Washington residents who have hopes of becoming FBI agents should know that receiving an education is perhaps the most important determiner of their eligibility for FBI service.

The bureau requires that all agent applicants have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with master’s level degrees and doctoral level degrees being highly preferred. You can get your degree in absolutely anything that you want theoretically, but there are certainly some degree areas that are more useful and more sought after than others.

You’ll want to keep that in mind as you choose an educational path.

The best way to know whether your academic area of interest will improve your chances for being accepted to the FBI is to research and be familiar with the different careers and work capacities that are available to FBI agents.

If you cannot find a career those lines up with your academic area of interest, then it might not be a bad idea to consider a different one.

Some common majors for FBI agents include computer science, computer engineering, computer networking, computer information systems, computer information technology, cyber crime, engineering, higher level mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, linguistics, foreign languages, accounting, finance, and others related to FBI careers.

Once you have a clear idea of what you wish to major in, then the time comes to start looking for the right school. Fortunately, you have a lot of great options in the state of Washington. You can attend a traditional college or university, from which it will take, on average, about four years to earn a bachelor’ s degree, one to three years to earn a master’s degree, and as many as seven years to earn a doctoral level degree.

You could also attend a community college or a trade, technical, or vocational school, which grants only associate’s degrees. However, associate’s degree credits from accredited schools can be transferred to undergraduate institutions in most cases. Schools offering associate’s degrees tend to make class schedules that are geared toward working adults.

You can also choose an online school, which will allow you to work at your own pace and to earn your degree as quickly as you wish. Any option you choose must be accredited, though, in order for it to actually be able to grant you a real degree and in order for your education to count with the FBI.

Some Washington schools that tend to be commonly chosen among those who serve or who have served in the FBI include Bellingham Technical College, located in Bellingham, Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, and Cascadia Community College of Bothell. There’s also Centralia College at Centralia, and Charter College, located in Bellingham. Also, don’t forget about Clark College in Vancouver, Clover Park Technical College of Lakewood, or Columbia Basin College at Pasco.

Students can also choose from one of the many Community Colleges of Spokane. Outside of Spokane, there are community colleges like Edmonds Community College, located in Lynnwood, or Everett Community College in Everett.

There’s also Green River Community College of Auburn, and Highline Community College, with locations in both Des Moines and Federal Way. There also exist technical colleges like Lake Washington Technical College at Kirkland.

Other common choices include Lower Columbia College, located in Longview, Olympic College of Bremerton, and Peninsula College at Port Angeles. Slightly less common but still viable options are Pierce College, with locations in Fort Steilacoom, Lakewood, and Puyallup, and Northwest Indian College, located in Bellingham.

In this same category is Peninsula College, located in Port Angeles, Bellevue College in Bellevue, and Central Washington University of Ellensburg. Not to mention, there’s also Eastern Washington University at Cheney, the Evergreen State College, located in Olympia, and the University of Washington, with locations in Seattle, Bothell, North Sound, and Tacoma. Finally, there’s Washington State University, with locations in Pullman, Spokane, Richland, and Vancouver, and Western Washington University, located in Bellingham.

Of course, the schools listed above are only representative of a few of the many choices you have as a Washington State resident. Remember too that you can choose any accredited online school that you wish, which opens possibilities up around the world, and there are still more schools in the state as well.