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How to Apply to CIA Jobs

Before You Apply

Please read the following sections carefully before you apply to the CIA. The information is designed to help you determine your qualification for the CIA and to apply efficiently.


Drug Use

To be considered suitable for Agency employment, applicants must generally not have used illegal drugs within the last 12 months. The issue of illegal drug use prior to 12 months ago is carefully evaluated during the medical and security processing.

Personal Integrity

A career in intelligence can be enormously rewarding. It also demands the very best of the men and women who comprise the Agency’s workforce. To meet the requirements of the work itself, intelligence professionals must be highly competent in their fields. To safeguard some of the nation’s most sensitive information, CIA officers must be highly reliable and trustworthy. Woven through all aspects of their performance is the imperative to adhere to the highest standards of integrity. To be selected for a position of such trust and responsibility, one must be granted a security clearance.

Many applicants wonder if they can pass such scrutiny. The Agency recognizes no one is perfect. Agency security officials consider the nature, extent, seriousness, and recency of past behavior. They weigh the potential risk and benefit of each individual – the whole person – with utmost care. Although national security is always the paramount consideration, our security experts work hard to ensure the Agency does not turn away unnecessarily someone who could make important contributions to the nation’s intelligence effort.

The Clearance Process

The clearance process, which is strictly governed by rules and regulations derived from Federal statute and executive orders, begins when you accept a conditional offer of employment from the Agency. It involves a thorough examination of your life history and fitness to safeguard the nation’s secrets. Think of this process as the first step in building a bridge of trust between you and the Agency. Candor is an essential ingredient in the establishment of that trust.

The investigation addresses comprehensively one’s loyalty to the United States, strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion, and soundness of judgment. In addition, it examines one’s freedom from conflicting allegiances, potential for coercion, and willingness and ability to abide by regulations governing the use, handling and protection of sensitive information.

The Agency uses a polygraph to check the veracity of information that bears upon the areas listed above. CIA’s polygraph examiners are highly trained security professionals, among the world’s best in their field. They work closely and carefully with applicants to ensure that the information upon which clearance decisions are based is as accurate as it can be and is guarded with the strictest confidence.

The clearance process can be lengthy. Since the Agency actively recruits people who have expert knowledge of foreign languages and cultures, it is not unusual for our applicants to have numerous foreign contacts. In these cases the investigation must cover more ground, which usually takes more time. Candor is critical to the timely completion of this process.

The hiring process also entails a thorough medical examination of one’s mental and physical fitness to perform essential job functions.

You Should Also Note

Your responsibility to adhere to high standards of personal conduct does not end on the first day of employment. CIA employees undergo regular reinvestigations, including periodic polygraph examinations.

CIA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Agency does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or sexual orientation in granting, denying, or revoking security clearances.

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