and experience they have. In-demand fields include accounting, architecture, computer science, engineering, and physical sciences.

Agents with master's or law degrees, fluency in foreign languages, and professional experience in counterterrorism and intelligence typically make more money. Agents who excel in collaboration, communication, and problem solving and demonstrate leadership, initiative, and organization also move quickly through the pay scale.

Position Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate
FBI Agents, GS-10, Step 5 $66,086 N/A
Correctional Officers and Bailiffs $44,400 -7%
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists $53,020 6%
Security Guards and Gaming Surveillance Officers $28,530 6%
Police and Detectives $63,380 7%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, FBI Jobs

Take the Next Step in Your FBI Agent Career Today

FBI agents can expect careers in which there is no such thing as a "typical day." Agent responsibilities include arresting suspects, executing search warrants, meeting with high-level sources of information, analyzing data, and collecting evidence at crime scenes.

The link below will take you to a comprehensive job description page where you can learn more.

Learn more about FBI agent jobs

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