As a result of the current recession, more and more people are looking toward the Federal Government for a good, steady job. Many young people graduating college are interested in pursuing a career that makes a difference, both for individuals and for the country. The Federal Government is doing massive hiring in several mission critical areas, among them security and protection. This category includes Federal law enforcement jobs, such as working as a Special Agent for the FBI, CIA, ATF, or Secret Service.
Strict hiring requirements exist for Federal law enforcement jobs, particularly for the position of Special Agent. You must be a U.S. citizen between the ages of 23 and 37, and you must hold a minimum of a four-year degree from an accredited college or university. To be hired as a Special Agent, you must hold a valid driver's license and be willing to relocate anywhere within the Federal Agency's jurisdiction where you might be needed. You'll need to pass a physical fitness test as well as tests that assess reasoning ability, investigative skills, and/or readiness for entry-level programs.
To become a Special Agent, you must qualify for a top security clearance, which means the Federal Agency to which you are applying will perform a background check on you. A background check includes thorough record checks, including your credit, and you'll undergo drug testing as well. Interviews about you will be conducted with your teachers, co-workers, and friends. You must also pass a polygraph examination, for which you will answer questions about past drug use, alcohol abuse, and medical, psychological, and criminal history.
As a Special Agent, your job duties will vary, depending on which Federal Agency you work for. The FBI places new agents in one of five entry-level programs: accounting, computer science/information technology, language, law, or diversified. ATF Special Agents conduct investigations of criminal violations of Federal laws that pertain to alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. CIA agents conduct sensitive investigations into crimes posing a danger to public health and safety. Secret Service agents provide protection for the leaders of the United States and other people critical to the country's vital institutions and infrastructure.
Which personality types are best suited for careers as Special Agents? Enforcing the law often appeals to traditional, logical ESTJs and ISTJs. Both of these types enjoy a structured work environment with clear rules and regulations, and have the organization and consistency to do well in a wide variety of law enforcement jobs. When it comes to more action-oriented, unpredictable jobs, especially those out in the field, people of the SP temperament may find a niche. ESFPs, ISFPs, ESTPs and ISTPs all enjoy high-energy jobs that keep them on the go. Jobs which require more thought and less action, including intelligence and computer science, are more likely to appeal to analytical ENTJs and INTJs. Both of these types enjoy solving complex, abstract problems, then organizing systems and processes to implement their ideas.
The qualities most important in candidates for Federal law enforcement jobs are: desire to help other people, strong reasoning and investigative skills, openness to challenges, solid moral conscience, and grace under pressure.