What Does It Take To Get Into The Cia

Agency Overview

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an independent agency of the United States Government that is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and providing intelligence in support of the foreign policy objectives of the U.S. government. The CIA is charged with countering the efforts of foreign intelligence agencies, gathering information on the various aspects of global activity, providing support to other U.S. Government agencies during national security events, and protecting U.S. interests from external threats. As one of the most renowned and recognized spy agencies in the world, the CIA has seen a lot of action, including some of the most important moments in world history.

Requirements for CIA Duty

A CIA officer must have the highest standards of integrity, reliability, intelligence and character to be able to protect the secrets of the Agency and to operate within the highest levels of trust, responsibility and discretion. Applicants must be willing to relocate and accept assignments in any part of the world. In addition, all CIA officers must U.S. citizens and must obtain a Top Secret security clearance.
The Agency hires a variety of professionals with expertise in a number of disciplines, including intelligence analysis and collection, scientific and technical operations, language proficiency, counter-intelligence operations, information technology, and more. Applicants must also demonstrate previous work experience, academic excellence and an unimpeachable level of personal integrity.


The CIA looks for individuals who possess a combination of knowledge, skills, and abilities. Most people who join the Agency have a college degree in an area related to their field of expertise. This could be a degree in foreign languages, international relations, or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Bachelor’s degrees and higher in areas such as computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics or economics are also highly desirable.


The CIA requires applicants to pass the Professional Qualification Test (PQT). This multiple-choice test is designed to measure the candidates’ knowledge of general and foreign intelligence, as well as their abilities to analyze complex information and draw logical conclusions. The PQT also tests applicants’ aptitude in their chosen field of expertise.

Background Investigation

Applicants must also pass an extensive background investigation. The CIA will check candidates’ references and verify information by interviewing family members and friends. The Agency may also ask for a polygraph exam, to assess the integrity and honesty of the applicant.

Application Process

If an applicant’s credentials check out and they make it through the testing process, they will enter the application process. This involves a thorough review and evaluation of the applicant’s educational credentials, work experience, and other skills. After this review is complete, there will likely be an interview process to assess the applicant’s capability and suitability for the CIA.

Security Clearance

If the applicant is approved, they will be given an interim security clearance. This clearance allows them to access certain information and documents that are relevant to their position. Once the security clearance is granted, the applicant will be given access to additional information and documents related to their job and agency operations.


Applicants must complete training programs designed to acclimate them to the Agency’s core mission, operations, and protocols. This includes training on the rules and regulations of the CIA, intelligence analysis and collection, communication and other skills related to the position.

Mental and Physical Fitness

CIA officers must also be in peak mental and physical condition. The Agency has high physical and psychological standards, and applicants must demonstrate that they are capable of working in high-risk and high-stress environments.

How to Get Started

If you think you have what it takes to be a CIA officer, the first step is to review the job postings and requirements on the CIA’s website. If you meet the minimum requirements, you can apply online or submit a hard-copy application package. The agency will then review your application to determine if you meet the qualifications. If you do, they will contact you to let you know the next steps in the process.


When applying to the CIA, it is important to research the agency, the requirements, and the positions available. Read any information published by the CIA and research the goals, objectives and scope of the agency’s work. This will help you to better understand the organization, its mission and its values.

Professionals’ Advice

When it comes to getting into the CIA, the best advice is to take your time in preparing and submitting your application materials. Make sure to complete the application accurately and to read the instructions thoroughly. It is also important to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the area of intelligence, as well as your ability to think strategically and apply sound judgment in difficult and uncertain circumstances.

Grit and Determination

Being accepted into the CIA is a long, challenging process that takes time, dedication, and persistence. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to perform in a culture of intelligence and high-pressure situations and have the resilience to embrace the constant change of assignments and locations. As with any career, it will take hard work and a determined attitude to get into the CIA.

Categories CIA

Rosemary Harrold is an accomplished writer and researcher who is both passionate and knowledgeable about the world of secret services. She gained an MSc in International Relations in 2017 and has since built on her expertise with numerous publications on intelligence agencies, their practices, and recent developments. Rosemary has been writing about IBM, CIA and FBI activities since then, as well as providing in-depth analysis on intelligence-related topics.

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