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Everything You Need to Know About FBI Internships

Internships at the Federal Bureau of Intelligence are the perfect opportunity for students interested in criminal science, law enforcement and related fields to get field experience and gain insight into the workings of the United States’ chief law enforcement agency. 

What is an FBI internship like?

The FBI is the nation’s top law enforcement agency, so naturally, internship positions are demanding and require a high degree of professionalism from interns. However, for students who are interested in working in law enforcement generally or specifically at the FBI, there is no better opportunity to begin your career, and FBI internships are designed to offer a direct line into the FBI’s hiring process.

What is the FBI Honors Internship Program?

The FBI Honors Internship Program is a full-time paid summer internship that takes place from June to August every year that serves as a “direct pipeline to full-time employment” after getting your degree. The program offers several different internship opportunities in a wide variety of fields, including financial management, computer science, administration, facilities operations, digital forensics, and more.

Who can apply for the FBI Honors Internship Program?

The program is open to undergraduate students between their junior and senior years, as well as graduate students pursuing a master’s degree, law degree, or postgraduate degree. 

Where do FBI internships take place?

Most FBI internships take place in the following eight FBI headquarters:

  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Pocatello, Idaho
  • Chantilly, Virginia
  • Manassas, Virginia
  • Quantico, Virginia
  • Winchester Virginia
  • Clarksburg, West Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.

Each of these locations houses different FBI divisions and operations and certain internship positions are only available at specific locations. Some internships are available at the FBI’s 56 field offices outside of these locations and in offices in other cities. Financial Management Analyst positions are based in Denver, Chicago, Dallas, Tampa, Salt Lake City, and Charlotte.

See here for a list of FBI internship positions and their respective locations and here for a list of FBI field offices.

Am I eligible for the FBI Honors Internship Program?

To apply for the FBI Honors Internship Program, you must meet the following requirements: 

First, you must be a U.S. citizen.

Second, you must attend a U.S.-accredited college or university full-time as an undergraduate, graduate, or post-doctoral student. You are not eligible to apply if you are set to graduate before the program’s start date. However, you may be eligible if you intend to continue your education in the semester immediately following your internship. If in doubt, check with the program.

Third, you must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA at the time you apply for the internship, and you must maintain your cumulative GPA throughout the application process and for the duration of the internship program.

Fourth, you must pass all of the FBI employment background investigation requirements and be able to receive a Top Secret Clearance.

How do I apply for  the FBI Honors Internship Program?

To apply for the FBI Honors Internship Program, check here

While internship assignments are based on the needs of the FBI, you can rank your top six preferred locations. The FBI will consider your choice of preferred locations if you are selected as an intern.

How can I find the right internship at the FBI for me?

The FBI offers internships in various fields, so it is best to seek out a position aligned with your interests and qualifications. The FBI has all of their internships listed on the Students and Interns page at fbijobs.gov

Can I apply for an FBI internship if I have already graduated college?

No, you must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate, graduate, or post-doctoral student to apply for the FBI Honors Internship Program.  

However, if you are a recent graduate, you are eligible to apply for the FBI Visiting Scientist Program, which allows recent graduates to work on forensic science research at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia (see details below). 

Are FBI interns paid?

Yes, FBI interns are paid. The FBI uses the General Schedule payscale, the payscale that is used to determine the pay of most U.S. civilian government employees. Undergraduate FBI interns are given GS-4 pay, which in 2022 equates to a base hourly rate of $13.31. Graduate FBI interns are given GS-5 pay, which equates to a base hourly rate of $14.89. See here for the complete General Schedule payscale.

How do you land an internship at the FBI?

As the nation’s top law enforcement agency, the FBI unsurprisingly has very strict criteria for internship applicants, and internships are very competitive. All applicants must be U.S. citizens who are enrolled at a U.S.-accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA. Additionally, applicants must pass all of the FBI employment background checks and be able to receive a Top Secret Clearance. This clearance involves multiple criteria, including a public record with no felony convictions, strict adherence to the FBI drug policy, and good standing on student loan repayments, among other requirements. 

The internship application period generally takes place in late August and early September. THe entire process consists of four stages: Initial Selection and Interviews, Final Selection and Conditional Offer, Background Investigation, and Enter on Duty. For more information about these stages, see the FBI’s FAQ for student programs

FBI internships are very competitive. An average of 12,000 students apply annually for a couple hundred spots. In order to put forward a strong application, all applicants should follow the best practices for applying for internships. In general, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the eligibility criteria for any internships you are interested in and to follow sound internship application strategies. 

Specifically, you will want to make sure that you submit your application early and you should prepare your resume based on the application criteria.

If you land an interview, make sure to prepare for the interview by researching the FBI and the position you are applying for. It is always a good idea to prepare questions in advance and also to have prepared answers to common interview questions. Also be sure to rehearse your interview with friends, family, or professionals at your college’s career center.

For more information about resume-building, read How to Write a Resume, Resume Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out, and How to Use Resume Keywords to Land an Interview.

Which FBI teams offer internships?

The FBI offers 12 types of internships as part of its Honors Internship Program. Broadly, these internships are confined to the following fields: administration, computer science and data, digital forensics, engineering, IT, finance, and facilities operations. These positions take place in a broad variety of facilities and departments. See here for a full list of the FBIs internships.

How else does the FBI support students?

The FBI also has the following initiatives to support students and recent graduates.

The Beacon Project

The Beacon Project is an FBI initiative that connects the FBI with Minority Serving Institutions, including HSBCUs.

Collegiate Hiring Initiative

The Collegiate Hiring Initiative is a full-time, entry-level program to recruit graduating seniors or individuals who have undergraduate, graduate, law, or Ph.D. degrees.

Visiting Scientist Program

The FBI Visiting Scientist Program allows early career scientists and recent graduates to participate in forensic science research under the guidance of leading forensic scientists at the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. In addition to monthly stipends commensurate with their educational level, participants also receive a training and travel allowance.

For more internship opportunities, use TUN’s Job Search Engine.