CIA Clandestine Services Core Collector
The CIA is in charge of collecting intelligence information around the world in the interests of U.S. security. CIA core collectors are on the frontlines of the agency’s mission, as they are the individuals responsible for physically interacting with sources and gathering information for the CIA overseas.
If you always dreamed of being the stereotypical spy, this is the closest you’ll get to it in the real world.
Job Description: A Day in the Life of a CIA Clandestine Services Core Collector
There are two career paths that a CIA core collector can take: operations officer (OO) or collection management officer (CMO). The National Clandestine Service (NCS) places agents in one of these two career tracks based on their performance during training.
While OO’s work full time on clandestinely finding, recruiting and developing relationships with individuals who may be able to provide useful foreign intelligence information, CMO’s oversee and facilitate the collection, classification and dissemination of this gathered foreign intelligence.
General Requirements and Training
Core collector candidates must be U.S. Citizens, possess a bachelor’s degree with a strong academic record, demonstrate a strong interest in international affairs, and have effective communication and writing skills. Desirable traits include foreign travel, knowledge of foreign areas and foreign language proficiency. In addition to meeting these minimum requirements, applicants must undergo medical and mental health testing, governement polygraph interviews, drug testing and an extensive background check. Relocation and travel are inevitably required aspects of working as a CIA core collector. It’s also important to realize that CIA agents are not allowed to reveal to other people that they work for the CIA, even friends and loved ones.
Successful applicants enter the 12-month Clandestine Service Trainee (CST) Program. This program trains recruits how to investigate and handle sources of foreign intelligence so that they can go on to serve overseas where they will be collecting intelligence information.
Salary, Benefits and Opportunities for Advancement
An entry-level CIA core collector is estimated to receive a salary of $63,600 – $82,680, according to the official CIA government website. During the 12-month full-time training schedule, a yearly salary of about $53,062 – $70,313 can be expected.
The benefits of working for the CIA include paid time off, fitness and recreation programs, a student loan repayment assistance program, paid moving expenses, health and life insurance, flexible spending plans, and retirement plan. All training is paid for as well, which is an enormous bonus.
Opportunities for advancement for CIA core collectors include promotion to senior supervisory positions monitoring, overseeing and/or training new CIA recruits.