CIA Agent Career and Degree Information
1) If you're interested in a CIA agent career, start by earning the required Bachelor's Degree. (Criminal Justice and Homeland Security are common options for CIA agents)
2) Learn another language (middle-eastern languages are very desirable). You may get a hiring bonus or your CIA salary can go up if you speak a foreign language.
3) Review the CIA Agent job information and requirements below.
4) Go to cia.gov/careers/viewall.html to see open positions. Once you have found a position you are interested in, apply online through the CIA resume builder software.
CIA Job Information
The job of a CIA Agent is glamorized on TV and in the movies. This doesn't mean that it isn't a glamorous job: in many ways, it is. But it can also be a challenging and potentially dangerous career. At the same time, CIA agents have very fulfilling and satisfying jobs...and make a good salary. If you are a bright, energetic and dedicated person, you may be the perfect fit for a CIA agent career. Learn more below.
Path to CIA Agent Careers
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recommends that you start by researching one of their many career paths: Investigations, Technical and Engineering, Security, Clandestine Services, Language Opportunities, Analytical Opportunities and Support Services, among others.
Once you have reviewed the different jobs each career path offers and have chosen the one that interests you, start researching 4-year degrees that are applicable to your desired career path. The CIA requires a 4-year bachelor's degree for most entry-level positions and an advanced degree for non-clerical careers such as overseas officer or intelligence analyst.
The type of degree you earn is not as important as having a very good GPA—at least above a 3.0—and making sure the actions you take now are reflective of the behavior you can bring to the CIA. Major in Criminal Justice, Homeland Security, Engineering, Math, the Sciences or Accounting. These are all excellent bachelor's degree options to start your CIA career.
The CIA is also looking for applicants that can speak foreign languages fluently, and they offer monetary incentives for this valued skill. According to the CIA, the maximum bonus is $35,000 per individual. Bonuses are paid in a one-time, lump sum payment. Applicants that speak another language, especially one of the Middle-Eastern languages, may get hired more quickly, as the CIA needs agents who speak Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and more.
You must be a U.S. Citizen and be no older than 35 years of age (the age limit may be waived in certain cases). If you are married, your spouse must also be a U.S. Citizen.
CIA agent salaries vary, but you can anticipate making between $50,000 and $95,000 a year, depending on the specific job, your work experience and level of education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook classifies federal and special agents under police and detectives, and reports the median annual wage for protective services officers as $55,010.
If you would like to be considered for CIA Agent employment, you should know that the hiring and screening process is very competitive, lengthy and thorough, and you will have to take a polygraph test to become a CIA agent.
Now that you understand the path to a CIA agent career, get the degree you need by requesting info about bachelor's and master's degree programs from the accredited schools below. Then contact cia.gov for application material and instructions. Program outcomes vary according to each institution's specific curriculum, and employment opportunities are not guaranteed.
Online Criminal Justice Schools
- Bachelor of Science - Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement (Online)
- Bachelor's in Criminal Justice - Law Enforcement (Online)
- Bachelor of Arts - Law Enforcement Administration (Online)
- Master's in Criminal Justice with Federal Law Enforcement Specialization (Online)