The Central Intelligence Body (CIA), a government agency tasked with protecting the United States from a wide range of dangers and hard situations, is always on the lookout for fresh members. The organization receives an average of more than 10,000 applications every month.
It’s one method for the CIA to get the smartest and brightest students pursuing careers in high-demand professions to get excited about their futures as CIA officers and agents by bringing them to colleges and universities around the country.
Where the CIA recruits Agents and Officers
Expect the CIA to primarily recruit new talent from the most prestigious and well-connected colleges and universities in the country. Inside Higher Ed noted that some of these universities, including Harvard University, have been known to allow the controversial practice of clandestine enrollment of CIA operatives into the school in order to scout for new potential.
However, CIA recruiters don’t only go to the most prestigious and pricey Ivy League schools. These days, according to CNBC, the CIA also sends recruiters to less prestigious local universities to find potential employees. CIA agents provide one-on-one career counseling to students at technical schools through presentations, question-and-answer sessions, and other events. Even small colleges and universities have CIA recruitment drives.
You might be shocked to learn that the CIA isn’t just looking for new college grads to join its ranks. According to National Public Radio (NPR), up to 20% of freshly recruited CIA officers and operatives are mid-career professionals with specialized talents.
CIA College Recruiting Efforts Have Changed
CIA recruiting on college campuses is prevalent now, but that wasn’t always the case. According to NPR, the CIA used to recruit students at schools in a stealthy manner that no one knew about. There was a time in the 1970s when a visit from a CIA recruiter on campus would have triggered student outrage.
Things have changed a lot since then. According to the CIA, student demonstrations were less common in the 1980s and the number of people interested in a career in the CIA increased significantly.
Additionally, the ranks of CIA officers and agents have become increasingly diversified in terms of both their occupations (e.g., law enforcement, intelligence, etc.) and their educational backgrounds.
Even while criminal justice, computer technology, and foreign language degrees are still valuable to the CIA, the agency is also on the lookout for candidates with a background in business and accounting as well as economics and science.
What Should Students Know About Working for the CIA?
The CIA isn’t simply another job. First, you’ll need a security clearance, which might take months and requires a polygraph (or “lie detector”) exam, to receive. Opportunities with the CIA sometimes need relocation, particularly to the Washington, D.C. region, or local or foreign travel.
The US government will also do a background check on you. The CIA may refuse to hire you if you have a criminal record or a history of drug usage within the last year. Some of the work you undertake for the CIA will need to be kept secret, depending on your position within the agency.
There are several perks to working with the CIA, including the opportunity to serve your nation and substantial income and benefits.
What Happens If the CIA Doesn’t Recruit From Your School?
No CIA recruitment events have been scheduled at your college’s career center, but that doesn’t mean you won’t receive the chance to work for the CIA. Even if the agency isn’t currently recruiting at your institution, you can still apply for many of the agency’s student opportunities.
Internships with the CIA are a great way to get academic credit while also gaining useful professional experience and contacts inside the organization. The CIA offers undergraduate and graduate funding opportunities. You must work a paid summer for the CIA in your profession and get up to $18,000 in financial aid for one calendar year as a result.