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How to Become A CIA Agent

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Should I Become a CIA Agent?

If you want to join the field as a CIA agent, then read the following information for more details.

The CIA is an agency of the US government whose main purpose is to monitor the activities of other countries and address any potential threats using its CIA agents. This information is used to devise and execute operations that are crucial to the safety of US citizens. To say that becoming a CIA agent is competitive is an understatement. It’s crucial that you’re highly educated. There are a number of degree options you can pursue if you want to become a CIA agent. You must hold a bachelor’s degree with a GPA of at least 3.0 before you’ll get your foot in the door. To become a CIA agent you might consider getting your bachelor’s degree in homeland security, computer forensics, cyber security, or another criminal justice program. Because the CIA looks for a diverse range of people to assume positions as agents, it might interest you to pursue a degree in science, engineering, technology, foreign languages, or administration as well. No matter the degree you pursue, CIA agents must have sharp analytical and decision making skills. Comprehensive background checks are performed on everyone who applies. So beyond your degree it’s important you’ve avoided any illegal dealings and demonstrated a strong sense of ethics and loyalty. If your application is accepted and you’re contacted, you will have to undergo various medical and psychological evaluations. Once you’re chosen by the CIA and given a place in the professional trainee program, you’ll be stationed in Washington DC for two years for training purposes. During those years, you’ll work as an operations desk officer and a collection management officer. Dedication and hard work can ensure that you gain entry in the clandestine service trainee program is that’s the direction you want to go in. You must choose a staff operations officer post when you complete the service training. These officers provide support and research to those posted abroad. A career as a CIA agent is rewarding and prestigious. Learn more about becoming a CIA agent by requesting more information above.



A Bachelor’s Degree is the minimum education you will need.

Major Requirement

Should be at least 18 years old and have US citizenship.


Not Required



Key Skills

Quick thinking, Out-of-the-box thinking, Physical fitness, etc.

Annual Mean Salary (2019) – National

$86,030 (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)

Job Outlook (2019 – 2029)

5% (Police and Detectives)


      Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that Police and Detectives will enjoy a 5% increase in job opportunities during the next decade, 2019 and 2029.


Sources: O*Net Online and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

You will need to possess a number of skills in order to make it as a successful CIA Agent. The most important ones include critical thinking, complex problem solving and social perceptiveness among others. Moreover, agents are expected to be tech savvy and especially well-versed in graphic software, photo imaging and map creation software, etc.  

Career Requirements

In order to make it as a CIA Agent, you should ideally have a Bachelor’s degree. An advanced college degree will enhance your prospects even further. As a rule, you are not obligated to complete an undergraduate degree in order to apply. Other aspects of your candidature, such as quality of life experiences will also be considered. However, college education especially at an advanced level is a standard requirement if you plan on becoming an intelligence analyst or an overseas officer with the CIA.  

Steps to Become a CIA Agent

You must follow the procedure described below to become a CIA Agent.

  1. Research Thoroughly about Different Career Programs

The CIA’s official website provides details about different career paths and fields of employment offered by the agency. Information about the eligibility criteria and salary levels is also available. Go through the available vacancies and pick the job(s) that interest you.

  1. Initiate Your Online Application

Once you have decided on the positions you want to apply for, the next step is to initiate the online application. This portion has the following components.

  • Creation of Account

This is the first step when initiating your online application. After your account is set up, you must submit an employment application within 3 days. At the end of this period, the account will be disabled.

  • Search and Pick Your Preferred Jobs

Go through the available vacancies and apply for the one(s) that interest you by initiating the application package.

  • Fill out the Application Details

The application will require the following information about your candidature.

  • Background.
  • Professional expertise, skills, abilities and knowledge.
  • Complete employment history.
  • Education.
  • Licenses and certifications.
  • Knowledge of foreign countries.
  • Military experience.
  • Language proficiency.
  • Preferences.
  • Complete the Personnel Evaluation Form

This will require the following information.

  • Background investigation.
  • Security clearances.
  • Polygraph test.
  • Selective service (if relevant).
  • Military service record (if any).
  • Employment problems (if any).
  • Drug usage.
  • Violation of any laws in the past.
  • Criminal convictions.
  • Delinquent federal debt.
  • Employment with the Peace Corps.

How Long Does It Take to Become a CIA Agent?

If you want to become a CIA agent, you must begin by obtaining a 4-year bachelor’s degree in the relevant field. For instance, a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Public Policy, Foreign Languages, Business Administration or Criminology makes you eligible to apply for a job at the CIA. Candidates who possess knowledge of foreign languages or those with experience in law enforcement are often preferred.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a CIA Agent?

Even though the requirements for each post vary based on the nature of the job, there are some basic criteria that all candidates need to fulfill. For instance, all candidates must:

  • Be permanent US citizens.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in a subject that is relevant to the position they have applied for.
  • Possess knowledge of International Affairs.
  • Be fluent in reading, writing and speaking the English language.
  • Clear all background checks.
  • Pass the Polygraph test and the drugs test.
  • Not have any criminal record.

How Much Can I Make after Becoming a CIA Agent?

As with almost everything about CIA agents, their salary figures are confidential as well. As a point of reference, lets use the income figures for a related category of Detectives and Criminal Investigators.

As per the latest data provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2019, Detectives and Criminal Investigators earned $86,303 annually as mean income. Their annual median wage was $83,170.

Job Outlook

Detectives and Criminal Investigators will enjoy 1% increase in employment during 2019 and 2029. The broader category of Police and Detectives is estimated to enjoy a 5% increase in job opportunities for the same period. These figures are from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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