Getting a Job at the CIA
As you’ve seen throughout the site, working at the CIA can be a very exciting and rewarding career. Our employees are part of a great mission that’s larger than all of us.
We’re always looking for enthusiastic people with unquestioned integrity, strong interpersonal skills, excellent written and oral communication ability, and the desire to be a part of a mission that helps protect and secure our family, friends, and country.
What Can I Do Now?
If you’re in high school now (or are a college student or parent reading this section) and have thought about a career at the CIA, concentrate on improving your communication skills, specifically in writing and in speaking. Foreign language skills are a big plus, and you should have a strong academic record and be a US citizen.
Seriously, Just Say ‘No’
As part of the hiring process, all future employees must successfully complete medical and polygraph examinations, as well as a thorough background investigation. These tests are necessary because, at the CIA, we set very high standards. Once hired, all of our intelligence officers – no matter which office they work in – must continue to live up to those standards. The CIA is a drug-free workplace and is proud to be an important part of the government’s war on drugs.
Like most commercial businesses in the private sector, the CIA and other US intelligence agencies are extremely unlikely to hire an applicant if he or she has illegally or improperly used drugs or alcohol.
Young people don’t always realize the consequences of their actions (after all, you’re only young once). But these things can end any chance they have for CIA employment, in addition to damaging themselves physically and causing emotional damage to family and friends. If you’re serious about a career in government work, make a pledge to yourself that you will not improperly or illegally use drugs or alcohol. In the US Intelligence Community, we define drugs as mood- or behavior-altering substances listed in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 [external link disclaimer], as amended (e.g., marijuana, depressants, narcotics, stimulants, and hallucinogens), and inhalants and similar substances. Drug abuse is the use of an illegal drug or the use of a legal drug in a way that is different from the way a doctor or other medical person has directed.
For those of you who can pledge to stay away from illegally and improperly using drugs and alcohol, there are student opportunities immediately available at the CIA for the best and brightest.
A security clearance allows employees to access classified (“secret”) information, information that must be protected for the nation’s security. Without a security clearance, a person cannot work for the CIA. If after being hired, an employee begins to use drugs or abuse alcohol, they risk losing their security clearance, and as a result, their job.