Once on board with MSM, our Federal Background Investigations (FedBI) contracts mandate that MSM must provide some level of training to all investigators working FedBI contracts for MSM, regardless of experience and regardless of training provided by other vendors. Your specific FedBI training category is determined by the MSM Training Department based on your prior FedBI training status and experience.

There are three (3) training categories, CAT-IA and CAT-IB (Experienced), and CAT-II (Entry Level/New Investigators):

CAT-IA and CAT-IB Training: These training categories apply to those individuals with recent FedBI experience only.

  • CAT-IA and CAT-IB training criteria is based on FedBI training and experience, the type of active FedBI credentials you currently hold, or the type of credentials held within most recent two (2) years, with regard to the respective individual FedBI contracts currently serviced by MSM.
  • Example: If you currently hold active credentials, or have held credentials within the last two (2) years, for one or more of the individual FedBI contracts currently serviced by MSM, you would be considered CAT-IA for each MSM FedBI contract for which you currently hold credentials.
  • For those MSM contracts for which you don’t hold credentials, you would be required to complete the applicable CAT-IB training and be compliant with the National Training Standards (NTS) for federal background investigators before being processed for issuance of credentials for that specific contract.
  • CAT-IA and CAT-IB training are both web-based, are designed to be no more than 40-hour self-paced training. However, depending on individual knowledge/experience and depth of review, can be completed in as little as one (1) day.

CAT-II (NTS/Entry Level): This training category applies to Individuals with no FedBI experience, those with no FedBI experience within the last two (2) years, and those whose training and experience otherwise does not meet NTS requirements. NTS/CAT-II training consist of the following:

Phase I:  Remote Based Training

This phase consists of remote training designed to prepare you for the in-house elements of Phase II.

Phase IA/Week 1: 40 Hours Remote Self Paced: Phase IA incorporates a review of the OPM Investigators Handbook, federal regulations/guidance, as well as a review of 10 online lessons. This phase is self-paced and self-directed, however instructor assistance is available should you have any questions or concerns. The training MUST be completed within the one week period.

The end of Phase IA will consist of a 40 question knowledge check.  This check is open-note and open-book and must be completed with an 80% or greater prior to continuing onto Phase IB.

Phase IB/Week 2: 40 Hours Remote Mandatory Daily Webinars: Phase IB students will participate in a series of instructor led teleconference and webinar sessions which will cover many of the investigative basics.  The remote classroom training will begin at a pre-set time each day and will require about 6 – 8 hours of training each day.  Students will be provided teleconference and webinar instructions ahead of time. Phase IB concludes with a 35 question knowledge check.  This check is also open-note and open-book and must be completed with an 80% or greater prior to continuing onto Phase II.

Phase II: Resident/In-House Training

Phase II/Weeks 3 and 4: 80 Hours: Phase II will be conducted on-site at a pre-arranged training location.  This training will be instructor led classroom delivered training. Phase II will be held from Monday through Saturday on the first week and Monday through Thursday on the second week (Sunday off in between).  Class days will generally run from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm each day with the final day usually being a half-day.  A majority of this portion of training will be based on mock interviews and role-play scenarios and additional agency specific requirements.  Students should be prepared for an intense but rewarding program.  Homework time may be required on many days for both the remote and in-house portions.  It is essential that participants are present for all classroom time and complete homework and assigned tasks on time.  Phase II will also incorporate practical evaluations on interview technique and report writing.  The final examination is based on final mock interview evaluations with a portion of the exam also being a written knowledge. A final score of 80% must be achieved to pass Phase II and qualify for Phase III, Field Mentoring.

Phase III:  Field Mentoring

After successful completion of the classroom based training, participants will be issued credentials and allowed to work live cases under supervision of a field mentor. Candidates must complete at a minimum:

  • One (1) Subject Interview
  • Two (2) Reference Interviews
  • Two (2) Record Interviews

Mentors will work with participants in both the pre and post interview process.  Participants will be evaluated on their work and submitted reports.  Upon successful completion of mentoring, participants will be allowed to conduct work fully on their own, but will remain under a probationary period where they will be unable to transfer credentials to another vendor, but may be allowed to work multiple contracts.  If additional mentoring is required, it will be handled on an as-needed basis.

Post Training Fieldwork:

Once all NTS training requirements are met, to include mentoring, candidates will be allowed to work their own cases and make a positive impact on our national security.

Serving as an investigator should not be treated as a hobby, but rather a serious occupation with amazing opportunities and experiences.

MSM will continue to provide the best opportunities for our investigators to succeed while performing this valuable task.  Together, we look forward to your success in this exciting and rewarding industry.