Requirements for CIA Jobs in Iowa

CIA agents in Iowa work to obtain actionable information from reliable sources.  In doing so, they are able to help other federal agencies and local law enforcement fight threats that challenge U.S. national security.

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An important function involved in maintaining national security requires CIA special agents in Iowa to actively monitor groups believed to have the potential to commit acts of terrorism. In the ten-year period leading up to 2012, Iowa authorities filed 121 charges related to terrorism or threatening terrorist acts.  Although there has been only one terrorist conviction in Iowa, CIA agents in the state are extremely proactive in identifying activity that has the potential to develop into a threat.

The CIA also monitors international drug traffickers who pose a threat to the country’s security.  Although the Des Moines area is primarily a consumer market, Mexican drug traffickers use the state as a hub through which they ship methamphetamines to northern markets.

Requirements for Joining the CIA’s National Clandestine Service in Iowa

Applicants interested in a career with the CIA’s National Clandestine Services in Iowa  will participate in one of two training programs specific to their qualifications:

  • PT Program: The PT Program is for applicants in the 21-25 age range who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and an absence of prior work experience.
  • CST Program: The CST Program is for applicants in the 26-35 age range who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and either previous military or work experience.

Both the PT and CST Programs have corresponding qualifications that applicants must meet in order to be considered:

Applicants must participate in two separate interviews before moving ahead in the employment process. In addition, they must complete a criminal background check, medical examination, polygraph test, and a full psychological evaluation. Illegal drug usage in the past 12 months automatically disqualifies a candidate from consideration.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree or higher along with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

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The CIA prefers applicants who have studied biological engineering, chemical engineering, economics, finance, global business relations, nuclear science, or physical science.

Applicants should have a prior history of international residency, knowledge of foreign countries, as well as proficiency in foreign languages. Languages that the CIA is particularly keen on include Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Russian, Somali, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Chinese, and Dari.

Meeting the Requirements to Become a CIA Agent in Iowa

Education and Experience – The agency requires a substantial amount of education and experience for applicants interested in becoming CIA special agents:

  • Candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Prospective agents are required to have three years of experience in the field of criminal investigations

The CIA does not specify a particular major for special agent candidates satisfying the bachelor’s degree requirement. However, some of the fields of study most relevant to federal criminal investigations and profiling include:

  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Law Enforcement
  • Criminal Justice
  • Police Science
  • Forensics
  • Criminology
  • Sociology

The agency seeks applicants with a number of professional skills.  They should be able to prioritize multiple projects and work with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds.  Special agents are also expected to be tactful and discrete as they cultivate potential contacts.

Special Agent Training – In order to become highly skilled investigators, all special agents with the CIA must go through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center’s Criminal Investigative Training Program (CITP).  The agency prefers applicants who have already had this training, but it will accept those who have not if they have good credentials and a background in criminal investigations.

The CITP provides training practical skills such as the following:

  • Firearms proficiency
  • Tactical skills
  • High-powered driving ability


CIA Funding for the Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union actively sought aspiring writers to come to Moscow to study the craft of writing with the goal of indoctrinating them in the ideals of Communist ideology.  This did not go unnoticed by influential writers in the U.S. who countered this program by expanding a premier writing center at the University of Iowa.

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The Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop actively recruited writers from Europe and Asia to learn the ideals of American society in hopes that it would infuse their writing with democratic values.  Many companies and U.S. agencies funded this program.  Among them were two CIA front organizations:

  • The Asia Foundation
  • The Fairfield Foundation

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