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How can I join the CIA?

Joining The CIA

Lindsay Moran (Former CIA Spy) gives expert video advice on: How can I join the CIA?; What types of tests will I take before being accepted to the CIA?; What type of training should I have before I apply to the CIA? and more...

What types of tests will I take before being accepted to the CIA?

Before being accepted into the agency, you usually take a battery of tests to include your standard math and verbal SAT-type tests, although not the SAT itself, and then some psychological tests. They give you a long psychological test. It's about 500 questions. And then, of course, you'll take the polygraph test. Nobody gets hired by the CIA without first passing the polygraph test.

What type of training should I have before I apply to the CIA?

There's no real training that you can have in order to apply to the CIA. During the whole testing and interview process, they're looking for a number of attributes, and they're looking to find out who you are as a person and where you might fit in at the CIA. Would you be a good case officer or spy? Would you be a good analyst? When you take the test and do the interviews, there's a lot of assessment of your personality that's going on, to determine if you're the kind of person that they want, and if so, where you would fit in there.

How old is too old to work at the CIA?

The CIA doesn't have any age limits to work at the organization itself. Within the Clandestine Service, you have to be below the age of 35 to start the Clandestine Service training to become a spy. They used to take people right out of college, and so the cadre of spy trainees was very young. But the CIA has realized that they'd like people to have a little more life experience, to have some spies who have maybe already lived overseas or have already worked elsewhere, and that those people are generally the more effective spies.

If I'm not a U.S. citizen, will I be able to work for the CIA?

No. The CIA will only hire U.S. citizens. That's not to say that if you were born in a foreign country, or at one time were a citizen of another country you cannot work at the CIA. You can but you must become a U.S. citizen first.

How much money could I make working for the CIA?

The range of salaries at the CIA is like that of any government organization. So you shouldn't expect to join the CIA and make millions. Usually if there's somebody who's making a lot of money at the agency, they fall under suspicion because the agency starts to wonder where that person's getting their money from. So it's a pretty typical government salary, but if you're living overseas for a large part of your life, there are a lot of expenses that are taken care of for you and so you are able to save a lot of money even on what might be considered a lowly government salary.

Can I tell my friends and family I work for the CIA?

The CIA doesn't expressly forbid you from telling your friends and family that you work there or that you're a covert employee. I should clarify that there are a lot of people who work for the CIA who are overt employees, meaning that they can tell their family that they work at the CIA, either as analysts, or they work in the library; something that's not a covert position. If you're a covert officer or a spy, it's expected that you will keep that information pretty much within your nuclear family. You should just tell your spouse or your parents, and you should not share that information with friends. A lot of people work in the clandestine service and even their children don't know where they're working, and sometimes even their spouses don't even know where they're really working.