Jobs in the CIA: How To Get One With or Without a Degree

Jobs with the FBI and CIA provide more than a place to work. Employees in both agencies know they are helping keep the U.S. safe from terrorism and crime. Although most positions at the FBI and CIA require college degrees, it is possible to be hired for support and clerical positions with just a high school diploma.

Both the FBI and the CIA require their agents, analysts and candidates for most other, non-clerical jobs to have, at minimum, four-year college degrees. Some jobs, such as those for scientists, require graduate degrees.

To work for the CIA officially, a person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, and have at least a high school diploma. Without a college degree, however, jobs will be for clerical and other support positions.

Can you get a CIA job without a degree? It’s possible to get a job at the CIA without a college degree. However, most CIA jobs require candidates to have at least a bachelor’s degree. Aspiring CIA agents, operations officers, analysts, computer specialists and more all need to get a four-year degree

four-year degree
A bachelor’s degree (from Middle Latin baccalaureus) or baccalaureate (from Modern Latin baccalaureatus) is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to six years (depending on institution and academic discipline). › wiki › Bachelo…

before applying.

Careers at CIA

Why are jobs in the CIA important?

The CIA is critical to U.S. government agencies and citizens for many reasons, including:

Interpreting different types of intelligence

The CIA collects and analyzes various types of intelligence related to national security. For example, CIA employees may gather human intelligence, which is typically nonnumerical data, through methods such as interviewing locals. Signals intelligence, however, focuses on intercepting transmissions from voice, radar, aircraft and other technology signals. Data collected from signals intelligence usually is quantitative and analyzed through machine learning algorithms, formulas and other techniques involving mathematics. Jobs in the CIA focus on analyzing these various types of intelligence and compiling their findings into cohesive results.

Bolstering national defense systems

CIA jobs help support and improve the U.S.s national security. The CIA helps national security systems by providing intelligence findings related to strengthening the military, improving economic infrastructure, increasing environmental sustainability and other strategies. The CIA focuses on both minimizing the effects of existing threats to national security and proactively eliminating future threats.

Keeping citizens safe

The overall goal of most duties and responsibilities for various CIA jobs is to protect U.S. citizens. Some CIA jobs may also focus on keeping citizens of other countries safe if related to national security issues. For example, CIA employees may travel abroad to protect foreign citizens if the risks posed may affect U.S. national defense systems.

Influencing policy decisions

The intelligence findings from the CIA affect the decisions, regulations and policies made by other government agencies. The CIA provides intelligence findings to government officials such as the leaders of federal executive departments, the vice president and the president. These and other politicians use the CIAs findings to create or revise U.S. policies.

What are CIA jobs?

CIA jobs are positions and careers at the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA is part of the federal government. Jobs in the CIA assist with collecting, analyzing or implementing intelligence findings. The types of intelligence collections and analysis differ, but all have the goal of improving national security.

Some people are familiar with CIA agents, or spies, from fictional portrayals of CIA agents in films and on television shows. CIA agents may interrogate witnesses or experts, determine how credible a piece of foreign intelligence is and use technology systems to analyze data. However, agents are only one of the many possible jobs at the CIA. People interested in working with the CIA can explore a variety of career paths, including federal police officers, cyber security technologists, psychiatrists and librarians.

Can you get a CIA job without a degree?

Its possible to get a job at the CIA without a college degree. However, most CIA jobs require candidates to have at least a bachelors degree. Aspiring CIA agents, operations officers, analysts, computer specialists and more all need to get a four-year degree before applying.

Most CIA jobs that dont require a college degree are clerical or administrative positions. These types of positions typically ask that applicants have a high school diploma or GED. Other CIA jobs that dont require college degrees may ask candidates to have certifications instead, such as from a technical or trade school.

How to get a CIA job

Here are seven steps to complete if applying for a job in the CIA:

1. Meet the minimum requirements

Candidates for all CIA jobs must meet certain requirements. The minimum requirements for applying to any CIA job include:

2. Choose your CIA career

Decide on the type of job position you hope to get at the CIA. The CIA employs people in a variety of roles, including:

3. Get the education needed for your chosen career

Fulfill the educational requirements for the CIA job you aspire to have. As the CIA offers jobs in many industries and fields, the education requirements for applicants vary by position. Most CIA positions require candidates to have a bachelors degree. CIA positions that require more specialized skills and knowledge, such as attorneys or psychologists, need to first receive more advanced degrees. For administrative positions at the CIA, however, you typically only need a GED or high school diploma.

4. Fill out the online application

The CIA asks candidates for all positions to begin their application process in the CIA job portal. Candidates first create an account with the CIAs Careers Application Center. Although candidates may save incomplete applications and work on them later, they must submit their applications within three days total. The CIA recommends applying to multiple CIA jobs at once to increase your chances of progressing in the application process.

5. Meet the CIAs ethical standards

As CIA employees frequently handle classified or sensitive information, the CIA places great emphasis on hiring candidates they can trust to help protect the United States. During the application process, the CIA evaluates your past actions and actions you take while applying to the CIA, including your:

6. Complete the security clearances

All applicants to the CIA must complete several rounds of security clearance, including:

7. Partake in tests or interviews

If you advance in the application process, the CIA may ask you to complete many tests and interviews. The CIA typically requests that candidates complete both a phone interview and an in-person interview at a secure location. The tests you take as part of the application process vary depending on the position you hope to get.

What kinds of jobs can I get at the CIA?

Here are just a few of the CIA jobs to consider for your career:

National average salary:$44,954 per year

Primary duties: A CIA agent gathers and analyzes intelligence to help defend and strengthen national security. CIA agents collect intelligence by interviewing civilians, intercepting communications or signals, reading newspapers from other countries and a variety of other methods. The CIA bases most agents in the U.S., but frequently asks agents to travel abroad for extended periods of time. To become a CIA agent, you must have a bachelors degree from an accredited college or university.

Primary duties: Automotive mechanics repair, test and maintain a variety of vehicles, such as cars and trucks. Responsibilities of an auto mechanic may include troubleshooting electronic vehicle parts, assisting with emergency repairs and performing vehicle inspections. CIA auto mechanics must be open to moving internationally as needed to serve the CIAs missions or needs. The CIA requires automotive mechanics to have a certificate from a technical college and at least three years of relevant work experience.

Primary duties: A police officer protects citizens and property, enforces local and national laws and helps maintain public order. Police officers in the CIA work in the Security Protective Service (SPS) department, meaning they defend CIA employees, property and intelligence. A CIA police officers duties may include monitoring access to CIA facilities, assisting during medical emergencies and enforcing the law on CIA property. Candidates for the CIA police force must be at least 21 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED.

Primary duties: A truck driver loads, unloads and transports goods using a heavy truck or trailer tractor. CIA truck drivers sometimes handle and transport hazardous materials or materials weighing up to 70 pounds. A CIA truck driver operates trucks in a variety of environments such as interstate highways, city streets and unpaved roads. To apply for a truck driving position with the CIA, candidates need to have a Class A commercial drivers license (CDL) and at least two years of commercial truck driving experience.

Primary duties: An analyst gathers and evaluates intelligence from a variety of sources to help companies or government agencies make strategic decisions. The CIA employs analysts in many roles, including human resources, economic, political and science analysts. Specific analyst responsibilities vary based on the type of CIA analyst. Cyber threat analysts at the CIA, for example, may use digital forensics techniques, assist with complicated intelligence issues and identify foreign cyber threats. To become a CIA analyst, you need a bachelors degree first.


Will the FBI hire without a degree?

The minimum FBI education requirement is a bachelor’s degree. Many agents possess master’s degrees or higher, especially those working in leadership and technical positions. While some employers may skim over a GPA, the FBI requires a 3.0 or higher.

What disqualifies you from working for the CIA?

Recent involvement in criminal or unethical behavior can disqualify you from getting a clearance. This includes pending criminal charges, felony convictions, and a dishonorable discharge. In addition, crimes like illegal downloading of copyrighted material can also be an issue.

Is it hard to get hired by the CIA?

As mentioned, the hiring process can take upwards of two years, with candidates and their larger networks forced to endure a multitude of exams. The requirements to apply for the clandestine service are difficult, but certainly not impossible.

What degree do you need to be a CIA spy?

To work for the CIA, you need at least a bachelor’s degree. According to the CIA’s website, students who are interested in become CIA agents typically study international affairs, criminal justice, political science, math, engineering, science and technology.

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