A career as an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is something that many Rhode Island residents will spend their entire lives dreaming about. The truth is, though, that, believe it or not, this career is more than just something to fantasize about; it can actually be accomplished.

You just have to be willing to put in the work it takes. Before you start doing any of this work, though, you need to take the time to actually sit down and think long and hard about the realities of a life in the FBI and whether or not the job truly is right for you.

Keep in mind, first of all, that a job as an FBI agent is not just like a regular job that you can go into each morning and leave each evening, not to think about again until the next workday. No, a job in the FBI requires a lifelong commitment. You will, in all likelihood, not even have any kind of schedule that resembles a regular working schedule.

Most FBI agents are on call, and simply must be willing to drop everything and go to work when they are needed. A job in the FBI also lends itself to a very private and secretive life. Very few people are allowed to know about the nature of your work, and the easiest way to keep word from getting out is to limit interactions with others outside of the immediate family.

This kind of lifestyle just won’t work for everyone. If you can’t see yourself living like this, then a career in the FBI might not be the right answer for you. Remember that if you are going to be a successful FBI agent, your job really does have to come first, and that can’t happen without making certain sacrifices.

You also have to think about whether or not it is even realistic that you would be accepted into the FBI. As you probably already know, bureau jobs are incredibly competitive, and they don’t tend to hand them out to just anyone. Start by looking at your age. If you are between the ages of twenty- three and thirty-six, you are technically eligible for admittance to the FBI.

However, keep in mind that you will need at least a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes an average of four years to earn, plus two to three years of work experience related to your degree. If you are too close to that maximum cut-off age, then a career in the FBI might not even be a real possibility for you.

As unfortunate as that is, it is better to know that upfront rather than wasting huge amounts of time, money, and energy pursuing a career that simply isn’t going to happen in the long run.

You must also consider your own background. Everyone makes mistakes, and that’s okay, but FBI agents can’t be just anyone. If you have any kind of criminal record whatsoever, you are likely going to have a really hard time becoming an FBI agent. While some misdemeanors are okay, their presence can still hurt your chances for FBI acceptance.

If you have a felony, then you can completely forget about it. You even have to think about how good your credit is, something that can be an issue if you took out loans to pay for school especially. It is also a problem if you have had any psychological issues or serious health issues in your lifetime for which you have required treatment.