Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Become a CIA Agent

There are job openings for a life of intrigue, adventure and secrecy. Becoming a CIA agent is an attainable goal. Read the tips listed below and learn about how you can promote justice and maintain homeland security by becoming a CIA agent.

  1. Basic Requirements The CIA has basic requirements that you must fulfill before you will be considered as a CIA agent. You must be a United States citizen under 35 years of age. If you're married, your spouse must also be a United States citizen. You must have a clean background free of criminal activity and drug and alcohol abuse [source: Legal Criminal Justice].
  2. Education You must have at least a bachelor's degree with a grade point average between 3.0 and 4.0. Preferred areas of study include economics, behavioral sciences and international relations. You're more likely to be considered for the job if you know a number of languages. Middle Eastern languages, including Arabic, are most valuable [source: CJED].
  3. Testing The CIA administers rigorous testing to determine whether you are a desirable candidate. Assessments include medical and psychological examinations, a polygraph interview and a thorough background investigation. The background investigation attempts to establish your history, character, reliability and judgment [source: CIA].
  4. Training If you're deemed a desirable candidate, the CIA will offer you a two-year, conditional, employment offer. You will be required to live in Washington, DC and undergo extensive training to determine whether you possess the standards and work ethic expected of a CIA agent. If you pass the training program, you will be offered an official assignment [source: CJED].

Remember that the CIA is a thorough and meticulous employer. It often takes years for the background check and medical assessment to be completed. Being a CIA agent not only takes determination and skill, it requires patience.