For Federal Special Agents, annual average wages total $77K per year. Residence is the main element affecting pay for this group — the company and tenure are driving factors as well. Federal Special Agents who took the survey are largely men, dominating at 84 percent. Almost all enjoy medical while a fair number get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to the larger part. Most Federal Special Agents report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this rundown comes from respondents who completed PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$49,622 - $129,395
(Median)
$50K
$77K
$130K
MEDIAN: $76,873
10%
50%
90%

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$17.52 - $53.35
(Median)
$18
$31
$53
MEDIAN: $31.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$49,622 - $129,395  
   
Bonus
$592 - $19,037  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$49,503 - $129,650  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 195
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$17.52 - $53.35  
   
Overtime
$11.74 - $65.56  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$592 - $19,037  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$49,503 - $129,650  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 13
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Job Description for Special Agent (Federal)

A special agent (federal) is a law enforcement specialist who engages in the enforcement and investigation of violations of federal statutes. As these investigations and apprehensions can be highly involved and of clear and immediate danger to the general public, agencies who hire special agents are highly selective of their personnel. Special agents are also often detailed to teams and task forces revolving around a fairly tight focus.

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Special Agent (Federal) Tasks

  • Record interviews using cameras or other means.
  • Interview suspects and witnesses to obtain and verify information.
  • Search for and collect evidence, such as fingerprints, DNA samples and computer records.
  • Identify case issues and evidence based on complaints, charges or allegations of violations.
  • Prepare detailed reports of findings.

Special Agent (Federal) Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Special Agent (Federal)


The biggest paychecks can be found at U.S. Department of Homeland Security — the median salary there is $105K.

Pay by Experience Level for Special Agent (Federal)

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Experience and income seem to be closely related; in general, the survey respondents who had worked for more years reported higher incomes. Average salaries for inexperienced employees average out to around $64K, but folks who have five to 10 years of experience earn a higher median of $75K. Federal Special Agents claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $97K. Respondents who claim more than 20 years of experience may encounter pay that doesn't quite reflect their extensive experience; these veterans report a median income of around $98K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $77,772

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For those looking to make money, Federal Special Agents in Dallas enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 45 percent above the national average. Federal Special Agents will also find cushy salaries in Los Angeles (+29 percent) and San Antonio (+26 percent). Federal Special Agents in Boston make 25 percent less than the national average, proving that location is a major factor in pay. Employers pay around 23 percent less in Atlanta and 16 percent less in Detroit, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Special Agent (Federal) Advice

What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?

Special Agent (Federal) in Seattle:
"Never give up."
Stay strong both mentally and physically. Be a team player but be ready to lead the team. Government hirers sporadically and years could pass before your offered a career. This is normal so don't be discouraged.

Special Agent (Federal) in Fort Worth:
"Learn to write."
Writing skills are very important when conducting interviews and case writing to be clear, concise and legible.

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Experience Affects Special Agent (Federal) Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 26%

Experienced
up arrow 25%

National Average
$78,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 3%

Entry-Level
up arrow 18%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 14 votes.

Gender

Female
16 %
Male
84 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
27%
5-9 years
22%
10-19 years
29%
20 years or more
18%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 97%
dental benefits
Dental: 72%
medical benefits
Vision: 57%
dental benefits
None: 3%
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