Can I Get a Job with the FBI with an Accounting Degree?

You hold a degree in accounting and you are wondering if you can use that degree to secure a position within the FBI. The simple answer to that question is yes. The FBI is a vast investigative agency with far reaching powers; meaning that they are involved in a wide variety of situations in which they investigate various types of crimes. If there is an area in which a crime can be committed, the FBI can use people with expertise in that area. According the official FBI Job website, the agency does hire individuals with different levels of accounting experience.

Special Agent Entry Programs

In order to apply to be a special agent you must first qualify for a particular special agent program. In your case, you will be looking to qualify for the accounting entry program.

Minimum qualifications for entering the FBI Special Agent Accounting Entry Program are:

  • Have been a certified CPA, or
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher, with a major in accounting, in addition to having a minimum of 3 years of functional accounting experience, in which you were directly responsible for performing accounting related tasks.

Forensic Accountant

One of the primary ways that the FBI utilizes the skills of those with advanced accounting experience is to have them function as forensic accountants. According to information on the FBI official site, the FBI has used forensic accountants since its inception in 1908. Currently special agent accountants make up around 15% of the investigative force of the FBI.

There are also investigative accounting jobs within the FBI that are assigned to those who are not special agents. These accountants assist special agents in investigating financial cases.

After 9/11 the FBI shifted its investigative emphasis from organized crime to crimes associated with various types of financial fraud. With complex financial scams such as ponzi schemes, the criminal landscape has changed. Forensic accountants play a major role in investigating these elaborate financial schemes.

Concerning the forensic accountant position, the FBI says their forensic accountants conduct comprehensive investigations on cases that are complex and cover a wide variety of investigative programs.

Salary

According to a report in the Houston Chronicle, those who qualify for the position of forensic accountant within the FBI’s Special Agent Entry Program will enter as a GS – 11 or GS – 12, meaning the recruit would enter on a pay of scale of $64,720 and can make as much as $100,859 annually. This pay rates also varies by assignment region. In some smaller regions, such as Columbus, OH or Indianapolis, IN, the pay rate can drop as low as $57,669 to $89,858.

There is definitely an opportunity within the FBI for someone holding an accounting degree, as long as they are able to meet the other minimum requirements. The FBI offers a number of benefits that are common with government jobs to increase the perks. The important thing to remember is that these job opportunities top out when it comes to salary growth. This means that you must be content with a career at the maximum salary or have an exit strategy in place. As a person with accounting experience, you should have the opportunity to generate additional income for yourself, as long as the work falls within the guidelines of what the FBI will allow.