How do I get a CIA Internship?

Patrick Roland

A CIA internship is a great way to add unique experience to your resume and also give you an inside track to one day working for the United States' premier espionage agency. In order to get an internship with the CIA you must plan up to one year in advance, meet scholastic requirements, be a United States citizen, be studying in a CIA-approved major, and interview in Washington, D.C. Meeting these requirements will help you get one of these coveted semester internship opportunities.

Someone interested in a CIA internship will have to interview in Washington, D.C.
Someone interested in a CIA internship will have to interview in Washington, D.C.

A CIA internship is an excellent opportunity for college students to see how this important government agency works. Interns do not do espionage work, but have lower level responsibilities in various departments, helping experts in a number of fields. Internships usually last a minimum of 90 days, provide a generous salary, medical insurance and even paid vacation.

Potential CIA interns must take a polygraph test.
Potential CIA interns must take a polygraph test.

The first thing you should do to apply for an internship is plan ahead. The CIA requires that you pass a polygraph test, a medical exam and a background check. Upwards of thousands of students compete for a CIA internship, so the process can take from 9 to 12 months. If you have a specific field of study you have experience or interest in, it is important to state this in the application paperwork.

Equally important to the application process is meeting the CIA internship program's minimum requirements. This program is only open to U.S. Citizens who are 18 years or older and you must supply proof of both if requested. You must also be able to prove you are a full-time student in college and are planning on returning for at least one more semester after your internship. Also, at least a 3.0 grade point average in either Information Technology, Engineering or one of the sciences is a necessity.

If you meet these requirements for the CIA internship program, you may be asked to do an in-person interview at CIA headquarters in Washington D.C. These meetings will be held with departmental heads of various sectors, asking what makes you qualified for this government internship. Here, you can cite specific work experience and educational background qualities that make you a unique fit for this internship. If you pass all the requirements and impress the decision makers in the interview, you will likely be awarded an internship and be on your way to a CIA career.

If you meet the requirements of a CIA internship, you may be invited to interview.
If you meet the requirements of a CIA internship, you may be invited to interview.

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Discussion Comments


@chrysalis - I agree with you, some kids might back off from applying for this paid internship when they read that it's so competitive. But so are scholarships and summer jobs! It's a competitive world out there.

As long as there is hope and then a follow-through - dreams can come true.

In my case, after graduating from college, I applied with the air lines on a whim. I was accepted and on the first day of training, the instructors told us that for every one of us sitting there, there were a thousand people who were not chosen. To say we felt special is an understatement. It set the tone for the whole training experience.


A CIA summer internship would be a valuable experience for a college student whether or not they actually end up working for the agency. Can you imagine having that experience prior to graduation?

Some college kids might read this article and think that the competition is too tough with "thousands" of kids competing for the spots. If you have the right grades, the right major and the right "stuff", you'll get the chance of a lifetime.

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