CIA Field Operative Training

The job looks glamorous and exciting, but Central Intelligence Agency field agents know the road to high-profile jobs can be circuitous. Rigorous mental and physical conditioning starts even before making application, as the agency vigorously recruits undergraduates ready to begin training in their early 20s. Start the process of application as soon as possible through CIA-sponsored training programs and your career path will be as exciting as you choose to make it.

  1. Shape Up

    • Get into the best physical and mental shape possible before you apply for field operative training. Undertake psychological counseling to make certain you’ll be able to withstand rigorous physical and psychological training. Choose another line of work if your academic record isn’t outstanding—between a 3.0 and 4.0 gpa with high SAT scores.

    Learn Foreign Languages

    • Undertake the study of one or more foreign languages before you apply to CIA operative training school, as being fluent in one or more will get you to the top of the admission process. Expect a higher salary and classification once you’re a full-fledged field operative if you’re fluent in multiple languages.

    CIA Co-Op Training

    • Apply to the agency’s Co-op Training Program to get your foot in the door, as the CIA is seeking students in these fields for jobs: engineering, computer science, mathematics, economics, physical sciences, foreign languages, area studies, business administration, accounting, international relations, finance, logistics, human resources, geography, national security studies, military and foreign affairs, political science and even graphic design.

    CIA Undergraduate Scholar Program

    • Aim for the CIA Undergraduate Scholar Program (apply between Aug. 1 and Oct. 15) or Undergraduate Internship Program if your interests are primarily foreign affairs, international studies, foreign policy, languages, cartography and political science. Move to Washington, D.C., if you’re admitted to either. Expect a modest stipend if accepted into the CIA Scholar’s Program.

    Apply for Admission

    • Make formal application for field operative training once you’ve completed any of the aforementioned training programs or if you’ve completed college and believe your background is a good agency fit. Undergo rigorous background checks and tests before being assigned to the Sherman Kent School of Intelligence Analysis, known as “The Farm,” the main CIA operative training campus.

    Career Analyst Curricula

    • Undertake classes that fall under the umbrella of intelligence analysis, including values, traditions and history of the CIA, foreign languages, regional studies, core intelligence issues, teamwork, global and technological change, and courses in leadership skills. Expect to be assigned to the Career Analyst Program (CAP) as a start where you’ll learn basic thinking, writing and briefing techniques including denial and deception analysis and warning.

    Additional Training

    • Move up to intermediate and advanced level training once you complete basics, studying advanced analytic methods, leadership and career development that are regularly scheduled outside “The Farm” through the auspices of the National War College or the Army or Naval War College. Take as many CIA University language courses as time allows positioning you for a field operative job--particularly Arabic, Persian, Chinese and Russian.

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References

  • Photo Credit agent showing a flat image by forca from Fotolia.com

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