Becoming a Special Agent

Investigations Division
Office of the Inspector General

The OIG plays an integral role in the Department of Justice and is recognized within and outside the Department for its objective oversight.

A Message from the Inspector General

Thank you for your interest in joining the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Justice. The OIG seeks to promote integrity, efficiency, and effectiveness in Department operations, and improve the operation of the Department in tangible ways.

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The OIG plays an integral role in the Department of Justice and is recognized within and outside the Department for its objective oversight. Our audits, inspections, investigations, and special reviews examine key Department programs and allegations of misconduct by Department employees. Importantly, OIG reviews offer not only an assessment of the program, but also recommendations for improvement.

We are seeking motivated, dedicated, and talented professionals who can help further our mission. If you are ready for a rewarding career, then we encourage you to apply for a position with the OIG.

Who We’re Looking For

The OIG is looking for Special Agents who are highly motivated and dedicated investigators and have law enforcement or investigative experience. Additional factors that will be considered when choosing Special Agent candidates are academic background, analytical ability, oral and written communications skills, maturity, physical stamina, and mental stability.

Many of our Special Agents are seasoned investigators who come to the OIG from other law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, U.S. Secret Service, and other OIGs. Law enforcement salaries are based on the federal general schedule (GS) rates, which are adjusted annually. To view current pay rates, visit the Office of Personnel Management website at Special Agents who live in high-cost cities receive locally-adjusted salaries.

To apply for a position with the OIG, you must be a U.S. citizen. Because you may have access to classified or sensitive information, you must undergo a background investigation and drug testing.

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The Special Agent

Special Agents in the Department of Justice OIG are well-trained, federal employees who have developed excellent investigative skills and expertise. Our Special Agents promote integrity within the Department, help detect and deter waste, fraud, or abuse, and investigate allegations of criminal and serious administrative misconduct against employees, contractors, and grantees of the FBI, DEA, BOP, ATF, USMS, USAO, and other Department of Justice agencies that play a central role in protecting the safety and liberty of all Americans.

Working in the Investigations Division, our Special Agents conduct both individual investigations and sometimes work in teams with other OIG Special Agents. They have statutory law enforcement authority to seek and execute arrest and search warrants, serve subpoenas, perform undercover operations, and carry firearms. They also investigate allegations of serious administrative misconduct. They are responsible for handling cases from start to finish, whether criminal charges, administrative sanctions, or exoneration is appropriate.

Our emphasis on broad and diverse backgrounds ensures that our Special Agents are among the best law enforcement professionals in the federal community. They utilize their law enforcement, analytical, and critical thinking skills when performing sensitive investigations. Throughout their career at the OIG, they are provided with expert training to keep their investigative skills sharp.

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Investigations conducted by our Special Agents lead to arrests, criminal indictments, convictions or guilty pleas, and administrative actions against employees, contractors, grantees, or civilians. The important work of our Special Agents has resulted in the following actions:

The Investigations Division

The Investigations Division investigates allegations of bribery, fraud, abuse, civil rights violations, and violations of other laws and procedures made against Department of Justice employees, contractors, and grantees, as well as civilians who attempt to subvert a Department program. These investigations can be criminal or administrative. We are responsible for developing cases for criminal prosecution and civil or administrative action. In addition, we make recommendations for corrective action when an investigation identifies a weakness in an internal Department policy, practice, procedure, or program.

Annually, the Investigations Division receives more than 7,500 complaints of misconduct and opens approximately 400 investigations. We analyze each allegation and investigate the most serious, referring others to the individual Department components’ internal affairs offices. Many investigations lead to prosecutive or administrative actions, such as criminal indictments, arrests, terminations, and disciplinary action. In addition, OIG investigations result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, recoveries, seizures, and civil penalties.

The Investigations Division has field and area offices located throughout the United States (see map below).

Map of United States highlighting Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, New York, Miami, and Washington D.C., Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, Detroit, El Paso, Houston, San Francisco and Tucson.

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Office of the Inspector General

In 1989, the OIG was created in the Department of Justice to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the Department’s programs and practices. The OIG is an independent unit in the Department of Justice, a characteristic that is crucial to our ability to objectively pursue criminal and administrative misconduct, fraud, waste, and abuse, and to promote efficiency and effectiveness throughout the Department of Justice.

As one of the premier federal inspector general offices, the Department of Justice OIG conducts audits, evaluations, reviews, and investigations of some of the federal government’s highest profile and most important agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAO). Each year, our office identifies millions of dollars in wasted funds; makes recommendations to save millions of dollars more; issues audit, inspection, and special reports that contain important findings; and conducts hundreds of investigations that lead to arrests, administrative actions, and criminal prosecutions.

The Federal Advantage

As an OIG Special Agent, you are eligible for a generous benefits package that can include:

For More Information

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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Inspector General
Office of Human Resources
1425 New York Ave., NW
Suite 7000
Washington, DC, 20005
Phone: (202) 616-4501
Fax: (202) 305-9755
On the Web:

The federal government is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Department of Justice prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status.