How to Become a Protective Agent with the Central
Intelligence Agency

The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) Directorate of Support oversees the Agency’s protective operations. Protective agents are responsible for supporting the CIA’s protective operations by:

  • Performing sensitive operations
  • Participating in training and operational assignments

The Directorate of Support works alongside the CIA’s other offices to ensure they receive the support needed to accomplish the Agency’s mission. Protective agents are vital to getting key support functions in place. They ensure that all people and equipment get in and get out safely, and they are present throughout these overseas operations, providing ongoing support for each mission component.

CIA protective agents are required to:

  • Be in excellent physical mental and emotional condition
  • Be a team player
  • Frequently travel overseas
  • Work long hours with unpredictable, often-changing schedules
  • Tactfully negotiate conflict
  • Interact with all levels of management and other federal agencies
  • Brief, defend, persuade, and instruct others on security requirements and policies

CIA protective agents can expect to complete extensive foreign and/or domestic assignments, and they are often deployed on overseas missions to support the agency’s protective mission. It is typical for protective agents to be deployed up to two months at a time.

What it Takes to Become a CIA Protective Agent

Individuals seeking CIA protective agent jobs must be able to commit to a five-year contract with the Agency.

Individuals who want to become CIA protective agents must:

  • Be United States citizens
  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Must possess a valid driver’s license
  • Must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Have at least 7 years combined experience in military, security or law enforcement, preferably in a military special operations branch, as a SWAT team officer, or in protective operations
  • Possess excellent oral and written communications
  • Have high levels of integrity, trustworthiness, and loyalty

Although not a requirement, the CIA prefers candidates who possess bachelor’s degrees from an accredited college or university. The Agency does not indicate the need for candidates to possess any specific degrees, although individuals in law enforcement and protective operations fields often hold degrees in programs related to:

  • Criminal justice
  • Criminology
  • Police science
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Forensic psychology

Other desirable requirements for CIA protective agent jobs include:

  • Deployment in war zone
  • Leadership and management experience
  • Experience in report writing
  • Extensive emergency medical experience as an EMT, paramedic, first responder, Navy corpsman, 18D, etc.
  • An understanding of Microsoft office software
  • Experience in all areas of protective operations

All candidates for protective agent jobs with the CIA must successfully complete a medical examination, a psychological evaluation, a polygraph interview, and a complete background investigation. Individuals are only considered for employment if they have not used illegal drugs within the past 12 months.

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