New York residents who have dreams of one day becoming Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents should know that having a strong educational foundation and background is absolutely imperative to their success.

In order to even be considered for a position as an FBI agent, you need to possess at least a bachelor’s degree, with higher level degrees being very much preferred.

This usually means, at minimum, four years of hard work and effort on your part, and then as many as ten years or more on your part for higher level degrees.

The good news is that you do not have to get your degree in anything specific. You can really major in anything you like and are good at. However, there are definitely some academic areas that are more highly preferred and useful in the FBI.

Backgrounds in law, law enforcement, criminal justice, computer information systems, information technology, engineering, investigation, chemistry, biology, foreign languages, mathematics, accounting, and the like are generally highly preferred. It is up to you to decide what to major in, however; no one could, or should ever want or try to, make that all important choice for you.

As mentioned above, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree, which takes about four years, on average to earn. You can receive a bachelor’s degree, as the majority of people do, from a traditional college or university. In today’s world, though, you can also opt to earn your bachelor’s degree from an online institution.

While such schools typically work well with difficult schedules, be especially careful if you choose to go this route. There are a lot of scams out there, and you will need to do your research to avoid them. A good online school is one that is legitimate, and legitimate means fully accredited.

Another option that you have, one that happens to be particularly good for those on a budget, is to first earn an associate’s degree and then transfer your credits to a bachelor’ s degree program. Associate’s degrees are most commonly earned from technical or trade schools, community colleges, or from online programs.

Earning degrees in any of these ways typically allows for a much more flexible and a much more affordable experience. Just know that your degree won’t lend itself to a career in the FBI without further action on your part.

Once you have that bachelor’s degree to show for your hard work, a world of opportunity will open itself up. You can, for instance, choose to go on right away and get your master’s degree, which takes anywhere from one to three years on average and does not necessarily have to be in the same or a related area to your bachelor’s degree.

With a master’s, you can even choose to earn a coveted PhD, which can take seven years to earn. Just be mindful of the age requirements for FBI applicants (twenty- three to thirty-six).