Intelligence Analyst: Salary and Career Training Facts

Intelligence analysts gather and parse information to predict criminal and other activity for local, state and national law enforcement agencies. Find out degree options, available training, and salary for a career as an intelligence analyst. Schools offering Criminal Justice & Security degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Intelligence analysis is an expanding field that encompasses a variety of educational backgrounds and industries. As an intelligence analyst, you piece together information from multiple sources to learn about the activities of organized criminal organizations, serial killers, terrorists, drug lords and other subjects. After a highly rigorous and selective application process, recruits undergo extensive training in investigative techniques, operations, technological skills, and physical fitness.

Degree Options BA in Criminal Justice, BS in Finance, Computer Science, Criminal Investigation, Physical Science, Cultural and Political Science, Engineering or Language
Training Options Internship, Certificates in Crime Patterns, Statistical Analysis, Research Techniques and Report Writing
Base Salary $33,979 - $44,176

Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, The Office of Personnel Management

What Skills Do I Need to Be an Intelligence Analyst?

You may apply critical thinking to generate hypotheses to determine crime problems, patterns and trends. Intelligence analysts work in a variety of fields, such as science, language, business, and law enforcement. As an intelligence analyst, you may work for local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and organizations, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) or Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

What Degree Programs Prepare Me for a Career in Intelligence?

Most law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, require that agents have a bachelor's degree. A degree program in criminal justice includes coursework essential to this field, such as topics in intelligence, problem solving, critical thinking and report writing. Bachelor's degree programs in finance, computer science, criminal investigation, physical science, cultural and political science, engineering and language may also help prepare you for a career with the FBI.

What Training Do I Need?

While bachelor's degree programs in intelligence analysis are rare, you can find schools that offer this field as a minor or certificate program. In these certificate programs, you learn about crime patterns, statistical analysis, research techniques and report writing. Some certificate programs are available for both law enforcement personnel and a broader range of professionals and students.

Intelligence analysts are recruited directly after completing college as well as years into a successful career. Relevant internships and entry-level roles as intelligence analysts and law enforcement personnel can offer invaluable firsthand experience and expertise in building your career. If you are interested in working for an agency like the FBI, consider working in and training to become a specialist in one of the following areas:

  • Foreign languages
  • International studies
  • Engineering
  • Information technology
  • Law enforcement
  • Finance
  • Political science
  • Terrorism studies

Having a specialty can help you get recruited and increase your base salary. Once you have been selected for an intelligence analyst role, you can expect extensive preliminary and on-the-job training for your specific department's responsibilities.

What Kind of Salary Can I Expect?

According to the FBI, individuals seeking an intelligence analyst position who do not have experience generally enter the FBI at a GS-7 pay grade, which has a base salary of about $34,662. The FBI adjusts this base salary between 12.5% and 28.7% based on cost of living in your area. You may be eligible for a higher pay grade based on military rank and experience, advanced education like a master's or PhD, or exceptional achievements.

Intelligence analysts have a promotion potential of GS-14, which offers a base salary between $84,697 and $110,104. At any pay scale level, intelligence analysts are eligible for an Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime bonus of 10-25% of their salary. They also receive a bonus for hazardous duty and being on call 24-7. This Law Enforcement Availability Pay (LEAP) bonus adds 25% onto the base salary every year.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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