ST. LOUIS, Mo. — College seniors who aspire to work for the FBI are being given a rare opportunity to apply for entry-level positions before they even graduate.

Special agent William Woods with the St. Louis division tells Missourinet that students are usually required to have their degrees before they can apply.

“They (students) don’t want to wait for a year for a background check to be done. We were losing good applicants. So the FBI decided, you know what, let’s take a chance and let’s start this application process earlier,” says Woods. “They still have to get that degree to get the job, but it allows them to step into a job right out of college.”

The bureau’s Collegiate Hiring Initiative includes professional support jobs, like gathering intelligence and evidence. The FBI is hiring nearly 1,000 such positions nationwide.

“There are a large number of jobs that exist to support the investigations that are done here at the FBI,” says Woods. “Of course, once somebody gets their foot in the door, they can work towards obtaining a job, if their ultimate goal were to be a special agent or intelligence analyst, those are positions that people generally work their way up to.”

Seniors must have a minimum 2.95 GPA and must be a U.S. citizen. They must also pass a background check.

The FBI is also hiring about 700 full-time paid interns nationwide this fiscal year. College juniors and seniors can apply. Woods says about half of the FBI’s interns end up working full-time for the FBI after they graduate.

Collegiate Hiring Initiative applications must be completed by Friday by going to

(Alisa Nelson, Missourinet)