Steps to Become a CIA Agent

Getting hired by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a time consuming process. The application alone will take two months to more than a year to process. It takes the agency at least 45 days to contact suitable candidates. This is in addition to meeting minimum qualification requirements that in itself take years to complete, like college degrees, skills and US citizenship (in case if you are not a US national already).

Steps to Become a CIA Agent
Steps to Become a CIA Agent

Step 1: Research (Find Out the Job Title You are Interested in Applying)

The agency offers a variety of jobs year round and hire from a vast and diverse pool of US citizens. Interestingly, not every job requires a college degree. For example, if you want to work for the CIA as a Truck Driver, you need high school level education only. However, if you intend to join the agency as an officer, then you will need at least a 4-year bachelor’s degree (this degree is good for majority of the jobs offered at the CIA). But, if you want to be CIA’s attorney, then you’d need the Juris Doctor (JD) degree from an ABA-accredited law school. In short, education requirement is determined by the position itself, so do your research before applying. And there is no better source to go to then the agency’s own official website.

Step 2: Education (4-Year College Degree)

Assuming you have selected a position which requires a bachelor’s degree, then you should know that the CIA hires all majors. The agency in fact is very flexible when it comes to your major. For example, if you want to apply for the Accountant’s position with the CIA, you can major in Public Administration and still apply for the job. Your bachelor’s degree doesn’t need to be in accounting or finance.

Once again, the agency’s official website provides information on jobs, which degree(s) to go for and what to major in. So, spend a considerable portion of your time browsing through the website.

Step 3: Applying for the Position

Assuming you have fulfilled all the requirements to apply for a particular job with the agency, the next step is to actually apply. For that, you’ll need to visit the CIA’s official website, select the position you are interested in applying and then simply click on it. Once you land on the page, you’ll see the “How to Apply” option, click on it and follow the instructions.

Once again, as mentioned earlier, the application process itself is a lengthy one, taking as little as two months or as long as more than a year. So be patient.

Step 4: Application Process

You file your application online. The application process would first require you to make an account. This account will be automatically disabled after three days, irrespective of whether you submit your application or not. Since the time is short, therefore it is highly recommended that you do your job search before making an account online.

You can apply for up to four positions at a time. It is recommended that you do not apply for more positions as it will only delay the assessment of your application. Also, apply to only those positions for which you are both qualified and have an interest in.

After position(s) selection, comes the next step, Application Package. This package consists of several forms asking for detailed information about you. Since it is lengthy, you will need to be patient.

The application form will ask detailed information on your background, education, work history, military experience, languages that you may speak other than English, etc. The application package will also contain a Personnel Evaluation Form (PEF). This form will ask for detailed information on your previous criminal record, convictions, drug use, security clearances, etc.

Once you have completed the entire package, simply print the forms for future reference. You can also save them. You can now fill in the final section of the application which requires entering your personal information. At this stage you can also upload your resume, writing samples and transcripts.

Now simply submit the entire application package. You’ll get confirmation message on your screen.

Step 5: Wait for the Call

If the recruiters are interested in you, they’ll call you or email you within 45 days. If you don’t receive a call from them within 45 days, it is likely that they have rejected your application.

Step 6: Investigation, Polygraph Test, Mental and Physical Examinations

If you are called, your application will be thoroughly investigated for truthfulness. You will have to take the polygraph test and physical and mental examinations, etc.

Step 7: The X Factor

There is only so much information that the agency’s website reveals regarding its hiring process. There may be additional requirements to becoming a CIA agent which are not publically known, so be prepared.