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FBI SPECIAL AGENT PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

Serving as an FBI Special Agent is a demanding job. A Special Agent is often placed in situations
that make great demands on his/her physical capacity. In these instances, physical fitness is often
the factor that spells the difference between success and failure - even life and death. Therefore, all
candidates for the position must be in excellent physical condition with no disabilities which would
interfere in firearm use, raids, or defensive tactics. All Special Agent candidates must be able to
pass several tests to gain admittance to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

• Physical Fitness Test


• Vision Requirements
• Hearing Requirements
• Medical Review

Physical Fitness Test


To ensure that FBI Special Agents are fully prepared to meet their responsibilities as leaders in the
law enforcement community, applicants must pass a standardised Physical Fitness Test. The test
consists of four mandatory events that are administered in the following order:
1. Maximum number of sit-ups in one minute
2. Timed 300-meter sprint
3. Maximum number of push-ups (untimed)
4. Timed one and one-half mile (1.5 mile) run

Applicants are required to conduct a Physical Fitness Test (PFT) self assessment using the proper
PFT protocol prior to the Phase I exam. The results of the self assessment must be reported on the
PFT Self Evaluation Form.
This form should be completed by all applicants and submitted to the processing field office during
the Phase I exam. Although a passing PFT self assessment is not required to take the Phase I exam,
no applicant will be considered for Phase II testing until he/she has submitted a PFT Self Evaluation
Form which reflects a passing score. An official PFT will be administered by an FBI representative
after an applicant successfully passes Phase II.
An official PFT is administered to a Special Agent applicant at his/her processing FBI field office
shortly after the applicant has passed Phase II testing. An applicant will not be eligible for
admission into a New Agents' Training Class until he/she has passed the PFT. An applicant will
have a total of three opportunities to pass the PFT: the first will be shortly after passing Phase II
testing. If an applicant fails the first PFT, he/she must retest within 30-90 days. If an applicant fails
the second PFT, he/she must retest within 90-120 days. An applicant's processing will be
discontinued if he/she fails to retest within the required time frames. If a passing score is not
achieved on any of the three PFTs, the applicant will not be eligible for the Special Agent position
in the future. There is a strictly defined scoring scale and protocol for each event. In order to pass
the PFT, Special Agent applicants must achieve a minimum cumulative score of twelve points with
at least one point in each of the four events. (The PFT for Tactical Recruiting Program applicants
consists of five events and an applicant must achieve twenty points to pass.) Applicants who pass
the official PFT are considered sufficiently fit to safely and successfully complete the physical
training and defensive tactics portion of New Agents' Training at the FBI Academy.
New Agent Trainees admitted to the FBI Academy must re-pass the Physical Fitness Test in their
first week at the Academy. The test, scoring scale, and protocol are exactly the same, except a fifth
event is added - standard pull-ups. The score on pull-ups is not used for pass/fail purposes, but is
used by the FBI Training Division for fitness awards, including the 50-point award. Please note:
some Field Offices may administer the pull-ups test during the Field Office Physical Fitness Test.
Before attempting any of these events, please review the FBI's Physical Training Guidelines in
order to maximize performance and avoid injuries.

Vision Requirements
Special Agent candidates should possess uncorrected visual acuity no worse than 20/200 (Snellen)
in each eye, with correction to 20/20 in one eye and at least 20/40 in the other eye. Individuals
unable to meet the 20/200 minimum uncorrected acuity may be considered if they provide medical
documentation of use of soft contact lenses for at least one year without significant problems or
adverse events. If an applicant has had laser eye corrective surgery, a six-month waiting period is
required prior to beginning New Agents' Training at the FBI Academy.

The applicant must also provide evidence of complete healing by an ophthalmology clinical
evaluation. Policy for color vision allows continuation of applicant processing if those who fail
initial color vision screening are able to successfully complete the Farnsworth D-15 color vision
test.

Hearing Requirements
Special Agent applicants must take an audiometer test and meet specified hearing standards. Please
note that no applicant will be considered who exceeds any of the following:
a) average hearing loss of 25 decibels (ANSI) at 1000, 2000, and 3000 Hertz
b) single reading of 35 decibels at 1000, 2000, and 3000 Hertz
c) single reading of 35 decibels at 500 Hertz
d) single reading of 45 decibels at 4000 Hertz

Medical Review
An applicant's medical history will be reviewed thoroughly and a determination will be made
whether any medical issue (or condition) could potentially affect the applicant's ability to perform
the basic functions of the Special Agent position. This medical review ensures that each candidate's
situation is reviewed on an individual basis. If you have undergone a particular surgical procedure
(e.g., radial keratotomy) and/or have some preexisting medical condition (e.g., hypertension), this
will require careful review during the physical examination process. Issues/conditions that surface
during the Medical Reviews may delay the final processing for employment. Although an
applicant's doctor provides information about the applicant's medical condition, it is the FBI's Chief
Medical Officer who decides if the applicant is physically able to perform the duties of the job. This
decision is based on the review of the applicant's doctor's findings and the FBI's knowledge of the
requirements of the job. The FBI is committed to treating all applicants fairly and equitably in all
aspects of our hiring/selection process.

FBI SPECIAL AGENT PHYSICAL TRAINING GUIDELINES


The Physical Fitness Test measures muscular strength and endurance (sit-ups, push-ups & pull-ups),
anaerobic power (300-meter sprint), and aerobic power (1.5 mile run) with limited amounts of
recovery between events. To best prepare, applicants should adhere to the following principles of
exercise training to maximize their results and to avoid injuries.

Exercise Training Principles


Overload
To increase physical fitness, one must exercise at a level that challenges the body beyond its current
capacity. Overload is often expressed in terms of training frequency (how often), training intensity
(how demanding), and training duration (how long).

Progression
For continued fitness improvements, the overload must be gradually increased.

Specificity
To best prepare for the Physical Fitness Test, applicants should devote most of their training time to
sprints and sustained runs, as well as sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups performed to protocol.
Applicants should also avoid training each event in isolation.

Reversibility
If physical training ceases, fitness levels will return to pre-training levels. Use it or lose it.
Warm Up & Cool Down
Each workout should begin with a dynamic warm-up period of at least five to ten minutes. This will
increase core body temperature, lubricate the joints, and prime the nervous system for the workout
that follows. The warm up should include moderate intensity aerobic activities (i.e., cycling,
jogging), and limited amounts of the specific movements to be trained that day (i.e., push-ups, sit-
ups). You should already be sweating before the workout begins!
Once the workout is completed, perform five to ten minutes of moderate physical activity as a cool
down and transition back to rest.
Sample Workout Program
The FBI recommends that all applicants follow a disciplined workout program in preparation for
the Physical Fitness Test. To assist you with this a sample Physical Training Planner is below. The
Physical Training Planner includes four different types of workout programs in addition to the
warm-up/cool-down:
• Muscular Strength & Endurance
• Aerobic Power
• Anaerobic Power
• Circuit Training

Muscular Strength & Endurance


This type of workout will increase a muscle group's ability to exert force and resist fatigue. Since
strength and endurance is specific to certain muscle groups, we strongly recommend that you
perform push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups in conformance with the criteria used to score the FBI
Physical Fitness Test, as your primary strength and endurance exercises.

Aerobic Power
This type of workout will increase the capacity of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and
musculoskeletal systems to deliver and utilize oxygen for energy. Sustained running should be your
primary mode of aerobic training. Exertion should be heavy throughout the workout (i.e., you
should be working hard enough that it is impossible to carry on a conversation).

Anaerobic Power
This type of workout will increase the body’s capacity to perform high-intensity work and should
consist of short bursts (30–90 seconds) of maximum exertion. We recommend sprint running, as
this will best prepare you for the 300-meter sprint on the Physical Fitness Test.

Circuit Training
Circuit training combines elements of aerobic, anaerobic, and muscular strength and endurance
exercises with limited rest periods. Rather than always training for these fitness components in
isolation, we recommend that applicants perform at least one circuit workout per week to prepare
for the multi-stage Physical Fitness Test. Listed below is a sample circuit workout:
1. Run for 90 seconds
2. Maximum sit-ups in 30 seconds
3. Run for 90 seconds
4. Maximum continuous push-ups
5. Run for 90 seconds
6. Maximum continuous pull-ups
7. Run for 90 seconds
8. Maximum body weight squats or lunges in 30 seconds

Note: Repeat entire circuit three to five times with one minute of rest in between repetitions.
General Training Guidelines
The general guidelines for training to improve muscular strength & endurance, aerobic power, and
anaerobic power are provided in the table below. Applicants should use these guidelines to help
structure their workouts appropriately. Special consideration should be given to circuit training as
this type of workout best replicates the multi-stage Physical Fitness Test.

Muscular Strength & Endurance Anaerobic Power Aerobic Power


2-3 days per week;
Frequency 1-2 days per week 3-5 days per week
non-consecutive days
3-5 sets of max repetitions. 3-10 repetitions of Heavy exertion -
Intensity Add resistance for 30-90 second sprints; too difficult to carry
sit-ups & push-ups maximum exertion on a conversation
30-60 seconds of rest Rest twice as long as
Time 20-30 minutes
between sets exertion

PHYSICAL TRAINING PLANNER

The Physical Training Planner provides applicants with a disciplined workout program in
preparation for the Physical Fitness Test. As you increase in strength, endurance, and power you
will be able to progressively increase your speed, repetitions or intensity for each workout.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

Warm-up Warm-up Warm-up Rest Warm-up Warm-up Rest

Muscular Aerobic Circuit Muscular Aerobic


Strength & 30-min Workout Strength & 30-min
Endurance Endurance

Aerobic Anaerobic
20-min (Spints)

Cool-down Cool-down Cool-down Cool-down Cool-down