The Federal Bureau of Investigation serves as the nation's police force, investigating federal crimes and assisting local police departments on challenging cases. There's no single degree that can prepare you for a career with the FBI. Instead, the Bureau seeks applicants from diverse backgrounds, and gives priority to those who have desperately needed skills, such as foreign language proficiency.

College Degree

The FBI now requires that all applicants have a college degree. Although no specific major is required, a background in criminal justice can be particularly helpful. The FBI is especially interested in applicants who have computer, accounting, legal, foreign language and science skills, so majoring in one of these topics can give you a competitive advantage.

Work Experience

You'll need at least three years of work experience before the FBI will consider your application. Use this time to develop skills that will make you more attractive to the Bureau. You might, for example, spend three years as a local law enforcement official, enter a computer-related profession or do translation work for a large company. You'll need exceptional recommendations and a stellar work ethic, so ensure that you can excel at whatever profession you choose before you enter the FBI.

Entry Programs

Applicants enter one of the FBI's five entry programs and then embark upon specialized training. These programs are in accounting science, computer science and information technology, language and law. A fifth category, the "diversified" category, is reserved for people who don't neatly fit into other categories but who have in-demand skills and a college degree. For example, if you have a psychology background, you might enter through the diversified track to become a criminal profiler.

Critical Skills

The FBI gives first priority to applicants who have the skills it needs. A degree or work experience in one of these key areas can increase your likelihood of acceptance. The critical skills are accounting, finance, computer science, foreign language, intelligence experience, law experience, law enforcement experience, military background, forensic and physical sciences or experience with tactical operations or special forcces.