3 ways to become a CIA agent

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3 ways to become a CIA agent
3 ways to become a CIA agent

If you are smart, have a college degree, are willing to serve your country, and are ambitious, becoming part of the CIA is a career alternative for you. As long as you are a U. S. citizen and you meet all the necessary requirements and background checks, you are eligible to apply for a job at the CIA. Keep in mind that the process is competitive (as with all government positions) and that there are many reasons to reject applicants. Despite this reality, it is important to do your best if it is your career dream.


Method 1 of 3: Familiarize yourself with the CIA

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Step 1. Understand what is involved in a CIA career before trying to join

While the spy side of the CIA might be the glamorous side, which you are apparently longing for, the Directorate of Operations (or "underground service", where spies are located), is nothing more than a part of the CIA and a small part of it. Most CIA employees work in analytical, language and science, engineering and technology positions. Matching your skills and aptitudes to what you are suitable for may not be required for clandestine service positions at all, so be prepared for this possibility. Also, prepare to be part of a family by joining the CIA, with the expectation of maintaining deep loyalty to others, and with possible ramifications in your social life outside of work and relationships.

  • Whatever your position, a role in the CIA means that you are part of the first line of defense to warn and protect your fellow citizens. You will work with people who possess high integrity, insight, analytical skills, and intellectual curiosity.
  • You are expected to work as a team on many occasions, so you will need to have strong team skills.
  • You will be able to pursue career goals within the CIA and hopefully you will stay with the CIA for the duration of your career.
  • The Agency has its own community. The reason for this lies in the academic realm, as well as the nature of the work performed and the mission of the CIA. The CIA George Bush Center has its own food court, gymnasium, formal gardens and walking paths, company store, recreation and activity clubs, and artwork on display. In addition, there is a museum, a library and the usual offices.
  • The Agency considers its community as a family, employing people from almost all fields of study, united in their work and their service to the country.
  • Before you even embark on the process of becoming a CIA agent, do some background reading about what the CIA is, what CIA agents do (not just spying), as well as learn what so much spying is not how you see it in movies and tv shows.

Method 2 of 3: Ask yourself if you're CIA material

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Step 1. Before starting the process, it might be a good idea to review your background

If you are not clean then don't bother to apply. Most importantly, you should be able to see if your background report contains false information, so be prepared when asked about it. You must use a service that is capable of accessing the CIS database, which is the exact same database that the CIA uses, if your name appears then they have your record available and you can prepare.

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Step 2. Keep Squeaky Clean

Each of the positions require a security clearance and you will have to go through a very thorough background check to clear this up. The content and expectations of the security checks are not public knowledge (which would defeat their purpose), but it is quite obvious that there are normal behaviors and activities that you should engage in, and others they should have avoided. For instance:

  • You must not have a criminal record. Naturally, this includes not having participated in any activity contrary to the interest of the United States, regardless of whether it is criminal in nature.
  • Don't take drugs. The CIA states that you cannot have used illegal drugs within 12 months of your application or background check process. Using illegal drugs at any time in your past can hurt your chances, however, it is best to avoid any drugs completely illegal. Also, do not abuse legal drugs, such as alcohol or prescription drugs, as they can provide evidence of your character and the future possibility of abusing again.
  • You must be financially sound. This means you don't gamble, overinvest, have a poor credit repayment history, or have a bankruptcy on your record. No intelligence service wants to take a risk on a person who has poor financial management skills and is potentially open to corruption.
  • You must have a good work record and ethics. Whatever job you've had, make sure you've always done your best, be honest and ethical, and you worked hard. Demonstrable loyalty and responsibility in any work environment is an asset to your application.
  • Be highly trustworthy and trustworthy. Background investigators will ask questions of people in your circle of acquaintances, including family and friends. If they give positive information about you, this is good for you, as the evaluation of your character is built.
  • Understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality and confidentiality. If you like gossip, being at the CIA is probably not a good option for you, you will need to be able to show that you can comply with regulations on the use, handling and protection of confidential information.
  • You must have excellent strength of character, integrity, honesty, good judgment, and loyalty to the United States. The CIA recognizes that no one is perfect. Security officials will take into account any imperfections in your record according to your nature, scope, seriousness, and recent experience. They weigh the risk and benefit of each individual with the utmost care. If you have everything you need, the Agency will not necessarily walk away if they believe you have a significant contribution to make to the nation's intelligence efforts.
  • Your parents and friends must be absolutely clean. While this may not always be possible, it is helpful, as any family member or friend with questionable inclinations could be a source of weakness for you if they become a nuisance (also known as "potential duress").. If there are issues around this, talk to a CIA career agent about your options, and always tell the truth.
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Step 3. Be highly competent in your field

The CIA takes the best and the brightest students: CIA agents must have at least a bachelor's degree. Having an advanced degree can be useful for most positions, and is required in many cases, although the CIA also has its own corresponding undergraduate programs. On the other hand, the CIA has so many hundreds of applications per position so you need to make sure that your skills, abilities and studies stand out from the rest.

  • You must have excellent grades in high school and college. Have at least a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  • Although there is no specific degree to study, having studies with an emphasis on international relations (studies with greater international projection are likely to be of interest to a recruiter), law, political science, history, security studies, economics or the finance (including international finance), mathematics, journalism, science (behavioral, physical, or computer science), languages, sociology or psychology, and anything else that requires analytical skills, can be an advantage.
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Step 4. Learn other languages

The more the better, but master at least one other language. Currently, the languages in high demand are Mandarin, Farsi (Persian), Pashto, Dari, Russian and Arabic, reflecting political and military "hot spots" in the world today. Fluency is especially important if you are seeking a position in the underground service. Your command of the language must be above and beyond mere university knowledge, but must demonstrate that you can speak as well as a native speaker. If you can't, either keep improving, or ask about potential job training to improve the language.

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Step 5. Be nice, flexible, and sociable

The best way to get information from other people is to be a good speaker and listener, to be someone who can connect with others easily, as well as being able to make people feel comfortable. These skills are harder to learn than college majors for some people, so if you're not comfortable with people, either catch up on those skills through reading or courses, or be less inclined to seek positions. requiring interaction with "assets" (term clandestine spy service - people assisting CIA agents, often at great risk to their own life or well-being), or with anyone else who may serve as a source of information.

  • Learn what makes people react, learn people skills, including how to make people like you and good conversation skills. You need to know how to casually pull information and build rapport with people from all walks of life, in order to be able to detect, evaluate, develop, recruit, and assets. You need to know how to feign interest in other people's interests and hobbies in order to build friendships or relationships with them to gain information.
  • If you have a problem with being nice, being a CIA agent is probably not a good fit for you. Likewise, arrogance, selfishness and inflated self-importance will be grounds for expulsion from training.
  • See gray areas of life. If you see life in absolute terms ("he's wrong, I'm right"), then chances are you're not going to be a good fit for the CIA. Inquisitive minds, openness to discussion and its possibilities, and the ability to see more nuanced and complicated elements in all situations are an essential trait when you need to analyze things. Sometimes you will be asked for finesse for the sake of national security that do not necessarily produce the best results for people in other countries. Is it something you can handle?
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Step 6. Stay in good physical shape

You will be put to rigorous physical tests and it is expected that you can tolerate the physical tests. In addition to the benefits of staying in shape, getting involved in both team and individual sports on a regular basis shows your potential future CIA employers that you are willing to stay fit, work as a team, and maintain your overall health and fitness. wellness. Good stamina is also important if you work undercover, since you can work very long hours without looking tired or without losing the ability to think clearly; in fact, a typical day you can spend creating a cover, and at night catching up with the people you need to find information.

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Step 7. You must be mentally fit

They will test your limits in training to see how you handle emotional pressure. Also, if you enter the underground service, you will have to be able to cope with the mental pressures of being subjected to dangers and life-threatening situations. For example, if you are caught, you may be subjected to torture, and even your government will deny your existence. Also, if the asset is caught by its own government, you will face emotional problems related to the way that person (and perhaps their family) will be treated (sometimes they will suffer the death penalty). There will be many difficult situations, and your mental health has to be in perfect condition to be able to face the possibilities.

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Step 8. Be honest and frank

Wait to be tested as much as possible to ensure the veracity of what you say to the CIA. If you are accepted for the interview process, as well as periodically during employment, you will submit to a lie detector. While polygraphy is not an exact science, the CIA's polygraph kits are one of the most comprehensive, and the technicians who work on it are highly trained security professionals. These security professionals generally prefer the side of caution if they have any reason to believe that you are lying. It is during these tests that they will be able to find out if you have lied about taking any illegal drugs, being unfair, financial mismanagement, and so on. All test results are protected and kept in the strictest confidence. And don't expect the testing process to be smooth and comfortable, to begin with, it is not a pleasant feeling to have others trying to "get you", let alone be hooked up to a machine that could determine the fate of your future career.

  • Expect continuous checks throughout your CIA career. You are expected to undergo regular re-investigations (changes in your lifestyle, connections, etc.), and continue to take polygraph tests.
  • Be prepared to maintain high standards of professional conduct at all times, both on and off work, during the time of your CIA career.
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Step 9. You must be prepared to change places or travel

A job at the CIA will probably require you to move out of your initial residence. Additionally, many CIA positions require frequent travel, which can be annoying for life at home if you are not already focused on how you are going to deal with it (the CIA does not offer childcare in some locations).

Don't underestimate the stress in your personal life. If you are the type of person who wants to come home at 5 a.m. every day and be available on a regular basis to raise your family, with your job as an agent, you probably won't have time for parenting and bonding. what do you want. If you can't follow this thought, consider looking for a different career. Many other CIA careers, however, do not offer this kind of stability

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Step 10. You must be a US citizen

Only US citizens can apply to join the CIA. If you don't have citizenship, get it.

Method 3 of 3: Understand the Application Process

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Step 1. Apply for a position with the CIA

If you are sure that you can pass the initial requirements, it is time to apply. You can do it online, but be prepared for a long process and the need to fill out a lot of information about yourself. Look for a specific position of interest, read the requirements and make sure you know them. If you do not meet the minimum requirements, do not apply unless you have a very good reason, because you will be wasting your time.

  • Be sure to follow the application deadlines and instructions exactly. If you forget something, the request will be rejected.
  • Spruce up your resume, as this will need to be submitted along with the online application.
  • Job postings are updated regularly. This means that if you don't see something of interest, check back frequently.
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Step 2. Be patient and wait

The research process can be very long, especially if you have many contacts abroad that must be followed up as well. If you've been completely honest and open, this will speed up the verification process.

  • Do not write or call to verify. You will not receive an answer.
  • As a general rule, if the CIA is interested in your application, they will contact you within 45 days.
  • Do not give up. Keep trying - it may be that you have selected a position that you are not suitable for, or that there were too many highly qualified people competing with you and a small mistake in your application caused them to reject yours. Just keep trying in a reasonable amount of time and your persistence can pay off. In some cases, this may mean that you are accepted when your experience improves, so try to get a graduate degree, apply for that military position, or do something more extraordinary that will catapult you.
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Step 3. Prepare for the next stage, if you are successful in being accepted and offered conditional employment

All initial offers are conditional, and if you do get one, there is still a long way to go before you can be hired. You will now have to undergo a series of physical, psychological, security and intelligence tests to verify your suitability to join the Agency.

  • Take a medical exam and psychological exam. The doctor is designed to ensure that you are in adequate physical condition for the needs of the job, as well as for the drug test. The psychological test assesses intelligence, judgment, and mental stability.
  • Wait for the background check process to complete. The background check is very thorough, and sometimes lengthy (it can take two years). The CIA website says: "The investigation comprehensively addresses one's loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, trustworthiness, discretion, and soundness of judgment. In addition, the freedom of conflicting loyalties, the potential for coercion, and the willingness and ability to comply with the regulations governing the use, handling and protection of confidential information are analyzed. "
  • Pass the polygraph exam (mentioned above).
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Step 4. Accept or decline your job offer

If you pass the selection process, you're in luck: Only 17 percent of candidates submitted with conditional offers pass background checks and exams. Now you can accept your job and prepare for training, after which you may still not be ideal for the job!

  • Participate in job training. For some positions, particularly those in the clandestine service, you may have a probationary training period which you must successfully complete for your specific position. You may have to relocate during this period (about 6 months), and the agency will not cover your family's relocation expenses during this time.
  • You will not be a civil servant until you pass rigorous training, which, depending on the position, can be very difficult.


  • Some of the other languages currently in high demand are: Greek, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Serbian, Croatian, and Turkish.
  • The CIA has some programs available for college students, including internships for both graduates and undergraduates. The selection criteria are very rigorous, and the end of the program does not guarantee a job, but if you perform well during it, you will have a good chance of a job offer.
  • You will be placed in a position for which you are qualified, which may not be the same for which you applied. The salary depends on your grade. There are increases over time. The starting salary is close to US $ 40,000 a year. However, the benefits are really good. Some benefits are: Paid time off, federal health and life insurance, retirement fund, education and training, health services, child care centers, and credit union.
  • The CIA will not normally hire anyone over 35 for the Clandestine National Service.
  • The agency does not discriminate on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or sexual orientation in granting, denying, or revoking security clearances.
  • Consider joining the military first. However the CIA does not offer contract preference for veterans, candidates with relevant prior military service, especially in military intelligence, have an advantage. You still need a college degree.
  • You will be required to keep things confidential. People skills are a plus for operations officers (spies), but if you have trouble keeping secrets then this is not for you.
  • The CIA frequently recruits the best of colleges and universities in an effort to attract qualified candidates before they accept a position in the private sector. Make sure you attend job and job fairs at school.
  • Becoming a scientist helps. Spy organizations sometimes recruit scientists because of their special abilities.
  • Train every day, study and do your best. Do not give up!


  • CIA training can make you cold and more calculating.
  • Prepare to handle emotional stress. The training, as mentioned, is very intense (and sometimes overwhelming). Once you are in training, especially for clandestine service, you will be tested to the limit because they want to know your breaking point (at most) before you go out to a job where the lives of others are at risk. And if that happens before, rather than after, you are less likely to be successful.
  • Do not lie on your application or at any time during the hiring process. Background checks are extraordinarily rigorous, and if a lie is discovered, in most cases you will be disqualified unless the misunderstanding is cleared up. You must be aware that different departments in intelligence communities communicate with each other. Being disqualified / fired from one will make it harder for you to find a job at any other agency. In fact, this can also be communicated to agencies with less intense security within the government, so make sure you are on the best behavior at all times.
  • Keep in mind that salaries at the CIA are typically lower (sometimes much less) than those offered in the private sector for positions that require similar education and experience. On the other hand, your job security is often better, as long as you maintain high standards of personal conduct.
  • Your own colleagues will evaluate and monitor you without your knowledge, many of whom will be working for other government organizations, such as the FBI, the National Security Agency or the United States Department of Homeland Security. Even if you are totally trustworthy, they will likely dig into your personal life just to entertain themselves. If you cheat on your spouse, have an online affair, visit chat rooms, have a lover, go to sex workers or hire escorts, or have a strange fetish (among other things), this type of information will reach someone's personal file bear with your name, even if it is useless and trivial. This will make the person laugh at you. In a worst case scenario, mild embarrassing facts about your intimate life could be used against you. One of your colleagues may be following you, even if you have no reason to believe that they are interested in what you do when you are not working. Keep in mind that they will monitor your means of communication (such as the telephone and the internet) at all times. The general reason is that they will want to make sure that you are not involved with illegal companies, that you do not plan to sell secrets and that you do not get any other profit from your position. They will also want to ensure that you represent the epitome of traditional "Whole American Values" and that you are not a role model for what they might perceive to be abnormal behavior or perspectives. The best thing is that you forget all vice and have a life as austere and serious as possible. You will not join an organization that values or encourages individualism, much less personal privacy.

    As a candidate, you should also expect the high probability that recruiters will thoroughly inquire about your past activities on the internet. This includes social media, your browsing habits, and everything that can be tracked with your IP address. As is known, nothing disappears from the internet, and there is no real anonymity in it

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