An average Federal Special Agent in the United States can expect to take home roughly $76K annually. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is the company, followed by geography and experience level. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. The vast majority of Federal Special Agents (84 percent) who took the survey are men. Job satisfaction for Federal Special Agents is high. The figures in this rundown are based on the results of PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$48,287 - $130,577
$48K
$76K
$130K
MEDIAN: $76,291
10%
50%
90%

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$17.11 - $54.63
$17
$30
$55
MEDIAN: $30
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
$48,287 - $130,577  
   
Bonus
$1,300 - $19,247  
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).
)
$46,920 - $130,971  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 187
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
$17.11 - $54.63  
   
Overtime
$11.63 - $65.78  
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
$1,300 - $19,247  
   
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).
)
$46,920 - $130,971  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 18 Jan 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 10

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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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

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

Special Agent (Federal) Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Special Agent (Federal)


For Federal Special Agents, comfortable salaries can be found at U.S. Department of Homeland Security; in fact, median earnings sit around $105K, the highest in the area.

Pay by Experience Level for Special Agent (Federal)

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


Experience is an important factor influencing the compensation of Federal Special Agents. Those who have worked for fewer than five years take home a median salary of $62K, and workers with five to 10 years of experience earn a higher $75K on average. After working for 10 to 20 years, Federal Special Agents make a median salary of $92K. Individuals who report more than two decades of experience seem to make only slightly more than folks in the 10-to-20 year range; the more senior group sees median earnings in the comparatively modest ballpark of $100K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $76,801

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

For Federal Special Agents, busy Los Angeles offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 30 percent above the national average. Federal Special Agents can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like San Antonio (+28 percent), San Francisco (+21 percent), Dallas (+16 percent), and Chicago (+8 percent). The lowest-paying market is Boston, which sits 24 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Atlanta and Detroit are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 22 percent lower and 15 percent lower, respectively.

Special Agent (Federal) Advice

Q: 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.

Key Stats for Special Agent (Federal)

Gender

Female
16 %
Male
84 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 16 votes.
Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
27%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
30%
20 years or more
17%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Special Agent (Federal) Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 30%

Experienced
up arrow 20%

National Average
$77,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 2%

Entry-Level
up arrow 19%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 16 votes.

Gender

Female
16 %
Male
84 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
27%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
30%
20 years or more
17%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 97%
dental benefits
Dental: 73%
vision benefits
Vision: 60%
dental benefits
None: 3%
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