CIA Agent Salary And Career Guide 2023 All You Need To Know

Criminal Justice Career Guides Criminal Justice Degree

CIA Agent Salary And Career Guide 2023 All You Need To Know

CIA stands for Central Intelligence Agency. Its function is to collect, evaluate and disseminate foreign intelligence to assist the government and the president about dealing with foreign issues. In other words they perform spying role in the security system of US. They can take covert actions on the president’s request but are not allowed to make policies.

Also CIA is prohibited from intervening in domestic matters of the state such as law enforcement actions and policy making. is the foreign intelligence service of federal government of United states. Its headquarter is in George Bush Center for Intelligence Langley, Virginia, US. It was formed on September 18, 1947.

It is independent type of agency and Office of Strategic Services is its preceding agency. Its motto is “ The work of the nation. The Center of Intelligence.” Its unofficial motto is “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” It has total 21,575 employees and spends budget of $15 billion annually.

CIA Special Agent Salary

Starting Salaries In CIA:

Their salaries varies with their position, level of experience, skills and timings of their work. This ranges from $50,000 to $95,000.

The CIA engineers are offered higher starting salaries depending on their experiences. It ranges from $67,968 to $148,967.

The Special agent/investigators earn about $74,872 to $136,771.

The Protective agents are usually offered a salary from $50,408 to $95,026.

The Security Professionals are offered $46,745 to $73,917.

The Best Degree Paths For Becoming An FBI Agent : Complete Career Guide


According To Starting Salaries CIA Field Agent Salary In March 2020

Source: Central Intelligence Agency Salaries in the United States
Source: Central Intelligence Agency Salaries in the United States
Source: Central Intelligence Agency Salaries in the United States
Source: Central Intelligence Agency Salaries in the United States
Source: Central Intelligence Agency Salaries in the United States
Source: Central Intelligence Agency Salaries in the United States

Joining CIA

If you’re interested in a career with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), you’ll need to meet some basic eligibility requirements and complete an application process. Here’s what you need to know about pursuing a career with the CIA.

The CIA is looking for individuals with diverse backgrounds, skills, and experiences. To be eligible for a career with the CIA, you must be a U.S. citizen and have a valid U.S. passport. You must also be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.

The CIA’s application process includes a written test, a personal interview, and a security clearance check. If you’re selected to become a CIA agent, you’ll also be required to complete a comprehensive training program.

CIA offers job opportunities in tremendous fields, and its sole mission is to protect the national security of the United States. You can apply in the five categories which we have discussed previously. Once you have decided on the career path you wish to follow, you need to fulfill the requirements for that specific category.

After determining the field, you desire you need to make an official account through which you will send your application once you have created an account look for jobs that meet your requirements. You can apply for four positions at the same time.

Once this is done, you now have to complete your application package in which you are required to mention all the details of your background, skills, qualification, etc. You will also be asked to complete the personal evaluation form, which includes clearances and background investigations. The recruiter will review your application and contact you if you meet with the requirements of the agency.

Top 15 Most Useful Criminal Justice Major Full Guide Requirements Salary Jobs Internship Colleges


CIA Certification

CIA offers different programs to students who want to pursue a career in the CIA and serve the country. The programs for paid education are numerous from accounting and finance to foreign languages, economics, and engineering, and information technology.

CIA has four different educational programs that are offered in Washington, DC. The first one is undergraduate internships; this is a paid internship program that gives individuals an opportunity to work in the field.

It is a two-year associate degree that will open doors for you in the field of information and technology. Besides, this CIA also offers an undergraduate scholarship program; it is a four-year degree program that offers multiple courses in various categories.

The program is for graduating high school seniors, first-year undergraduate students and, in some cases, second-year undergraduate students. They want to attend an accredited college or university during the school year.

Central Intelligence Agency also provides graduation programs, both paid and on scholarship. The programs are offered to students who are entering their first or second year of a full-time accredited graduate program and full-time post-graduate students who are enrolled in an accredited doctoral program.

These programs are divided into five different categories; each has its own specialties. Students choose the programs that best suit their temperament.


This program is for those who are good thinkers or those who love to solve mysteries. Students learn how information studies and evaluated to help provide policymakers’ decisions.


They strengthen the national security and support foreign policy objectives. The programs include computer sciences and engineering. The experts use their technical and specialized skills in safeguarding the nation.


The professional uses their skills in tackling challenging and complex problems. These experts solve the technical issues which are arising in the modern ear. Courses like cyber security, app development, IT engineering, and software engineering are included in this category.

Enterprise & Support

The experts working in this section make sure that the official workings are done smoothly. They make sure that the International Headquarters of the CIE are maintaining their functions. The critical areas under this category are business administration, accounting and finance, security, logistics, art and design, library and information science, HR, and many more.

Foreign Language

The experts are central to everything the CIA does. They contribute to the agency by speaking, translating, and interpreting foreign languages.

CIA Analyst

These are the puzzle solvers of the agency who needs to be quick in making calculated judgments. They study the information classified and unclassified both, analyze and evaluate it, and give timely assessments. They need to be updated regarding technological advancement as the world is changing every day; they should know to access data using different technologies.

If you have these qualities, then your chances of becoming a better analyst are more. Problem-solving; these are not daily life problems. You have to think critically and creatively. Excellent communication skills; the work is needed to be done quickly for that you have to be clear and concise. Teamwork; you alone cannot solve the whole issue. It requires a team of experts that works side by side for the sole purpose of safeguarding the country.

The career tracks which analysts follow are these; Analytic Methodologist, Cyber Threat Analyst, Economic Analyst, Leadership Analyst, Military Analyst, Open Source Collection Officer, Political Analyst, political systems and developments, Science, Technology & Weapons Analyst, Targeting Analyst.

How To Become A Criminal Psychologist : Step By Step Career Guide 2020


CIA Predecessor

CIA was not created over time, but it took six years before its formation. After WWII, America’s first peacetime, non-departmental intelligence organization was created. It went under several changes and ownership before President Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, creating a permanent Central Intelligence Agency.

Before 1942, the country did not have any civilian intelligence agency. The information was then collected in an unsystematic manner by the Office of Naval Intelligence, by US Army intelligence, and by the FBI.

Sensitive information was hardly shared by the government, which created many misunderstandings. In 1942, OSS was created by Roosevelt to bring together the fragmented and uncoordinated strands of US foreign intelligence.

OSS worked it WWII by collecting and analyzing the information on the fields where US military was operating. It also provided the inside info, which helps in building up the defenses.

In 1946 Pres. Harry S. Truman, recognizing the need for a coordinated postwar intelligence establishment, created by executive order a Central Intelligence Group and a National Intelligence Authority. Many problems arose between new civilian agencies and the military intelligence services and the FBI. In 1947, the National Security Act was passed as a result of which the National Security Council was created, under the direction of the CIA. Though it did not end the rivalry between the agencies, the law established the CIA as the country’s preeminent intelligence service.

CIA Operations Officer

The operational officer works on clandestinely spotting, assessing, developing, recruiting, and handling non-US citizens with access to foreign intelligence vital to US foreign policy and national security decision-makers. Their tasks usually are based on assignments that last about a year or two. For their work, they travel a lot from country to country and work in a diverse intelligence environment. These officers take a clandestine course during their training in which they learn the practical exercise and gain experience through assignments. 

Top Paying CIA Jobs 

The salaries of CIA workers vary based on their fields and departments. The top-paying jobs in the CIA from all six categories are mentioned below.

These are starting salaries of CIA workers which can very


Technical Targeting Analyst; $57,510 – $152,352

Human Resources Analyst; $67,093 – $122,310


Directorate of Operations Language Officer; $65,442 – $108,422

Paramilitary Operations Officer; $65,442 – $108,422


Digital Targeter; $59,983 – $152,352

Technical Targeting Analyst; $57,510 – $152,352


Overall salaries are higher in this category compared to the others

Apps Developer; : $67,968 – $148,967

Cyber Security Officer; $81,785 – $144,538

Digital Targeter : $59,983 – $152,352

Data Engineer: $73,052 – $148,967

Technical Developer; $57,510 – $152,352

Technical Project Manager $67,968 – $148,967

Technical Targeting Analyst: $57,510 – $152,352

Other Related Forensic Science Career :Blood Spatter Analyst

Enterprise & Support

Business Management, Accounting, Finance

Contracting Officer; $69,457 – $133,465

Inspector General Auditor: $62,481 – $128,920


Environmental Safety Officer; $64,216 – $128,920

Physician; $160,833 – $166,500


Cyber Security Officer; $81,785 – $144,538

Inspector General Criminal Investigator; $83,398 – $128,920

Legal and Oversight

Attorney (Honors and Lateral); $76,541 – $166,500

Inspector General Deputy Counsel; $137,489 – $166,500

Senior Legal Advisor – Office Of Equal Employment Opportunity; $99,172 – $166,50


Support Integration Officer (Deployed Support Officer); $62,481 – $82,326

Arts, Design, Publishing, Production

Museum Registrar; $99,172 – $128,911

Communications Officer; $54,308 – $95,139

Graphic Designer; $55,539 – $82,326

Geography, Cartography, GIS

Open Source Exploitation Officer; $59,983 – $152,352

Open Source Collection Officer; $59,983 – $148,967

Library and Information Science

Museum Registrar; $99,172 – $128,911

Open Source Exploitation Officer; $59,983 – $152,352

Education and Training

Foreign Language Instructor; $69,663 – $112,393

Human Resources

Human Resources Analyst; $67,093 – $122,310

Trades and Labor

Field Utility Systems Specialist; : $71,230- $ 106,012

Foreign Language

Open Source Exploitation Officer; $59,983 – $152,352

Foreign Language Instructor; $69,663 – $112,393

CIA has 5 priorities.

  • Counter Terrorism
  • Nonproliferation of nuclear and other destructive weapons.
  • Gathering information regarding overseas activities.
  • Counterintelligence
  • Cyber Intelligence


CIA is different from FBI as FBI deals with internal tasks and problems of the country while CIA  deals with foreign matters of the country. They are mainly responsible for updating government accurately about what is going on outside the country so that state is always aware of outside issues and will be able to take preventive measures at the time of emergency. In this way CIA is responsible for a state’s security, protection and development of economy.

Related:TOP 15 Criminal Justice Jobs That Don’t Require Police Academy



CIA has four major directories and departments. Each of them are specialized for carrying out specific tasks. The job vacancies are published according to the respective departments and their needs of candidates.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the United States federal government, tasked with gathering, analyzing, and disseminating foreign intelligence information for use by the President and senior United States policymakers.

The CIA is divided into four directorates:

  • The Directorate of Operations (DO), which conducts clandestine operations and gathers human intelligence
  • The Directorate of Intelligence (DI), which analyzes information gathered by all intelligence agencies within the US government
  • The Directorate of Science and Technology (DST), which develops and uses technology to support intelligence operations
  • The Directorate of Support (DS), which provides administrative and logistical support to the other three directorates

The CIA is one of the principal members of the United States Intelligence Community (IC), and the Director of the CIA is a member of the National Security Council.

The CIA has a long and distinguished history, dating back to its creation in 1947. The Agency has been involved in major events such as the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and the War on Terror.

The CIA is also responsible for conducting covert operations and gathering human intelligence. To become a CIA agent, you need to be a U.S. citizen and have a Top Secret security clearance. You also need to be able to pass a stringent background check.

The CIA is a highly selective organization, and only the best and brightest candidates are chosen for employment.


Candidate applying for this job needs to hold bachelor’s degree with good CGPA. After that if he do short courses as well as specialization in these programs he will be eligible for this post:-

  • Finance
  • Security And Police Administration
  • The juvenile justice system
  • International affairs
  • International business
  • Law enforcement degree
  • Cyber crime programs
  • Criminology
  • Criminal law
  • Psychology
  • Engineering
  • Biological sciences
  • Police studies
  • Political science
  • Criminal justice degree
  • Intro to law and corrections


  • Candidate needs to be a US citizen for applying for this post.
  • Minimum age limit is 18 years old.
  • Candidate needs to keep his record clean for the selection and should not have any criminal record.
  • Passing drug test is important.
  • Passing Polygraph test.
  • As there is very tough competition for this post one should have strong interpersonal skills.
  • Person should be interested and well informed about current international affairs.
  • The candidates should have strong writing and communication skills as his duty involves interaction with people and writing accuracy.
  • Learning foreign languages will increase your chances of selection.
  • Candidate with better understanding of constitution, law enforcement and homeland security will be given preference over all others.
  • Candidate should have good mental and physical health.
  • He should have ability to negotiate.
  • He should be able to work alone and cope with the stress.
  • He should be able to prioritize the large number of task and accomplish them within the deadlines.


To apply for the job one needs to search for this job and its requirements in detail. For this purpose one need to either visit CIA office or online website. After searching for all requirements he can fill online application form and submit it along with resume. Additional documents and certificates can be attached.

CIA hires candidates by mainly two programs:-

1. The Professional trainee (PT) Program

2. The Clandestine Service (CST) Program

Those who are selected in CIA are offered job as a:-

  • Analytical methodologist
  • Leadership analyst
  • CIA special agent
  • Military analyst
  • Counterintelligence threat analyst
  • Open source officer
  • Economist analyst
  • Paramilitary operations and specialized skills officer
  • Core collector
  • Political analyst
  • Counter terrorism specialist
  • Polygraph Examiner
  • Intelligence Collection analyst
  • Protective agent
  • Language officer
  • Security professional`
  • Targeting analyst
  • Cartographer/ geographer
  • Technical security officer


They are perfectly trained and guided well before starting their job. CIA training program is extensive 18 months training, headquarter based program.

Two most important training programs include Uniformed police training and other one is Criminal Investigator Training Program. Criminal investigator training program is 56 days through the Federal Law Enforcement Training program as a condition of employment. If a candidate is opting for this profession he must be able to work for long hours, be persistent, discreet and relocate. It might happen that he needs to sign a contract before joining.

CIA Benefits 

  • Life insurance
  • Retirement investment options
  • Education and training
  • Medical facilities
  • Work life programs and resources
  • Paid vacations

CIA agents are usually prohibited from telling and showing their jobs details and their position except from their immediate family members. This is highly honorable and prestigious job as in this one gets the opportunities to carry out secret missions and operations and serve their motherland and make sacrifices.

At the time of emergency such as war and foreign conflicts CIA has a major role in making decisions and conveying foreign news timely and accurately. In other word this job requires a high sense of responsibility and patriotism as it affects state’s reputation, economy and development.

How To Become A Forensic Anthropologist Complete Career Guide


How To Become A CIA Agent In Clandestine Service   

CIA agents work in two main areas; Intelligence gathering (clandestine services) and Internal investigations. The CIA agents who work in National Clandestine Services collect information regarding foreign countries related to the state’s US government and National Security. Their work in a high-risk environment gathers critical information on political, military, weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism. The agents are experts, and they need to have a strong personality and background.   

Candidates who wish to achieve an intelligence position within the CIA look forward to seeking a career in these fields.   

  • Core collectors   
  • Operations officers   
  • Collection management officers   
  • Staff operations officer   
  • Specialized skill officer (targeting)   
  • Language officers   

Core Collectors:   

They collect essential human resource information from different organizations that the government uses for national security purposes. A core collector’s job is quite tricky and challenging for that purpose; special skills and education are required. A Core collector’s salary ranges between $52,976 to $81,204 depending on the agent’s service years and experience.   

CIA looks for candidates who:   

  • The age limit is 21-35 years   
  • Have strong emotional and mental health   
  • Have excellent communication   

Operations Officers:    

These officers are in charge of keeping an eye on non-US citizens. They are responsible for making a report on individuals using their sound judgment and integrity. Their assignment span is usually longer than the rest of the agents. Their work is dynamic and unusual. Different issues are handled by the operation officers for which the CIA requires a strong portfolio. The salary of an operation officer is $59,426 – $90,461. It can be higher, depending upon the previous experience.   

CIA, therefore, seeks candidates who:   

  • Are physically and mentally healthy and sound   
  • Have stamina and energy for actions   
  • Knows street tricks and talks   
  • Have good intuition and strong interpersonal skills   
  • Are willing to spend time in a foreign land   

Collection Management Officers:   

They are a communication source between operating officers, the US foreign policy community, and the CIA analysts. They must collect, evaluate, and disseminate the information. They also need to know about everything that is happening worldwide and have a deep understanding of international issues and their operating environment. They have multi-year assignments both in Washington and abroad. The starting pay scale of the collation management officer is $59,426 – $90,461.   

CIA look for the individual who:   

  • Have personal integrity   
  • Can take the high risk   
  • Is a multitasker   
  • Can deal with challenges and uncertainty   
  • Have the ability to lead a team and can work independently

Staff Operations Officer:   

These officers are based in headquarters. They plan and support all the intelligence operations. Besides this, they also deal with counterintelligence and provide strategic guidance to carry forward the operations. Their job is a multi-tasking job in which they have to be alert all the time. The officers need to have a quick-thinking process as they deal with high-risk operations plans. One move wrong and the operation will be on its last legs.   

Therefore, the CIA seeks candidates who:   

  • Have excellent verbal and written skills   
  • Have a creative mind and knows how to deal with challenges   
  • Work under pressure and quick deadlines without losing his nerves   
  • Action and result oriented   

Specialized skill officer: (Targeting/ Paramilitary Operations Officer)   

These skilled officers provide unique capabilities to carry out overseas operations. Their job is to focus on operating and maintaining the infrastructure needed to practice for CIA operations. This CIA position requires a five-year contract term that you have to sign before getting the job. The salary of CIA officers ranges between $63,991 – $106,012.   

The CIA requirements for skilled officers are:   

  • Previous military operation experience   
  • Experience in leadership positions   
  • History for foreign travel   
  • Experience in counterintelligence

Language Officers:   

These officers apply their language skills combined with the cultural experience in producing accurate translation and interpretation of different language-related matters within the undercover operation. They work with NSC professionals to support and carry out the mission. The officers are usually based in Washington, but they have opportunities for foreign travel as well. The CIA salary scale for language officers ranges from $65,442 to $108,422.   

The CIA wants officers who:   

  • Have native fluency in these languages; Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Dari/Pashto, Korean, Persian/Farsi, Russian, Japanese, Vietnamese.   
  • Can think practically and develop a deep understanding   
  • Are passionate about languages and different cultures   

CIA Job Requirements For National Clandestine Service   

NCS is one of the four organizations that work in the Central Intelligence Agency. The NSC serves to collect and analyze foreign intelligence and information to protect the US Officer’s national security, who are becoming a CIA agent need to have special talent and personality traits. There is a minimum requirement set by the agency that a candidate must meet to be eligible for the job.   

Minimum requirements for NCS jobs:   

  • Must be 18 years old   
  • Must be a US citizen (including the spouse)   
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree with 3.0 and above GPA   

The qualification which increases your chance:   

  • Foreign language fluency   
  • Foreign travel history   
  • Knows other cultures   

Employment Qualifications Clearance:   

  • Background check clearance   
  • Security clearance   
  • Medical and psychological test clearance   
  • Polygraph clearance   
  • CIA agent training (CST) and (HBT) clearance   

 Training Programs For The CIA’s Clandestine Service?   

Candidates who are looking forward to becoming CIA agents in NCS enters the agency through four channels, such as   

  • Internship Programs   
  • Professional Trainee Program   
  • Clandestine Service Trainee Program   
  • Headquarters-Based Trainee Program   

 Internship Programs:   

The internship programs offered by the NCS are usually joined by the fresh undergrad or master’ master’s students who wish to pursue a career in Clandestine services. The programs are provided in the headquarters, which is located in Washington, DC. The individuals who are accepted for the program are offered salaries and federal benefits. The internship programs include;   

Undergraduate Co-Op Program   

Undergraduate Internship Program   

Undergraduate Scholarship Program   

Graduate Scholarship Program   

Graduate Studies Program   

Professional Trainee Program:   

A professional training program is planned for entry-level candidates looking forward to having a career as a core collector in foreign missions. The candidates must have a bachelor’s degree; however, work experience is not explicitly required as these individuals get the training in the headquarters. Individuals should have an interest in international relations and current affairs.   

Clandestine Service Trainee Program:   

On the completion of the professional trainee program, most individuals choose the CST program. The program is developed to train individuals for handling foreign operations successfully. When the previously working individuals working as operations officers or collection management officers are certified as core collectors to complete their CST, they are now eligible for field operations.   

Headquarters-Based Trainee Program:   

The program is designed for entry-level candidates who are looking for headquarter based jobs in the NCS department. A bachelor’ bachelor’s degree is required with a personal interest in international affairs. Individuals who have previous work experience are more desirable for the program. The program includes field training and interim assignments. After completing the program, individuals become staff operation officers and specialized skills (targeting) officers.   

How To Be In CIA Internal investigations?   

The CIA investigations are handled through the Office of Inspector General, appointed by the president of the United States of America and approved by the senate. The investigation office is responsible for investigating laws, violation of rules, mismanagements of funds, abuse of authority, or any other activity that can harm the agency. The internal investigation department has special agents who need to have unique skills to become a spy.   

Minimum Requirements For Becoming A CIA Special Agent:   

  • Must be a US citizen   
  • Have a bachelor’ bachelor’s degree with 3.0 GPA and above   
  • Must have three years of investigative experience   

Employment Qualification For CIA Field Agent:   

  • Background check clearance   
  • Top-secret security clearance   
  • Medical and psychological evaluation clearance   
  • Polygraph test clearance   
  • Criminal Investigator Training Program clearance   

Traits Investigators Must Possess:   

  • Deep understanding and knowledge of the administrative and investigative procedure   
  • Collects and organize data   
  • Personal intuition and strong decision-making power   
  • Ability to work as a team and independently   
  • Skills to work under pressure   
  • Prioritize tasks and responsibilities   
  • Ability to make sound personal relations and negotiating power. 

Other Related Career Choices:

Top Ranked Police Academies in United States


How to Become A Private Investigator Salary Career 2020 FULL GUIDE

Top 15 Most Useful Criminal Justice Major Full Guide Requirements, Salary, Jobs, Internship, Top Colleges.


CIA Central Intelligence Agency

16 thoughts on “CIA Agent Salary And Career Guide 2023 All You Need To Know

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *