How Much Does an FBI Agent Make?

When we think of FBI agents, images of suspense, thrill, and high-stake investigations often spring to mind. However, beyond the Hollywood portrayal, a career as an FBI agent involves dedication, hard work, and specialized skills. As public servants, FBI agents work tirelessly to protect American citizens and uphold federal laws. Naturally, many are curious to understand the financial incentives of this challenging career. In this article, we delve into the earnings of an FBI agent and factors that influence their pay.

Base Salary

As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, FBI agents’ salaries are based on the U.S. government’s General Schedule (GS) pay scale. Most agents start their careers at the GS-10 level, which, in 2021, ranged from $49,508 to $64,366 annually. As agents gain experience, they can advance through the GS ranks, up to GS-13. At the GS-13 level, the salary range in 2021 was approximately $78,681 to $102,288.

However, it is important to note that these figures might have changed since my last update, and it is advisable to consult the latest General Schedule pay scale for the most current information.

Locality Pay

FBI agents often receive additional pay based on the geographic location of their assignment. This is known as locality pay and is meant to compensate for differences in the cost of living and other factors. For example, an agent assigned to a high-cost area such as New York City or San Francisco may receive a higher salary compared to one stationed in a lower-cost region.

Availability Pay

Due to the demanding nature of the job, FBI agents are often required to work beyond the regular 40-hour workweek. To compensate for the additional hours, they receive “availability pay,” which amounts to a 25% increase over their base salary. This ensures that agents are adequately compensated for the irregular and often long hours associated with their job.

Bonuses and Overtime

FBI agents may also be eligible for bonuses based on their performance, as well as overtime pay. Overtime is compensated differently than availability pay and is specific to actual hours worked beyond the standard workweek.


Besides their salaries, FBI agents receive comprehensive benefits, including health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. These benefits are comparable to other federal government positions.


In conclusion, the salary of an FBI agent is influenced by various factors including experience, geographic location, and the number of hours worked. As public servants working in a demanding field, their compensation includes not just a base salary, but additional pay to account for the nature of their work and the cost of living in their assigned location. With a competitive salary and benefits package, a career as an FBI agent can be financially rewarding while also offering the satisfaction of serving the public and maintaining the safety and security of the nation.