Many people are attracted to the perceived glamour of working for the Central Intelligence Agency. However, in reality, jobs at the CIA range from the mundane to the exciting. Even if the job isn’t exactly similar to the way that books and movies portray it, you still might wonder, “How do I become a CIA agent?” The job of a CIA agent is challenging and may send you far away from home. It’s an opportunity that few achieve and none forget.
The daily life of a CIA agent varies depending on your job. No matter what your rank and job, the ultimate goal of a CIA agent is to aid in protecting and defending the United States from international threats. Some CIA employees monitor and analyze foreign communications. Others are participate in top-secret missions throughout the globe. Many CIA employees work with computers, tracking data and intelligence. If you become a CIA agent, your job at the agency will ultimately depend on your skills, experience and standing in the agency. You will quickly find that this job is not a standard nine-to-five position.
The CIA does not require a degree for all jobs, although some advanced jobs require one. However, a degree in a related field is worth pursing to increase your chances of employment. Relevant degrees include intentional relations, law, political science, criminal justice, psychology and economics. Advanced degrees in these fields are also a good way to improve your chance of getting hired at the CIA. Additionally, maintaining good grades throughout college is a must, as the CIA typically only hires graduates who sustained a 3.0 grade point average throughout college. Professional experience is also a great way to complement the educational requirements. Some members of the military, for example, fill positions in the CIA after leaving the military.
Fluency in a foreign language is also looked upon favorably by CIA recruiters. Knowledge of foreign languages is very useful if you are trying to get a clandestine job or stationed overseas. You should have near-native fluency in your chosen language. The languages spoken in political hotspots are the languages most desired by the CIA. This list currently includes Arabic, Russian, Chinese and others. The more languages you can master, the higher you can climb within the CIA.
All individuals who wish to become a CIA agent must apply directly through the agency’s website. The entire process may take more than two months to complete. The CIA runs vigorous background and character checks on all qualified applicants. Due to the highly sensitive nature of the CIA’s work, these background checks will analyze just about every part of your past. The CIA will investigate any criminal history in your past, including any drug use. You will need to undergo further testing to check your physical and mental well-being before you can become a CIA agent.
If you successfully become a CIA agent, you will have a period of training dependent on which position you are given. After training, you will begin your new career with the possibility of advancement as you prove your worth. The average starting salary for a CIA employee is around $50,000, but this varies by position and location.