The CIA delivers global intelligence and insights to America’s senior policymakers. We need a diverse group of skilled professionals and students to contribute to our mission. Visit cia.gov/careers for additional information and to apply – and discover what it’s like to work at America’s premier intelligence Agency.
List of CIA Myths
Fact or fiction?
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- Statement #1: An average day as a CIA employee involves a car chase in a foreign city.
- False. Narrow alleyways and bugs in high heel shoes are far more common on TV than they are at the CIA. Supporting a worldwide intelligence operation is glamorous though – you’re collecting intelligence on the cutting edge of global change, after all.
- Statement #2: You can use social media if you work for the CIA.
- The truth is, CIA employees can use social media. We just have some guidelines to protect the men and women who serve our country. There can be plenty of friending and following and liking in your future (just not during the work day).
- Statement #3: Hardly anyone ever makes it through the CIA background check.
- Definitely not true. There are specific qualifications CIA candidates must meet, but cutting class once or twice your senior year won’t DQ you from a career protecting your nation. We ensure that only the most qualified and committed candidates are selected, but those decisions are based on a thorough and stringent application process. Not on a couple parking tickets.
- Statement #4: You can work at the CIA if you have a tattoo.
- True. CIA employees are as diverse as the nation we protect. Including people with tattoos.
- Statement #5: You can only work at the CIA if your family’s been in the US for generations.
- False. US citizenship is US citizenship, no matter how long you’ve had it. No matter if your parents are citizens or if your grandparents still live overseas. We’re interested in your abilities, not your tenure.
- Statement #6: The CIA only hires Ivy League students.
- False. The brilliant men and women of CIA come from all sorts of backgrounds – including community colleges, state schools and work experience. How you got the skills we need doesn’t matter. Using them to protect our nation does.
- Statement #7: The CIA won’t hire anyone who has ever illegally downloaded copyright protected information.
- This one's true and false. We understand that people have all made choices in the past that they don’t make anymore. And as our laws have grown to prevent illegal downloading, so have our expectations of our employees. What we’re looking for is honesty and adherence to the law.
- Statement #8: Once you start at the CIA, you’ll never see your family or friends again.
- False. The work we do may be secret, but your life doesn’t have to be. Most of our careers are at CIA headquarters, and include a wider range of occupations than any commercial enterprise. You’re welcome to talk to your mom as much or as little as you like.
- Statement #9: Job Requirement #1: Super Powers.
- False. Believe it or not, you don’t have to know karate, or be able to withstand a jolt of electricity, or outrun a sports car to work at the CIA. You must, however, possess deep intellect, the ability to make good decisions and dedication to your nation.
- Statement #10: You might have to spy on your family.
- False. Our work as America’s premier intelligence agency does involve collecting information from sources outside the United States, but we would never ask you to spy on a family member.
- Statement #11: If you don’t speak a foreign language, don’t bother applying.
- False. Although the CIA values and seeks people with foreign language skills, that doesn’t mean it’s a requirement to obtain a job.
- Statement #12: You’ll get to use lots of secret gadgets.
- Actually, there's a little truth to this one. Spy movies like to show off all kinds of high-tech gear, but real CIA Officers don’t necessarily use them. An analyst wouldn’t need a sneaky device to write a report. But our scientists and engineers do get to work on technology so advanced, it’s classified.
Top 10 Reasons to Work at the CIA
- 1. You’ll feel good about making a difference for your country.
Many employers will tell you that you can make a difference in your career, but few offer the opportunity to do so on behalf of your country. You can do that at the CIA because we offer a wide variety of global employment opportunities that position you to help keep America safe — on the front line of human intelligence as a Clandestine Service Officer, or utilizing your talents in fields such as science, engineering and technology, analysis, foreign languages and administration.
- 2. You’ll be on the leading edge of your career specialty.
No matter what your individual role is or what field you work in at the CIA — you’ll have a demanding career that puts you at the forefront of global events. That’s because all of our professionals are part of America’s first line of defense, providing the support and information necessary to help us protect the nation. It’s a sometimes demanding and always critical opportunity for you to apply your unique expertise, experience and personal initiative to performing in a position where each decision you make — either on the scene or behind the scenes — can enable you to propel your career further.
- 3. You’ll get to work with really, really smart people.
At the CIA, we strive to maintain a unique environment that combines smart, focused people from a multitude of occupations and cultures, and with assorted abilities and experiences, in order to produce a dynamic workforce with unlimited potential. This mind-broadening thinking enables us to expand our knowledge base to achieve mission goals and take a deeper look at world events in order to understand them better. It also helps us to establish an inspired, inclusive environment that allows our workforce to give all it has to offer as we confront the intelligence challenges of today and tomorrow.
- 4. No day will be the same. Ever.
When you come to work at the CIA, you’re not just taking on an ordinary job opportunity that takes you from 9 to 5 through the same, ongoing tasks day in and day out. Instead, you’re taking on important and exciting work in a dynamic ever-changing environment where daily world events challenge your career skills, where you’re part of a group of individuals who possess extraordinary integrity and intellectual skills, and where you can perform as part of a unique team in service to the nation.
- 5. You’ll be at the forefront of global events.
The world is rapidly changing every day — which makes each day of your CIA career an exciting adventure. That’s because you’ll be at the heart of world-altering events as you apply your skills to helping us collect, assimilate, analyze and report information in support of US government policy decisions. Where would you rather be? Hearing about global events after the fact from a news reporter, or learning about them firsthand as they’re happening? That choice is up to you.
- 6. Your career can go in many directions without switching employers.
In the private sector, if you want to shift from one career field to another, or even just experience another work location, it is likely you will have to leave your current employer behind in favor of another position at another company. That isn’t so at the CIA. Here, you'll find a supportive environment where you can excel both professionally and personally. You will be challenged to be your absolute best with fair compensation and rewards. And you will be given the freedom of mobility throughout the agency, so you can grow and experience your CIA career to the fullest.
- 7. You’ll work with a diversity of people with many different interests.
In order for us to meet our mission of protecting the nation’s security interests, the CIA relies upon a workforce as diverse as America itself — the most diverse nation on earth. Therefore, you’ll find that our professionals represent men and women from a variety of nationalities, races, ethnicities and age groups, educational backgrounds and much more. It is through their combined attributes that we can create the diverse demographic, functional and intellectual views that are of vital importance to our innovation, agility, collection and analysis functions.
- 8. You’ll contribute to the work of a nation at the center of intelligence.
As the premier agency responsible for intelligence about the ever-changing political, social, economic, technological and military environment, the CIA continuously offers exciting and challenging career opportunities to our new employees. For instance, our professionals have played critical roles in detaining al Qaeda operatives and associates, they have worked against international terrorism and new threats from weapons of mass destruction, and they have helped to prevent the spread of biological weapons. Our mission encompasses many key roles such as these — all of which require staying ahead of international developments.
- 9. You never have to talk about your work while away from the job.
If you have ever held a position where people were constantly asking you to share your knowledge for their own personal or professional gain, you will appreciate the difference a CIA career can make. Here, you won’t feel compelled to respond to such curious or invasive questions because you get to leave your day’s work behind at the office — or out in the field. It’s just one more way that you can claim your time off as your own — without the stress of worrying about how to divulge just what it is that you do all day.
- 10. Federal benefits programs are highly competitive.
A career at the CIA is rewarding in many ways, from providing the opportunity to serve the nation to receiving a comprehensive variety of federal benefits that are hard to match. From flexible work schedules and time off, to exceptional health care plans, retirement and savings programs, child care centers and more, you’ll be rewarded with a benefits package that reflects your dedication and contributions to helping us succeed in our crucial mission.