FBI’s most wanted: college grads

The FBI is looking to recruit graduates with a bachelor’s degree

Story and illustration by Saige Keikkala



Yet another fantastic opportunity for Clackamas Community College students happened for the first time.

On Wednesday, April 6, the Federal Bureau of Investigation visited the college to open its doors to students. If you are studying computer science, engineering, criminology, accounting, law, physical science or language fluency, you are in luck. Especially if you are in language, accounting or science.

The FBI wants you, but requirements are not for the weak hearted. A bachelor’s degree is necessary; three years of full-time work experience inside the field of interest and preferably be between the ages of 23-37. Students also have to be a valid U.S. citizen and have a driver’s license. New agent training takes place in Quantico, Virginia.

“It consists of classroom, practical exercises and scenarios,” said Special Agent Masayo Halpin, who headed the discussion and answered any of the students’ questions. “We actually have a town in Quantico called Hogan’s Alley where we have actors come in and you have to arrest them and react to them.”

Halpin and many other FBI agents agree that the worst day in training is when a student is pepper sprayed in the eyes and made to take down another opponent. Only when the match finishes do they get water for their eyes.

The training lasts for 20 weeks and you are completely cut off from the world. There is no communication to family or friends for five whole months. Once in the FBI, there is always danger. Agents enter a completely new world of constantly carrying a gun, willingness to use deadly force and forced into being available at all hours.

To sweeten the pot, the entrance salary could be $74,000. Clearance is a lengthy process with an extensive background investigation, drug test, medical exam and a polygraph.

“Because everyone has something,” added Halpin.“And the whole point of it is secrets hurt you. Because if you want to come work for the FBI and you have a secret the FBI doesn’t know about, another government can find out about it and they can use it to blackmail you and that’s how you become a spy.”

Once the training and clearance is complete, trainees are sent to any given location in the world without approval or pre-disclosure. It could be in a resident agency, a legal attaché, or work as a special agent depending on the chosen field or training.

“We used to have a joke in Quantico that monkeys would throw darts at a map,” said Halpin. “That’s how they would determine where you would be assigned. I would want New York, you would want LA; but you’d get New York and I’d get LA. It made no sense.”

Academic adviser Enrique Farrera came to the session to learn how to inform students about the opportunity. “We have a lot of students interested in law enforcement field and learning about how the FBI recruits students or potential FBI agents helps me advise students well.”

Kara Leonard, who had organized the presentation, mentioned meeting the FBI in a high school career fair. Leonard said they, “would be interested in coming out and presenting an information session.”

If you missed this session and you’re still itching to live the life of special agent Mulder and Scully from the X-Files, don’t worry. This opportunity might present itself again.
“Yes. Possibly in the future, possibly with other companies and other agencies,” said Leonard.

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