I’ve heard a lot of different theories about how the CIA recruits new CIA agents and employees. Most of these theories are probably developed from watching bad spy films. I once had a friend tell me that the CIA tried to recruit him as an agent. His story was exactly the same as that Collin Farrell movie about him and Al Pacino working for the CIA. Despite all of the speculation, this information is not very hard to come across if you do a little research. Here’s what it takes to work for the CIA.

First of all, there are a lot of other jobs at the CIA other than being a spy. Yes, being a spy is probably the coolest CIA job, but it’s certainly not the only one. The CIA is often hiring computer scientists, engineers, computer programmers, technology experts, translators, psychologists, economists, and even secretaries. You don’t have to have ten years of hand-to-hand combat experience, or know how to disarm explosives to work for the CIA. The most important thing, is that your smart and well educated.

This might seem overly obvious, but to apply for a job at the CIA all you have to do is go to their website (www.cia.gov) and submit your resume. Yeah, seriously, that’s it. I know, it’s a little disappointing. Anyways, before you decide to apply for a job at the CIA, you should know what to expect. You have to be drug free for at least 12 months, you have to undergo a medical examination, you have to take a polygraph test, you have to be an expert in your field, you have to be a U.S. citizen, and you have to be at least 18 years old. That’s it. About 10% of the people who apply to work for the CIA end up getting a job offer and making it through all of the testing.

Although working for the CIA may seem like one of the coolest jobs in the world, it actually has a lot of drawbacks. The CIA is a government agency, so the pay is not that great. Believing that you will make six figures a year working for the CIA is false assumption, to say the least. The CIA does not disclose the salaries of their employees, but you could expect to start out somewhere around $30,000 – $40,000 depending on what position you apply for. On the bright side, they will pay for most of your work related expenses. Another downside to working for the CIA, is that you can’t ever talk about what you do at work. It must be pretty tough to work for an agency like the CIA and never be able to tell anyone what you do. You will most likely be required to move to Virginia. That is where the CIA headquarters are located. So, if you’re pretty attached to where you live, you might want to reconsider working for the CIA.

Becoming a “spy” for the CIA is a bit more difficult than landing one of the more common positions. If you want to become a spy, you will be required to have at least a BA or Masters degree, you have to be younger than 35 years old, and you have to be completely fluent in a foreign language. Nevertheless, you can still apply for a position as a spy for the CIA by submitting your resume directly to the CIA. However, when you submit your resume, don’t say that you’re applying to be a “spy.” The official job title is “Field Operations Officer.” Knowing all of this really makes those spy movies look far-fetched, doesn’t it?