Careers & Internships



We receive many e-mails and letters regarding employment and student programs. We have listed below the most frequently asked questions and their answers. Please review them before submitting a question. For additional information about the Agency's mission and history, please visit About CIA.


  • I am a student considering a future career at the CIA. What courses should I take, or what major should I choose?
  • CIA employees represent a wide variety of disciplines from an even broader mix of academic backgrounds and experience. Therefore, we don't recommend one academic track over another in general.

    The Agency's personnel requirements change from month to month as positions are filled and others become available. Our best advice to you is to do your very best and strive for good grades. Fluency in a foreign language is a good addition. Above all, understand that your choices and behaviors now are a reflection of your personal integrity, character and patriotism.

  • What student programs does the CIA offer?
  • The CIA offers several programs for students considering a career in the intelligence field. Each program offers valuable educational and practical work experience that enhances the student's chosen field of study and prepares them for the future. These positions are extremely competitive and students are given a salary and excellent benefits. Review our programs and how to apply on our Student Opportunities page.


  • I am in the military. Can I transfer to the CIA to fulfill my obligation?
  • No. You must fulfill your obligation to the Armed Services. You should apply via the Web site as your final year of service begins if you are interested in seeking employment with the Agency. You should also know that the CIA is not a veteran preference agency.

General Requirements

  • Do I need to be a US citizen to work for the Central Intelligence Agency?
  • Yes, you must be a citizen of the United States when you apply to work for the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA does not assist individuals in applying for US citizenship.

  • If I don't have a degree, will experience count?
  • Having an undergraduate degree is not mandatory, but is highly recommended. Life experiences are taken into consideration. However, a standard requirement for overseas officers, intelligence analysts, and other non-clerical positions is a college degree, preferably an advanced degree.

  • What is the minimum age for employment at the Agency?
  • You must be at least 18 years of age.

  • What if I used drugs or still use drugs; will this disqualify me from employment?
  • 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. Drug abuse is one of the common reasons applicants are denied a security clearance. You cannot work for the CIA without a security clearance. You can find more information on this subject at Before You Apply on the Application Process.

  • What about Intellectual Property violations--how does the Agency view those?
  • The theft of copyrighted material has grown substantially in recent years and, like any other criminal activity, is of concern to the Agency. Illegal downloading, use, distribution, or sale of songs, games, software, and other electronic files will be carefully evaluated during security processing. While factors such as the amount, frequency, retention, and recency of such downloading activity will be taken into consideration, applicants are reminded that the theft of copyrighted material may be disqualifying for Agency employment.

  • Is the CIA 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 hiring or in granting, denying, or revoking security clearances.

  • I have a tattoo. Will that prohibit me from Agency employment?
  • Tattoos will not disqualify you from gaining employment at the CIA, and all professionally-qualified persons are encouraged to apply.

Contract Term

  • The position to which I am applying is designated as Contract Term. What is Contract Term employment status?
  • Candidates hired under this status will be contract term vice staff employees. Under a Contract Term appointment, you will receive federal employee benefits such as annual and sick leave, including federal holidays; life and disability insurance; and health care insurance in the same manner as a Career Staff appointment and in accordance with US Government regulations. Click this link to view the full Contract Term Agreement.

    The initial period of employment with the CIA for contract term status employees will be limited to a specified number of years. The CIA is not obligated to convert employees in this status from contract to staff either during the term of this contract, or following the expiration of this contract.


  • How do I apply for a job at the CIA?
  • Carefully read the Application Process and Application Instructions pages.

  • I submitted my resume over 45 days ago and haven't heard anything. Am I still being considered?
  • Our goal is to respond to each applicant within a 45 day period. However, the CIA receives over 10,000 resumes a month and, unfortunately, we are not able to contact everyone within that timeframe. If you have not heard from us within 45 days, we will not be offering you a position at this time.

  • What is involved in the application process? How long does it take?
  • Because of the classified nature of our work at the Central Intelligence Agency, the application process is a lengthy one. Depending on an applicant's specific circumstances, the process may take as little as two months or more than a year.

    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.

  • What is the best browser to use to complete the application?
  • The application works best using Internet Explorer and Firefox.

  • I submitted my resume online. Should I follow up with a paper copy?
  • A paper copy (via fax or US mail) is not necessary or advantageous after you have submitted your resume online. The online submission process was specifically designed to provide the applicant with quick entry into our active applicant database.

  • My education and/or work experience has changed (significantly) since I applied, should I apply again?
  • If your application is still active, do not reapply. You will have an opportunity to provide additional education and/or work experiences as you move through the hiring process. If you were previously advised that you were not being considered and your application was closed, please complete and submit a new application.

  • I am a US citizen but I currently work/live overseas. How can I apply?
  • 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.


  • What are some of the benefits CIA offers employees?
  • The Central Intelligence Agency offers many benefits. Most are competitive with private industry. These include:

    • Paid Time Off
    • Federal Health and Life Insurance
    • Retirement
    • Education and Training
    • Health Services
    • Child Care Centers
    • Credit Union

    Read about Benefits in detail at Life at CIA.

  • Does the CIA offer benefits for my same-sex spouse?
  • As a result of the Supreme Court's decision to repeal Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, health, life, dental and vision benefits are now available to married same-sex couples, regardless of the state in which they reside. The marriage must have taken place in a state where same-sex marriages are allowed. Additionally, the word spouse refers to both same sex and opposite sex marriages. Same-sex couples who are in civil unions or other forms of domestic partnership other than marriage will remain ineligible for most Federal benefits programs.

Posted: Oct 07, 2010 09:24 AM
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2014 02:00 PM