Careers for FBI Special Agents in the Criminal Investigations Division

Although the FBI has shifted its priority from criminal investigations to national security, ensuring public safety is still of supreme importance. The Criminal Investigations Division (CID) of the FBI is still the largest major division in the Bureau, supporting more than 4,800 Special Agent jobs.  Within this division, the emphasis is on preventing crimes related to national security, such as interrupting financial networks that provide support to terrorist organizations. A large number of personnel are also allocated to violent crimes, financial crimes, and organized crime.

The Breadth and Scope of Special Agent Jobs in the Criminal Investigations Division

Upholding civil rights and preventing public corruption are among the major priorities of Special Agents in CID, are.  Because civil rights are based on the Constitution and federal laws, the FBI often exerts jurisdictional authority. As the top law enforcement agency in the country, the Bureau is the final investigative authority in matters where local, state or federal personnel, including police and government officials, are performing illegal acts.

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The Special Agents of CID also handle many of the most high profile violent crime cases throughout the country.  Their specialized expertise is often of great benefit to investigators who are seeking clues about major violent crimes, like the recent Newtown, Connecticut shooting and the Unabomber case of the 1980’s and 90’s.  Special Agents also take the lead in investigating transnational criminal organizations, like Latin American gangs and Eurasian criminal enterprise. The CID has nurtured strong relationships with partner law enforcement agencies in many of the countries where these criminal networks originate.

CID Special Agents also use their extensive knowledge of white-collar crimes to detect and investigate crimes involving embezzlement, Medicare fraud, mortgage fraud and internet fraud. Using a large staff of forensic accountants, the CID has taken the lead in a large number of high profile cases related to securities fraud, including the Bernie Madoff case, Enron and WorldCom.

Special Agent-Criminal Investigations Division Job Description

Special Agent jobs in the CID involve performing the following tasks:

  • Investigate incidents of civil rights violations, financial crimes, and violent crimes perpetrated by individuals, companies or government agencies
  • Investigate cases where law enforcement or government personnel have committed crimes or violated the public trust
  • Question suspects, witnesses or knowledgeable associates of criminal perpetrators
  • Gather evidence in preparation for judicial proceedings
  • Coordinate federal, state or local law enforcement resources in the course of an investigation
  • Dialogue with international partners while attempting to investigate or shut down transnational criminal organizations
  • Develop informants and intelligence assets within criminal and terrorist organizations
  • Lend support and advice to law enforcement personnel in pursuit of a serial criminals

Special Agent-Criminal Investigations Division Salary

The Special Agents in the CID begin their careers at the GS-10 pay grade, but may progress up to the GSG-13 level if they remain in the field.  Those who transition to a supervisor or executive job may reach a GS-14 or GS-15 pay grade.  In 2012, the salary ranges for these pay grades were

General Schedule Grade
Pay Range
General Schedule 10
General Schedule 13
General Schedule 14
General Schedule 15

These salaries are usually adjusted 12.5 to 28.7 percent for cost of living.  Special Agents also receive a 25 percent bonus in availability pay, which is meant to compensate for around-the-clock availability and 50-hour work weeks.

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