A Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) agent is considered one of the most interesting and rewarding careers in law enforcement. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is a specialized law enforcement agency that has more than 1200 special agents in its service to safeguard the United States Navy and Marine Corps.
Although NCIS agents work for the Navy and Marine Corps., it is not a requirement that they enlist in the Navy or Marine Corps. Furthermore, an NCIS agent does not need to have any previous military or law enforcement experience. However, it is favorable if a candidate has military experience.
In order to be a successful NCIS special agent, an individual must be able resourceful and handle a wide range of criminal, counterterrorism, and counterintelligence investigations. An NCIS special agent must also be willing to travel all over the world to perform investigations.
What are the Qualifications to Become a NCIS Agent?
According to the National Criminal Investigative Service, there are certain qualifications that are required to be an NCIS agent:
- An individual must have a valid driver’s license.
- An individual must be a United States born citizen or naturalized United States citizen.
- An individual must have an accredited baccalaureate degree.
- An individual must pass a background suitability screening.
- An individual should be able to attain and uphold a Top Secret security clearance.
- An individual must have vision that is correctable to 20/20, as well as normal color vision.
If an individual meets all of the qualification requirements, then he or she must be willing to take stations anywhere in the United States or overseas.
What is the Application Process to Become an NCIS Agent?
If an individual is interested in becoming an NCIS agent, then he or she will need to complete the application process. The usual time it takes to become an NCIS special agent is six to nine months. When an individual is ready to begin the application process, he or she should first check for available openings at USAJobs, which is the website where all open positions will be posted. If there are any open positions for NCIS agents, then an individual can submit his or her application through the USAJobs website. If an applicant has previous military experience, then he or she must submit a Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.
Candidates will go through a background check during the application process, which will include a credit check and a criminal history check. At this point in the application process, the applicant’s family and friends will be interviewed as well as neighbors and former co-workers. There will also be a verification of employment history at this step in the process. At this point in the process a personal security instigation is administered, so a Top Secret security clearance can be obtained.
What is the Training Process for NCIS Agents?
When an individual is hired to become an NCIS agent, he or she must complete the Criminal Investigators Training Program, which is located in Glynco, GA at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. If an individual is hired who served as a federal special agent in the past, then he or she will not have to complete the training.
Individuals in the Special Agent Basic Training Program will receive training in report writing, investigating process, defensive tactics, handgun training, and federal laws and regulations. There will be on-going training throughout a special agent’s career with the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, which will possibly include counterintelligence, crime scene processing, interrogation, hostage negotiations, and forensics. NCIS special agents will also receive training in language studies, countermeasures, polygraph, procurement fraud, technical surveillance, and unarmed self-defense.
What are the Typical Duties of an NCIS Agent?
The duties of an NCIS special agent include the investigation of felony criminal cases that are committed within the United States Navy and Marine Corps., but an NCIS agent will not investigate crimes including desertion, which are only related to the military. An NCIS agent will investigate crimes, which include:
When an NCIS special agent is performing criminal investigations, he or she has the authority to arrest military and civilians who are suspected of criminal activities.
What is the Average Salary for an NCIS Special Agent?
The Investigative and Protective Services unit administers pay rates, which is part of the Department of Defense National Security Personnel System. The first Investigative (YK) band, which is the beginning salary for NCIS special agents, is a base salary of $26,858. However, the first Investigative (YK) band increases to $65,371. The second Investigative (YK) band pay grade ranges between $40,695 and $93,175. An NCIS special agent will attain pay raises based on promotions as well as experience.
NCIS special agents are also able to obtain Law Enforcement Availability (LEAP). LEAP is an opportunity that offers 25% of an agent’s base salary, which includes the overtime that is common when an NCIS special agent is performing a criminal investigation.
NCIS Internship Programs
If an individual is considering a career as an NCIS special agent, then the NCIS internship program can give him or her access to what it is like to serve as a special agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. The internship opportunity is a voluntary and non-paid program. The internship program takes place at the NCIS Headquarters as well as various field offices. There are roughly 150 internship opportunities offered to students each year.
The National Criminal Investigative Services stated the internship opportunity is available to college juniors, seniors, and graduate students. An intern’s interests and experience will determine what department will be assigned, which can include:
- Forensic Sciences
- Criminal Intelligence
- Strategic Planning
- Computer Crimes
- Personnel Services and Operations
- Government Relations and Public Affairs
- Information Systems
- Criminal Investigations
In order to be considered for the internship program, a candidate must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and must be enrolled at least half-time in school. However, potential interns who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement may submit two reference letters from professors with a statement explaining the reason for a low GPA.