Citizens Academy

Citizens Academy

The Citizens Academy is a stimulating program that gives media executives, business, religious, civic, and community leaders a chance to get an inside look at the FBI and to meet the dedicated men and women of the FBI. During the Academy, students participate in firearms demonstrations and gain insight into the structure and operation of an FBI Field Office; obtain an overview of the legal basis for the FBI’s jurisdiction and issues relating to congressional oversight; and learn about the services the FBI provides to local and state law enforcement agencies.

Want to find out first hand how the FBI works? Hear how the Bureau tracks down spies and terrorists? Learn how to collect and preserve evidence? See what it is like to fire a weapon and put yourself in the shoes of a Special Agent making a split-second, life-or-death decision?

If you are a leader in your community, you just might be able to do that and more through an FBI Citizens Academy

Want to Join the Academy?

The Chicago Division hosts one Academy per year and is six weeks in length.

Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a community, civic, religious, business leader or a media executive;
  • Must be 21 years old (with no prior felony arrests or convictions);
  • Must live or work with the jurisdiction of the Chicago FBI office;
  • Must consent and pass a limited background investigation;
  • Must sign a non-disclosure agreement;
  • SAC approval.


These are the most common questions about citizens academy.

Business, civic, and religious leaders. You must be at least 18 years old (with no prior felony convictions) and must live and work in the area covered by the field office sponsoring the academy.
Special Agents in Charge of a field office, senior managers, and senior agent experts.
Classes generally meet 6 times for three hours each session. Each session has around 20-30 students.
The Chicago Division hosts one Academy each year.
  • Practical problems involving evidence collection and preservation.
  • FBI jurisdiction and congressional oversight.
  • Structure and operation of FBI field offices and resident agencies.
  • Fingerprint, forensic, technology, training, and other services
  • Policies and issues: ethics, discipline, communications, civil rights, and criminal trends.
  • Firearms training.

Trip to Washington DC

The FBI Chicago Citizens Academy Alumni (FBICCAAA) now have an opportunity to take a "field trip" to Washington, DC and Quantico, VA. Alumni will be able to meet and greet FBI Director or his executive designates, take a tour of the Strategic Information and Operations Center (SIOC) at FBIHQ, as well as a tour of both the FBI Academy and FBI Laboratory. This opportunity is only afforded to graduates of the Academy on a yearly basis.