Careers & Internships


Student Programs Overview

Working for the CIA as a student is a highly rewarding experience that prepares you for a possible career in protecting our nation. Student opportunities are all based in the Washington, DC area and have highly competitive requirements for participation.

Read more about our requirements and other important information below.

General Requirements

Those applying for any student opportunity must have:

  • US citizenship (naturalized and dual national US citizens are eligible)
  • 3.0 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale
  • The ability to successfully complete medical/polygraph examinations and a background investigation
  • No illegal drug use within one year prior to applying

Other considerations:

  • Assignments are only in the Washington, DC metro area
  • Foreign language skills and previous international residency are a plus
  • Because of safety concerns for the prospective applicant, as well as security and communication issues, the CIA does not accept applications, nor can we return phone calls, emails or other forms of communication, from US citizens living outside of the US
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Deadline Information

Although a deadline might be posted, you can submit your application for any program except for the DO Internship and Undergraduate or Graduate Scholarship Programs at any time of year. It is essential to submit your application at least 12 months before your desired start date because, if you get an employment offer, we will need time to process your security clearance.

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Benefits Information

The CIA offers various benefits to students, including:

  • Paid time off
  • Federal health and life insurance
  • Retirement
  • Education and training
  • Health services
  • Child care center
  • Credit union

Learn more about the full benefits available to you while working at the CIA.

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Internship vs. Co-op

Both internships and co-ops are open to full-time students in an undergraduate program at an accredited college or university. There are no financial qualifications, and students are not obligated to work at the CIA after graduation.


This program allows students to complete several internship sessions before graduation during a summer or semester.


This program focuses on students currently enrolled in schools with co-operative programs and is designed to help students meet the co-op requirements. Prior to graduation, students work on an alternating semester or quarterly basis for a minimum of three semesters or four quarters, which can include a summer work session. The Agency does not work with an established list of co-op programs. Students who want to receive academic credit for their work will need to initiate the request for credit.

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Application Process

Because of the classified nature of our work at the CIA, the application process is lengthy. Depending on an applicant's specific circumstances, the process may take a few months or more than a year.

Our goal is to respond to each applicant within 45 days if we believe that you may match our needs to fill current open positions. The CIA receives thousands of applications each month and, unfortunately, we are not able to contact everyone. If you have not heard from us within 45 days, we will not be offering you a position at this time. In cases such as this, we request that you wait for one year before re-applying. The purpose of waiting for one year is to give applicants time to develop new skills and experiences that will make them more competitive for CIA employment.

If there is interest in your application, CIA recruiters will initiate contact with you by phone or email. Emails from CIA recruiters will have a .gov extension. Please check your email spam filter settings or spam folder to ensure receipt of these emails.

All applicants must successfully complete a thorough medical and psychological exam, a polygraph interview and an extensive background investigation. US citizenship is required.

Before you get started, please make sure you understand the application requirements for the position to which you’re applying. You can also watch the videos that outline the full application process.

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Policy on Drug Use

To be considered suitable for Agency employment, applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last 12 months. The issue of illegal drug use 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.

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Policy on Illegal Downloading

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.

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Living in Washington, DC

Washington, DC is one of the most fast-paced, exciting and culturally rewarding cities in the world. From museums to sports to restaurants, there is plenty to do in your free time.

This area isn’t just limited to the District itself – it also includes Northern Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia communities.

The Metrorail and Metrobus systems reach into Maryland and Virginia, where you can explore extensive park systems, shopping, world-class entertainment venues, professional and college sports events and educational opportunities – among many other things.

While the Metro transportation systems give you wide access to the area, make sure to confirm your ability to travel to and from your CIA location. Having access to a personal vehicle is strongly encouraged.

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Student Programs Options

Posted: Jan 28, 2019 07:34 AM
Last Updated: Apr 03, 2019 09:17 AM

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