FBI Agent Salary

The personal choice to become a FBI agent could lead to an exciting career. The determination, resolve, to progress through FBI trainings, instruction, and work experience will enhance an individual’s skill set, knowledge, and an increased ability to serve ones country to their best ability. An FBI special agent surely is one of the most rewarding careers within criminal justice careers.

A FBI agent’s salary depends on two major elements: grades and steps. Grades are a vertical increase in job position, duties, and responsibilities. Steps are a horizontal increase in pay, while job duties, position, and responsibilities remain the same. There are a total of 15 grade levels a FBI special agent may be promoted to, while there are 10 horizontal steps. 1 Each potential employee will be determined by their education, their professional experience, their skill set and knowledge as to what grade level they began as a FBI agent.

FBI Grade Level Increase

In order to access a vertical grade increase the individual must have been at the previous grade level for at least one year. For example, a FBI agent who is satisfied with grade level 1, and has been with the FBI for over 20+ years:

  • Beginning Salary (General Schedule Increase): $16.352
  • Step 10, 20+ years (General Schedule Increase): $20,4050

In comparison, a FBI agent who isn’t satisfied with grade level 1 and is promoted to a grade level 10 and has been with the FBI for over 20+ years will potentially be earning $54,649. If an individual pursues a promotion up to a grade 15, after 20+ they may potentially be earning up to $118,957. 1 The results however will vary due to locality, bonuses, danger pay, overtime pay, grade level entry, and other allowances provided by the Federal Government.

To provide more details regarding the general schedule increase in salary a FBI special agent may receive, review the list items below: 1

  • Grade 1, Step 1 – Step 10: $16.352 – $20,450
  • Grade 3, Step 1 – Step 10: $20,060 – $26,081
  • Grade 5, Step 1 – Step 10: $25,195 – $32,755
  • Grade 7, Step 1 – Step 10: $31,209 – $40,569
  • Grade 9, Step 1 – Step 10: $38,175 – $49,632
  • Grade 11, Step 1 – Step 10: $46,189 – $60,049
  • Grade 13, Step 1 – Step 10: $65,832 – $118,957
  • Grade 15, Step 1 – Step 10: $91,507 – $118,957

FBI Agent Salary by Employer Type
There are several different levels of employers that you can work for, and some tend to pay more than others. Listed below are some of the salaries based on employer types at a general schedule pay increase:

  • State and Local Government: $39,375 – $129,517 per year 2
  • Federal Government: $43,441 – $118,957 per year 1

FBI Agent Salary by Location

When FBI agents are designated to specific area considered “high-cost offices” the agent may receive a locality pay increase. Some of these high-cost office states may also provide bonuses, danger pay, overtime pay, availability pay, and other allowances which ultimately increase the salary of the FBI agent. Check out the list below to see what FBI agents usually make in the provided state from Grade 1, Step 1 to Grade 15, Step 10: 1 (Dallas, Texas is provided by payscale.com who specifies they have “collected salary and career data from more than 35 million people, covering 12,000 job titles and 1,100 distinct industries in 150 countries.” Reviewed January 28th,2013.)

  • Washington, District of Columbia: $19,214 – $139,774 per year
  • Northern Virginia: $$19,214 – $139,774 per year
  • Dallas Texas: $60,936 – $104,008 per year (payscale.com)
  • New York: $20,108 – $143,000 per year
  • California, Los Angeles – Long Beach-Riverside: $20,142 – $143,000 per year

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  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Citing Websites.” Salary Table 2006-GS. Effective date: January 2006. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://archive.opm.gov/oca/06tables/pdf/saltbl.pdf
  2. U.S. Office of Personal Management, “Citing Websites.” SALARY TABLE 2012-GS – Rates Frozen at 2010 Levels. Effective date: January 2012. U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice. http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/2012/general-schedule/gs.pdf