How does the CIA recruit people? What types of majors do they typically target?

Wow, interesting career you're considering! Unfortunately, you're probably not alone, I bet no other government agency seems as appealing (and generates more interest) than the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

It goes without saying that being in the CIA requires intelligence, an ability to work autonomously, a strong sense of responsibility, a whole lot of courage, and an unfaltering love for the United States. The agency has the following requirements that all potential employees must meet:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • You must have at least a bachelor's degree (and outstanding grades) to be considered for non-clerical positions. Being fluent in a foreign language would certainly help.
  • You must complete and pass a medical exam, a polygraph, and an extensive background investigation. The investigation can — and will — include personal visits by active CIA agents to the people you know. They might interview anyone from your friends, family, neighbors, former teachers, old bosses, the people you've done business with, your dentist, your dog's groomer, the people on your softball team, fellow patrons in your favorite neighborhood coffee shop, and just about anyone else you might — or might not — think of who has ever crossed your path.

According to the CIA's Career page, the agency doesn't recommend any particular course of academic study over another. Instead, they seek a wide variety of people with talent, knowledge, skill, and integrity.

Contrary to what you might think, not everyone who works for the Central Intelligence Agency is a "spy" (or field agent). They also hire scientists, engineers, and computer programmers and technicians to analyze, interpret, and store the information that field agents collect. On the administrative side, the agency might hire attorneys, librarians, graphic designers, psychologists, bookkeepers, human resources staff, and a whole slew of other professionals to keep the "business side" of the agency running.

Good luck!