If you live in the state of Virginia and plan on becoming an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), you might be wondering how to get started or what your options are.

For most people, education is the first big step toward becoming an FBI agent. As with most other worthwhile career ventures, a degree from an accredited institution is required.

One common misconception, though, is that there is some “FBI degree” that people can earn that will automatically qualify them for being an FBI agent. The truth is, though, that it just doesn’t work that way.

The FBI is interested in hiring agents with a diverse array of academic and professional backgrounds in order to fulfil a diverse array of different positions.

That is why you can’t just major in being an FBI agent specifically while you are in college. What you can do, though, is to spend some time researching the different FBI agent careers in order to find a major that correlates to the FBI job that you wish to have.

Though you can theoretically major in anything you want and be eligible for FBI service, there are definitely some academic areas that are more preferred than others.

The study of computers, for example, is considered very useful in the FBI. Those who have studied computer engineering, general computer science, computer information systems, computer information technology, or even cyber crime or networking are usually top candidates for FBI service.

This has become a trend over the years, as the FBI and its work have come to increasingly rely on computers and on the internet. If you are at all technologically inclined, then one of the above majors or a related one could potentially be a great fit for you.

Other FBI agents choose to major in scientific areas, such as chemistry, physics, and biology. These skills can be put to use in a variety of important ways, such as forensics or conducting research, in the FBI. Some others let their love of mathematics guide their FBI careers.

Accounting, finance, and higher level mathematics students are always welcome and needed in the FBI. This might make it sound as if there is no room for the language lover, but there certainly is. Communications degrees and degrees plus fluency in a wide variety of languages are constantly in very high demand.

Other common majors for FBI agents include engineering, criminal justice, criminology, law enforcement, crime scene investigation, forensic investigation, criminal investigation, and others. In fact, crime, law enforcement, and criminology related degrees are some of the most commonly seen academic backgrounds among FBI agents. It is not at all rare for a former police officer to now be working as an FBI agent.

As mentioned earlier, no matter what your degree is in, you will need to have it at at least the bachelor’s level in order to be considered for FBI service. It is even better if you have a master’s degree or a doctoral level degree. Remember too that in addition to your degree, you will need to have about one to three years of work experience, experience that, if at all possible, should be related to your degree area. Remember that if you are in a time crunch, you can always get your work experience in at the same time that you get your degree. You can do this by working a traditional job or even by completing internships or other experiential learning opportunities; some of these may even count for class credit as well.

Most people will earn their degrees from one of Virginia’s many accredited traditional colleges and universities. If this is not right for you, however, you do have other options. Thanks to the internet, you can choose to earn your degree online, usually allowing you to work at your pace and to save money over traditional educational ventures. However, you’ll need to take extra precautions to make sure your online school is legitimate and accredited. Another affordable option is to choose to earn an associate’s degree from a community college or from a trade or technical school and then transfer the credits.