How to Become an Intelligence Analyst

Intelligence analyst sounds like such a cool job. Of course, if you love FBI, CIA, and other government agency movies, you must have heard of such a title being mentioned, and that is where they actually work.

An intelligence analyst is a person who works in the most notable federal government agencies such as the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigations, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Their tasks involve extensive research in the collection of information from many different sources.


These are the people who identify, sort and target relevant data reported to the key officials. The agencies usually employ these individuals we have mentioned above. They get to enjoy a high-security measure in their work and all the other benefits associated with government jobs.

How to Become an Intelligence Analyst
Image Source: Intel Today

How To Become An Intelligence Analyst

So, if you have your eye set on such a job, you should first know that the job carries less risk of personal injury than other careers related to law enforcement. According to the CIA, there are several requirements for this career, and the first one is that all intelligence agents must be US citizens.

Other key skills for an intelligence analyst include analytical problem-solving skills, critical thinking, communication, decision-making, foreign language skills, interpersonal skills, and the ability to pass a background investigation so that you can obtain a security clearance.


Step 1 – Get a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step if you wish to become an intelligence analyst is to get your bachelor’s degree. It will be required of you as an analyst to possess at least a bachelor’s degree from one of the accredited universities.

This degree should be either in national security, political science, or international studies. All of these are beneficial to an aspiring analyst. Additionally, having some coursework in homeland security and counter-terrorism can increase your chances of employment.

Fluency in another language is also great for such a position, and computer courses as well.


Internship Program

Once you are done with your degree, participating in an internship program will allow you to learn more about intelligence analysis and fieldwork.

Depending on the sponsoring agency, this program will highlight and provide the aspiring candidates an overview of how the process of intelligence gathering actually works from the initial point of research, assessment, and preparation of the reports.

Step 2 – Applying For a Position

The next step after you have earned your degree and gone through the internship program is applying for a job. If you can complete the rigorous testing and interview process, you will be offered a position as an intelligence analyst.

The application and acceptance standards are pretty high and very stringent, as well. You can easily be disqualified based on many different factors, which depend on the hiring agency, including having a criminal record or being involved in illegal drug use.

Background Investigation

During the application process, the agency will carry out an extensive background investigation. The reason behind this is that; working as an intelligence analyst will include handling confidential information.

Now, getting a job with a top-level federal agency such as NSA, CIA, and NASA means that you will have to go through several credit checks, and your past and current employers, including your neighbors, will be questioned.

You must provide references, and these thorough investigations actually take many months to complete, so you must be patient.

Step 3 – Continuing With Your Education

The third step towards becoming a great intelligence agent is to continue with your education to have chances of career advancement. Now, to showcase how dedicated you are to your job, you must take the initiative.

If, for example, you are interested in working on issues that relate to a specific part of the world, then you should become more acquainted with that particular part in terms of their cultural, social, and political climates.

How to Become an Intelligence Analyst
Image Source: FBI


So, that is how you can become an intelligence analyst. Of course, it is not a simple journey, and it will require plenty of commitment and dedication to the course. However, if you are passionate about it, you might turn this into a career.

Also read – How to Become an Actuarial Analyst