Special Agent (Federal) Salary

Federal Special Agents in the United States take home an average $80K per year. The most influential factor affecting pay for this group is geographic location, though years of experience and the individual firm have a (lesser) impact as well. The majority of workers are highly satisfied with their job. The vast majority (81 percent) of Federal Special Agents who answered the questionnaire are male. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and more than half collect dental insurance. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.
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$48,930 - $125,775
(Median)
$49K
$80K
$130K
MEDIAN: $79,867
10%
50%
90%

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$17.23 - $54.25
(Median)
$17
$29
$54
MEDIAN: $29.00
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
$48,930 - $125,775  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $21,447  
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).
)
$48,712 - $126,185  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 228
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
$17.23 - $54.25  
   
Overtime
$14.68 - $74.50  
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
$0.00 - $21,447  
   
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).
)
$48,712 - $126,185  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 11
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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)


Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) offers the lowest pay in the field with a median salary of just $99K, but on the other end, some employees may earn up to $140K.

Pay by Experience Level for Special Agent (Federal)

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


For many Federal Special Agents, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Salaries for the relatively untried average out to around $65K, but survey participants with five to 10 years of experience earn a significantly higher median of $86K. Federal Special Agents with one to two decades of relevant experience report an average salary of approximately $96K. Federal Special Agents who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $102K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $80,605

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

Home to some of the best pay for Federal Special Agents, Los Angeles offers exceptional salaries, 36 percent above the national average. Federal Special Agents will also find cushy salaries in San Diego (+28 percent) and San Antonio (+22 percent). Location significantly influences compensation, with Boston Federal Special Agents earning much less — 28 percent less — than the national average. Employers also pay below the national average in Atlanta (17 percent lower) and San Francisco (16 percent lower).

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 19%

Mid-Career
up arrow 6%

National Average
$81,000

Entry-Level
up arrow 19%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 22 votes.

Gender

Female
19 %
Male
81 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
23%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
30%
20 years or more
18%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 98%
dental benefits
Dental: 69%
medical benefits
Vision: 58%
dental benefits
None: 2%
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