The job of a CIA special agent might look exciting, but it is also full of danger. These agents put their lives on the line almost daily to ensure that their country’s national security is not compromised. CIA special agents perform different roles, but the main objective is to protect the US’s national security interests.

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Should I Become a CIA Special Agent?

To become a CIA special agent, you need specific skills and clear a long process to join the Special. If you think you have what it takes to clear the process, continue reading.



Bachelor’s Degree minimum
Major Requirement18 years old and a US citizen
Key SkillsAbility to solve complex problems, Physically fit, Quick thinking, Strong analytical knowledge, Strong observational skills, etc.
Annual Mean SalaryThe salary details of CIA personnel are confidential. $86,030 (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)
Job Outlook (2019 – 2029)1% (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)

5% (Police and Detectives)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

The data for CIA special agents is not publicly available. As a point of reference, we have used police and detective figures because that data was published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job growth for Police and Detectives is expected to be 5% between 2019 and 2029.

Steps to Become a CIA Special Agent

To become a CIA special agent, you have to clear multiple steps, and the entire process can take a long time to complete.

Get the Required Education

Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to join the CIA. More advanced educational credentials like a Master’s or a Ph.D. will improve your employment chances. It is advisable to pursue a degree in law enforcement or a criminal justice discipline.

Create an Online Account

You will have to create an online account with the CIA. This is the first step towards applying for a job with the CIA. Once the account is created, search the job you want to apply for.

Complete the Application Package

After selecting your Special, you will have to start the process of submitting the Application Package. This will take a lot of time to complete as there will be plenty of forms that you will be asked to fill.

Information about your expertise, background, experience, and education, etc. will be solicited. This is referred to as the “Application” part of the process. After that, you will have to move to the “Personnel Evaluation Form,” also known as (PEF). This form will include information about security clearances, polygraphs, background investigations, employment issues, law violations, military discharges, criminal convictions, etc.

The next section is about the “Equal Employment Opportunity” form, but this is a voluntary step.

Submission of Personal Information

Once you have completed the forms mentioned above, make sure to print and save your forms because you might need to refer back to them in the future. You are about to enter the final section of the application process where you will be required to give personal information like uploading your resume and transcripts, etc.

Once you submit the application package, you will receive a message from the CIA, whether it has been submitted successfully or not. You will get this message within two days from the submission date, so please check your account regularly. In case the submission fails, you will have to resubmit the application. Your CIA account will be disabled once the process is completed.

Wait for the CIA

You will be contacted by the CIA via email or phone to start another lengthy process. Your background will be rechecked along with your medical condition, physical condition, drugs, law violations, etc. You will also have to pass written exams, interviews and undergo training to become a CIA agent.

How Long Does It Take to Become a CIA Special Agent?

It will take you a long time to become a CIA special agent. The job requires a thorough investigation because CIA agents work with issues pertaining to national security. You will need a lot of patience and perseverance to clear all the steps.

What Are the Requirements to Become a CIA Special Agent?

  • Complete the necessary education
  • Make an online account with the CIA
  • Complete the Application Package
  • Fill the Equal Employment Opportunity Form (voluntary)
  • Wait for the CIA to contact you
  • Clear the remaining process and training to join the CIA

How Much Does a CIA Special Agent Earn in the US?

The salary figures of CIA special agents are kept confidential by the CIA. As a reference point, we can look at the income figures of Detectives and Criminal Investigators, who earned $86,030 as mean annual income in the year 2019. This figure has been taken from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.