How to Become a CIA Analyst

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When you have a mind that seemingly pulls unrelated facts together to arrive at an outcome -- and your deduction is correct -- you might have what it takes to become a CIA analyst. The CIA gathers intelligence from around the world to anticipate the threats against the nation's security. It provides the president with regular and objective analysis of terrorist activity and economics, global science and technology issues, and foreign leadership situations. CIA analysts spend most of their time combing over intelligence data from many sources to develop analytical observations, much like fitting the pieces of a puzzle together to form a picture.

Get an Advanced Degree

  • The first step to becoming an analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency starts with getting an advanced degree. Even though some of the agency's offices accept highly qualified analysts with undergraduate degrees, most prefer candidates who have advanced degrees geared toward the specific positions within the agency. Some pertinent areas of study include economics, politics, psychology, science and technology, foreign affairs, and medical and health analysis.

Hone Critical Thinking

  • Hone your critical thinking skills if you're aiming for a job at the CIA. Analysts must be able to cobble together information from foreign media, agents in the field, human sources and satellite systems. The information may seem to be piecemeal or contradictory; the analyst must find a way to make intelligent, objective sense of these bits of data to determine what may be going on. This could apply to such diverse topics as a country and its leader's health, a political maneuver for power or the economic status of a terrorist group.

Develop Skills and Experience

  • Be able to demonstrate that you can communicate intelligently in written and verbal form. Your written or oral briefs, as the result of a statistical, socioeconomic and political analysis, may end up on the desks of those high up in government. Briefs must be accurate, objective and comprehensive. Experience in a variety of fields, such as systems networking, financial analysis, military intelligence, weapons of mass destruction and criminal profiling, can prepare you for the position. The CIA also welcomes people with medical degrees, a science background or technological expertise, and those who conduct data research.

Submit an Application

  • When applying for a position as a CIA analysts, be prepared for a long process. To apply for a job, create an online account at the agency's website, and submit your resume and application within three days of creating the account. The agency looks for job candidates who value personal integrity and truthfulness, because national security is often at stake. Analysts must also be able to keep national secrets. Candidates must be free of any drug use within the previous 12 months, must not have any criminal convictions and be willing to undergo a rigorous background check. Applicants accepted for screening must be ready to take a polygraph test and pass it.




  • Photo Credit BartekSzewczyk/iStock/Getty Images

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