How to Become a Spy

How to Become a Spy

Becoming a spy is just a matter of fulfilling the requirements of the intelligence agency in your country.

In America, this agency is called the CIA, or Central Intelligence Agency. Requirements to join the CIA are quite strict.

Tests to Get Into the CIA

1. Medical examination: Really, the CIA medical test is intended to expose drug use. The CIA has the strictest drug policy in the country, and while “past drug use” doesn’t necessarily keep you from working for the CIA, drug use within the past year will look suspicious. The CIA uses the most advanced drug test technology available, allowing to look at your drug use history, not just drugs you’ve used in the past 24 or 48 hours.

2. Polygraph interview: The CIA lie detector (polygraph) test is considered the most stressful part of your entrance. A polygraph test monitors your breathing, heart rate, and other factors to determine if you are lying. It is difficult to fool a CIA-trained polygraph expert, but not impossible. That’s why the testing continues.

How to Become a Spy

3. Background check: Your next “test” will be an extensive background check. They talk to your elementary school teachers, old friends from high school, and all of your past employers. Your family will be interviewed and their backgrounds checked as well. What is the CIA looking for? Who knows. If you want to join the CIA, you should live the squeakiest of clean lives.

4. U.S. citizenship: Put simply, if you’re not a citizen, you won’t be working for the CIA.

How to Apply to the CIA

The first step in applying for a job with the CIA is to submit a résumé. THe CIA’s guidelines for putting together your résumé asks for specific information, so to put together a proper résumé for the CIA, go to the CIA’s website or contact a recruiter.

Understand that only about 50% of perfectly qualified applicants actually get a job offer from the CIA. That means only 50% of people with clean drug tests, polygraph tests, perfect background checks, citizenship, and the skills the CIA is looking for even get an offer from the CIA. That’s more strict than it sounds.

The CIA says they hire about 37% of qualified applicants each year. Of those 37%, only about half make it through the further testing the CIA makes you undergo after you have been given a job offer.

There is a short cut to getting work with the CIA. If you’ve been trained in the military and speak a Middle Eastern language with 100% fluency, you can apply directly into what is called the “CST Program”. To do this, simply send your cover letter to the following address:

CST Division


P.O. Box 12002


Arlington, VA 22209-2002

More Requirements for Becoming a Spy

To be a spy, you’ll have to possess the right foreign-language skills and know something about world culture. Depending on the political climate, different languages and cultures are favored. Currently, Asian and Arab languages and cultures are the most valuable. That’s because there are more “hard target” countries in Asia and in the Middle East than in any other part of the world.

To apply for work as a spy with the CIA, you must be under 35 years old. You must have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree (in any field) and have at least a 3.0. grade point average. Though any major will work, the best for spy work are business, international relations, economics, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering.

CIA agents, even spies, must have excellent writing skills. Much of a CIA agent’s work is writing reports, just like a cop.

The CIA prefers unmarried agents, but if you are married, you must be married to a US citizen.

How Much Money Do Spies Make?

James Bond makes spy work look downright lucrative, enjoying fancy cocktails and dating beautiful women. In truth, a CIA agent’s starting salary is between $34,000-$52,000 depending on experience and training. People who speak Farsi or another difficult Asian or Arab language will start out earning more than agents who do not have these skills.

Different Types of Spies

There’s no such thing as a “spy”–the technical term for a spy is different from agency to agency and nation to nation. Here in America, the CIA has many different types of “spies”, including:

Agent–A foreigner recruited by a CIA officer.

Case Officer–A member of the CIA who recruits and directs agents.

Counterintelligence Agent–A spy who conducts action and gathers information against foreign spying.

Defector–A foreigner of interest to the CIA who leaves his or her country to join the American intelligence agency.

False Flag–A spy or CIA agent disguised to look like they work for another country.

Walk-in–CIA agents who are not recruited but instead offer their services as a walk-in spy.

See also:

  1. How to Become a Private Investigator
  2. What Is Spy Gear?
  3. How to Pick a Lock
  4. Tom Clancy Books
  5. How to Become a Talent Agent
  6. How to Become a Speechwriter
  7. How to Become a Boxer