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Useful Tips for Pursuing Opportunities in National Security

By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice

Working in national security is satisfying, because people in this field are often on the front lines and protect the United States from both foreign and domestic threats. According to, some of the most common careers in national security include:

  • Intelligence officer
  • Cybersecurity specialist
  • Foreign language expert, reviewing written and verbal content from adversaries
  • Logistics specialist
  • National security analyst

Looking for National Security Job Opportunities Needs Planning and Preparation

Pursuing job opportunities in national security often requires planning and preparation. The first step is to avoid any behavior that investigators could view as questionable. For example, this type of behavior includes:

  • Committing a crime
  • Associating with groups, organizations or people that demonstrate hatred toward the United States
  • Interacting with extremists
  • Posting immature or radical content on social media

Another important step is to review the qualifications for a specific national security job and to work toward achieving those qualifications. For instance, some positions require a certain level of education or years of experience.

Many national security professionals have a military background. Intelligence officers and intelligence analysts, for instance, often gain their experience while they serve in the military. This security experience helps to make them more marketable candidates for organizations such as the National Security Agency (NSA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The available positions in national security fields vary widely. For instance, NSA offers multiple opportunities in intelligence collection, computer science, security and law enforcement, accounting, engineering, and physical sciences.

Related link: Redesigning Company Culture in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

National Security Background Checks

The background check for working in national security is rigorous. It requires substantial investigation into an applicant’s previous employment, personal integrity, places where the applicant has lived and foreign travel. Other aspects of the applicant’s background that also receive examination include personal finances and formal and informal associations with groups or organizations.

Foreign travel is particularly scrutinized to ensure that an applicant does not have any associations with governments or foreign organizations that are adversaries to the United States. Psychological examinations to confirm the mental health of national security job applicants may be conducted, along with polygraph examinations to confirm personal integrity.

Getting a Security Clearance

A crucial aspect of national security employment includes obtaining a security clearance. Security clearances require a formal process that is different than the standard background check other organizations use. Since those who work in national security access classified information, security clearances are necessary for specific roles.

There are three security clearance levels: Top Secret, Secret and Confidential. The duties and responsibilities of the job position determine the level of security clearance needed by an applicant. Typically, security clearances involve an in-depth background investigation. They are awarded based on personal character, stability, unquestionable loyalty to the United States, trustworthiness, judgment and dependability.

National Security Virtual Career Fair to Be Held on August 10

Speaking with recruiters from different organizations can be a useful way to gain insight into the national security industry. On August 10 at 11 a.m. ET, the University will host a National Security Virtual Career Fair for current AMU/APU students and alumni; it will be a good opportunity to speak directly with national security recruiters! Be sure to register for this event soon!

Related link: How to Follow Up with Recruiters after a Virtual Career Fair

Jarrod Sadulski

Dr. Sadulski is an Associate Professor within our School of Security and Global Studies. He has over two decades in the field of criminal justice. His expertise includes training on countering human trafficking, maritime security, effective stress management in policing and narcotics trafficking trends in Latin America. Jarrod frequently conducts in-country research and consultant work in Central and South America on human trafficking and current trends in narcotics trafficking. He also has a background in business development. Jarrod can be reached through his website at for more information.

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