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Working for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

How would you like to work for the Federal Government’s premiere spy agency? The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been in the spy business for 67 years and there are many lucrative job opportunities that await you.


The United States has used spies since this country’s inception. Even George Washington, our first president, used spies during the Revolutionary War. The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was the precursor to the CIA. The OSS was formed during World War II, and collected and analyzed information. Once World War II ended, the OSS was eliminated; other war agencies were transferred to the State and War departments.

President Harry Truman realized that a centralized intelligence organization was necessary. In 1947, he signed the National Security Act and the CIA was born. The CIA is responsible for the coordination of the nation’s intelligence activities, as well as, correlating, evaluating, and disseminating intelligence affecting national security.

In 2004, President George W. Bush restructured the CIA by signing the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. This act established the position of Director of National Intelligence (D/CIA) and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) within the CIA. The DNI oversees the Intelligence Community and the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).

The CIA of Today

The CIA is comprised of 4 main organizations. The CIA website states, “They carry out ‘the intelligence cycle,’ the process of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence information to top US government officials.”

Each of these 4 organizations provide the following unique support functions:

  • The National Clandestine Service (NCS) collects foreign intelligence, specifically human source intelligence (HUMINT). CIA officers live and work overseas to establish a network of human “assets” in the field.
  • The Directorate of Intelligence (DI) analyzes a variety of sourced material and provides reports, briefings, and papers on foreign intelligence issues. Their intelligence analysis helps in the formulation of policy that senior policy makers can use.
  • The Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T) is responsible for using state of the art technology in the assessment and collection of information. They use the expertise from various disciplines that include computer programmers, scientists, and analysts for these assessments.
  • The Directorate of Support (DS) provides international clandestine. They are responsible for financial and medical services, logistics, and the security of CIA personnel. This directorate also offers support within the Intelligence Community.

The People Who Work for the CIA

The mission of the CIA is to “Preempt threats and further US national security objectives by collecting intelligence that matters, producing objective all-source analysis, conducting effective covert action as directed by the President, and safeguarding the secrets that help keep our Nation safe.”

The CIA has many exciting career opportunities from a variety of professions. These include Analysts (operations research GS-1515), Scientists (GS-1300), Engineers (GS-800 Series), cyber security, information assurance, logistics, and Medical services (GS-600). You must be a U.S. citizen to apply for any jobs in the CIA. The main headquarters is in Washington, D.C.

In the Clandestine Service, there is a Core Collector career path. This career path offers 2 entry-level programs, one for ages 21-25 and 26-35. A Core Collector works full time in the Washington, D.C. area and the salary range is from $53,508 to $82,019 depending on time in grade and experience.

The 21-25 year old group goes through the Professional Trainee (PT) Program. They have to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. The program gives a person the opportunity to gain valuable experience in different areas at the Washington D.C. headquarters. These assignments help in the training and field deployment.

The 26-35 year old group goes through The Clandestine Service (CST) Program. This is an 18 month long program. The applicant must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. In addition, they should also have several years of business and or military experience.

The Core Collector career path has 2 primary job categories. They are designated as either Core Collection Operations Officers (OO) or Collection Management Officers (CMO). In either category, the person is required to be fully engaged in all the activities relevant to clandestine operations while in overseas assignments.

Another unique and interesting career path is Counterintelligence Threat Analyst. This is a full time position, with a salary range from $50,861 to $98,305 and maybe paid higher depending upon a person’s level of experience. An applicant will need a bachelors or a master’s degree in such fields as security, electrical engineering, telecommunications field and a mix of international and technical areas.

The Counterintelligence (CI) analyst has to identify, monitor, and review foreign intelligence entities, who try to collect sensitive security information on U.S. persons, emerging technologies, and other areas of national interest. They collaborate with other intelligence counterparts, produce both long and short-term written assessments, and can brief U.S. policy makers.

The CIA is responsible for protecting our country and their mission is to provide information, insights, and actions that are in support of a tactical and strategic advantage for the United States.

So if you can keep a secret and want to work for the premiere spy agency, then check out the CIA.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.

About The Author

A Pennsylvania native, Betty Boyd moved to the Tennessee Valley in 1994. She retired in early 2012 after 30 years of Government service. Boyd was an Acquisition Manager/IT Manager/ Project Manager during her 30-year career. Boyd also served as a supervisor and team leader during her career. In 2012 Boyd founded a consulting firm, Boyd Consulting Services, which offers writing services to clients and companies. For more information about these writing services see the following website: http://www.BettyBoydWriting.com/. Betty attended Athens State University, Athens, AL and received a B.B.A. in Management of Technology in 2000. She received her Masters of Science degree from Syracuse University with a concentration in Information Management in 2007. Boyd is a certified Level III contracting professional and she received a Masters level certificate in Project Management from the National Defense University in 2008.