All those spy movies weren't completely made-up: the CIA really does hire analysts to collect, sift through, and report on highly sensitive and specialized information. Securing a job in this sector requires a bachelor's degree as well as job-specific training at a CIA facility and the ability to pass background checks and other testing. Speaking a foreign language is also an asset.
CIA analysts, also known as Directorate of Intelligence (DI) officers, gather and analyze confidential information from a variety of sources for the purposes of national security. Individuals who qualify to become CIA analysts must meet educational and background requirements and then undergo specialized training to prepare them for their future careers.
|Required Education||Bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree related to their areas of specialty and training through a Career Analyst Program|
|Other Requirements||Foreign language fluency, U.S. citizenship, pass comprehensive background check and evaluation|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||4% (for police and detectives)|
|Median Annual Salary (May 2015)*||$77,210 (for detectives and criminal investigators)|
Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
Training Program Information for a CIA Analyst
Gathering relevant intelligence information used by high-ranking government officials is not an easy task, and newly hired Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analysts must complete specialized training to learn how to effectively perform their jobs. Analysts complete training by attending the Career Analyst Program (CAP) at the Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis. The program teaches agents fundamental skills required to perform essential, job-related tasks as research, analysis, briefing and report writing. Subjects such as the history and purpose of the CIA, ethical practices, techniques to analyze deception and counterintelligence are also covered.
CIA Analyst Ongoing Training
In addition to initial CAP training, CIA analysts typically return to the Sherman Kent School throughout their careers to receive ongoing training. This training keeps CIA agents informed about changes in technology, new global developments and key issues affecting the intelligence community. The Sherman Kent School also provides regional studies and foreign language courses, which can assist agents in acquiring the cultural and linguistic skills necessary to complete overseas assignments.
Requirements for a CIA Analyst
The CIA employs a variety of different types of analysts, including military, political, leadership, counterterrorism, intelligence, counter intelligence, targeting and science analysts. The specific requirements to qualify to become an analyst and enter the CAP training program vary based on the chosen specialization area. Typically, applicants possess at least a bachelor's degree related to their chosen specialty, though field experience is considered. Many accepted candidates hold master's degrees or even doctoral degrees. Additionally, most positions require fluency in at least one foreign language. Potential agents must also be US Citizens able to pass comprehensive background checks, polygraph tests, medical examinations and psychological evaluations.
Salary and Job Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes intelligence analysts, such as CIA analysts, in its employment and salary statistics for detectives and criminal investigators. The BLS reported the median salary for detectives and criminal investigators was $77,210 as of 2015.
Analysts work in various specializations, so your bachelor's degree should relate to your chosen area, and a master's or doctoral degree further improves your chances of success. Speaking a foreign language is considered a big asset as well, but you won't get through the door of CIA training school unless you can pass medical and psych evaluations and your background check is clear. Expect to complete ongoing training and education throughout your career as an analyst.