Because of the classified nature of our work at the Central Intelligence Agency, the application process is a lengthy one. Depending on your specific circumstances, the process may take as little as two months or more than a year.
To start the application process you should visit the View All Career Opportunities page or explore each occupation under our career paths:
- Analytical Positions
- Business, IT & Security Positions
- Clandestine Service Positions
- Language Positions
- Science, Engineering & Technology Positions
- Student Opportunities
Each section tells you general information about the career path and features position openings. If you don't see the right jobs for you now, check back again soon. Our needs change frequently.
Once you've determined the position(s) you’d like to apply for, visit the Application Instructions page for guidance about completing the online application form.
Here are a few things you'll need to know before starting the application process.
We recommend submitting your resume online in response to specific positions. The Application Instructions link is found at the bottom of each position listed on the careers pages.
Be prepared to undergo a thorough background investigation examining your life's history, your character, trustworthiness, reliability and soundness of judgment. We also examine your freedom from conflicting allegiances, potential to be coerced, and willingness and ability to abide by regulations governing the use, handling and the protection of sensitive information. The CIA uses the polygraph to check the veracity of this information. The hiring process also includes a thorough mental and physical medical examination in relation to performing essential job functions.
Before You Apply
Please read the following sections carefully before you apply to the CIA. The information is designed to help you determine your qualification for the CIA and to apply efficiently.
By submitting an application to the CIA, you are consenting to background investigation by the United States Government and its agents, and to the use of any information you provide by the Central Intelligence Agency for any of its authorized activities.
Applying While Living Overseas
For your safety and the security of our process, we do not want to have commercial communications by hard copy mail, telephone, email or internet with you while you are outside the United States or its territories. Do NOT apply online or contact the CIA if you are physically outside the United States or its territories. Throughout your process with us, you may travel abroad. However, you should never contact us from outside the United States or its territories once you are in process with us.
To be considered suitable for Agency employment, applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs within the last 12 months. The issue of illegal drug use prior to 12 months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing.
Recently, Colorado and Washington legalized the sale of recreational marijuana under their state law. In addition, 20 states plus the District of Columbia have also legalized the use of marijuana for medical conditions, likewise under their state law. Despite the legalization of marijuana under state law, federal statute specifically prohibits CIA and other agencies from granting security clearances to users of controlled substances, including marijuana. Further, the use of marijuana and other controlled substances in violation of federal law remains a possible disqualifying criterion under Intelligence Community clearance eligibility standards. Regardless of whether an individual is located in a state that has legalized marijuana or in a foreign country where local laws allow it, and regardless of whether the Department of Justice enforces applicable federal criminal prohibitions in those jurisdictions, any use of marijuana may adversely impact that individual’s eligibility for a security clearance.
A career in intelligence can be enormously rewarding. It also demands the very best of the men and women who comprise the Agency's workforce. To meet the requirements of the work itself, intelligence professionals must be highly competent in their fields. To safeguard some of the nation's most sensitive information, CIA officers must be highly reliable and trustworthy. Woven through all aspects of their performance is the imperative to adhere to the highest standards of integrity. To be selected for a position of such trust and responsibility, one must be granted a security clearance.
Many applicants wonder if they can pass such scrutiny. The Agency recognizes no one is perfect. Agency security officials consider the nature, extent, seriousness, and recency of past behavior. They weigh the potential risk and benefit of each individual - the whole person - with utmost care. Although national security is always the paramount consideration, our security experts work hard to ensure the Agency does not turn away unnecessarily someone who could make important contributions to the nation's intelligence effort.
The Clearance Process
The clearance process is strictly governed by rules and regulations derived from Federal statute and executive orders. It involves a thorough examination of your life history and fitness to safeguard the nation's secrets. Think of this process as the first step in building a bridge of trust between you and the Agency. Candor is an essential ingredient in the establishment of that trust.
The investigation addresses comprehensively one's loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion, and soundness of judgment. In addition, it examines one's freedom from conflicting allegiances, potential for coercion, and willingness and ability to abide by regulations governing the use, handling and protection of sensitive information.
The Agency uses a polygraph to check the veracity of information that bears upon the areas listed above. CIA's polygraph examiners are highly trained security professionals, among the world's best in their field. They work closely and carefully with applicants to ensure that the information upon which clearance decisions are based is as accurate as it can be and is guarded with the strictest confidence.
The clearance process can be lengthy. Since the Agency actively recruits people who have expert knowledge of foreign languages and cultures, it is not unusual for our applicants to have numerous foreign contacts. In these cases the investigation must cover more ground, which usually takes more time. Candor is critical to the timely completion of this process.
The hiring process also entails a thorough medical examination of one's mental and physical fitness to perform essential job functions.
You Should Also Note
Your responsibility to adhere to high standards of personal conduct does not end on the first day of employment. CIA employees undergo regular reinvestigations, including periodic polygraph examinations. CIA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Agency does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or sexual orientation in granting, denying, or revoking security clearances.