Requirements for CIA Jobs in Tennessee

Tennessee has been the target of intelligence operations for many unfriendly governments throughout the world. Home to Oak Ridge, the Manhattan Project came to fruition here with the first synthesis of uranium-235 from this city-sized top secret research and production facility. It has been the CIA’s objective to detect and eliminate foreign espionage operations in Tennessee for decades, a mission which has not diminished in importance.

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Presently the CIA is associated with a new Multipurpose Research Facility at Oak Ridge, touted to be the site of some of the fastest supercomputers and cryptanalytic applications in the world. This location also serves as the location of many other classified projects. CIA jobs in Tennessee contribute to the security of top-secret sites in Tennessee and across the nation, helping the United States to maintain its position as the world’s financial and military leader.

How to Join the National Clandestine Service in Tennessee

Tennessee residents interested in a career as a Core Collector with the CIA’s National Clandestine Services are required to participate in one of two entry-level training programs: the Professional Trainee Program (PT) and the Clandestine Service Program (CST).

  • PT Program: This program has been designed for applicants between the ages of 21 and 25 who hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher and have no previous work experience.
  • CST Program: This program has been designed for applicants between the ages of 26 and 35 who hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher and have previous military or work experience.

Both the PT and CST programs have additional, corresponding requirements that applicants must meet in order to be considered for a position:

  • Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher during undergraduate studies.
  • The CIA has a preference for applicants that have degrees in the following areas of study: chemical engineering, economics, finance, global business relations, nuclear science or physical science.
  • Each applicant needs a history of international residency, extensive knowledge of foreign countries and proficiency in at least one second language, preferably in Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Indonesian, Korean, Kurdish, Pashto, Persian, Russian, Somali, Turkish or Urdu.
  • All candidates must undergo two personal interviews prior to moving on in the employment process. Additionally, applicants must complete a polygraph test, medical examination, background check and comprehensive psychological evaluation. If signs of illegal drug use are present in the previous 12 months, a candidate will be automatically disqualified.


Meeting the Requirements for Special Agent Investigator Jobs in Tennessee

Qualifications – Many applicants to the CIA are at the top of their graduating class. The CIA considers an applicant’s academic credentials very seriously.

It is a requirement for applicants to possess a bachelor’s degree in any subject. A range of subjects is acceptable because agents will work in a wide variety of specialties. Some common areas of study for federal agents include:

  • Political Science
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Criminal Justice
  • Sociology
  • Law Enforcement
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering

Graduate students researching how to become a CIA Agent are also encouraged to apply, and relevant work experience is considered alongside education.

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Application – Candidates interested in CIA careers can apply by creating an online account and selecting the Special Agent/Investigator position under the Inspector General. A candidate’s online profile and account are only valid for three days, during which time they will need to complete the entire application which includes:

  • Verification of additional minimum CIA requirements:
    • US citizenship
    • Three years of highly rated work experience dealing with complex criminal investigations
    • Good history of moral behavior


  • Application Questions:
    • Background information
    • Language proficiencies
    • Education and work history
    • Knowledge of foreign areas


  • Personal Evaluation Form:
    • Previous polygraph tests
    • Previous instances of criminal behavior
    • Any disciplinary issues in education or employment
    • Previous security clearances

If applicants are contacted by a CIA recruiter to pursue the next stages of the hiring process, they can expect to face:

  • The most extensive background investigation they have ever experienced
  • Polygraph examination
  • Medical and psychological evaluation

Training – Agents who have made it through the hiring process will need to next complete the Criminal Investigator Training Program. This is held at a Federal Law Enforcement Training Center where new agents will be instructed in the fundamentals of conducting criminal investigations. Agents will learn about:

  • Federal criminal justice system
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Collecting evidence for presentation in court
  • Tactical weapons and combat training
  • Driving maneuvers
  • Conducting undercover and surveillance operations


The CIA’s Vital Presence in Tennessee

One of the newest installations in the Oak Ridge facility is the Multipurpose Research Facility, a Department of Energy project where agencies such as the CIA can take advantage of the latest technological advances in supercomputing.

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Breaking the processing speed record in 2009 with its Jaguar Supercomputer, the CIA can use these facilities to quickly decipher encrypted messages using the most advanced algorithms. However, because the Jaguar system is declassified, it is expected that the CIA has access to machines even faster than the Jaguar’s 1.75 petaflop processor. To the layperson, that is 1.75^15 calculations per second.

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