Intelligence Community

  • Are you a United States citizen?
  • Do you have a passion for ensuring the safety of the United States?
  • Are you an adventurous person, interested in understanding the nuts and bolts of U.S. Foreign Policy?

If so, then you should consider applying for a career in the intelligence community.

Career Areas

There are opportunities available for all types of degrees. From international relations to mathematics to business management, there is an opportunity to put your skills to work in the intelligence community. The following is just a sampling of possible career paths.

  • Intelligence Analyst — the task of an Intelligence Analyst is to process raw information and transform it into documents the Intelligence Community can use to understand various issues within the United States borders and around the world.
  • Intelligence Collection — as an intelligence collector, you may live and work anywhere in the world. You must be able to establish and build interpersonal relationships. The ability to work in ambiguous and unstructured situations is critical.
  • Science & Technology — S&T intelligence analysts use their technical background to analyze threats to national security. Other S&T professionals design technological applications that collect intelligence.
Application Processes

The application process varies depending on the agency and career area. If you already have a security clearance, a successful application to an intelligence community job can be as simple as going to a career fair and landing a position on the spot. It can also take longer than one year and involve several interviews. Most agencies have established programs in a variety of career areas for recent graduates, and many intelligence agencies have internship programs for students. Internship deadlines are often early, because interns generally must receive a security clearance before beginning work. Many intelligence agencies maintain comprehensive online application systems, separate from USAJOBS.

Positions in the intelligence community tend to be very competitive. Foreign languages, foreign area experience, and military experience can help your application get noticed by hiring officials. In addition to internships, certain fellowships and scholarships can also help you along the path to a career in the intelligence community. Inquire about these scholarships at the career center.

Salaries and Benefits

As government employees, members of the Intelligence Community generally receive excellent benefits. Salaries are competitive with other government positions. The Intelligence Community uses approximately the same pay scale as the rest of the Federal Government.

You might also consider applying to intelligence contractors. Contractors do the same work as government employees. They usually receive higher salaries than their government counterparts, but they often do not enjoy the same level of benefits. Government employees also have greater job security than contractors. However, the application process to get a job with a contractor is usually shorter than Federal Government application processes.

Fast Facts
  • Any application to the Intelligence Community is a sensitive matter. If you apply to an internship or a full-time position, you should exercise discretion in discussing your application.
  • There are seventeen different intelligence agencies in the United States government. Choose wisely the organization to which you decide to apply. Internships are often a good foot in the door.
  • Most positions in the Intelligence Community require a security clearance. The process of obtaining a security clearance is often lengthy. Be aware of long application timelines. Some clearance processes require you to pass a polygraph assessment. Some polygraph assessments involve invasive questioning about past behavior. Factors such as drug use, alcoholism, large amounts of debt, and significant foreign travel can slow the clearance process.