Welcome and thank you for your interest in the National Security Agency. Whether you are considering putting in an application or you’ve already applied, consider this your source for an overview of NSA’s mission and opportunities, the advantages of living near the nation’s capital and helpful tips to guide you through every step of the application process.
Who We AreEnable Accessibility Mode for a screen reader accessible version of the content
Established in 1952, the National Security Agency is the world leader in cryptology – the art and science of making and breaking codes. Our goal is to protect and defend U.S. government IT systems to keep classified or sensitive information safe, and to exploit information derived from foreign adversaries for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes. We are well positioned to carry out our missions because NSA is both a member of the Department of Defense (DoD) and an Intelligence Community (IC) agency.
U.S. leaders, policymakers, war fighters, law enforcement agencies and our IC partners depend on NSA to:
For information on NSA’s rich history in cryptology, visit the Center for Cryptologic History’s site.
The National Security Agency leads the U.S. government in cryptology that encompasses both Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Information Assurance (IA) products and services, and enables Computer Network Operations (CNO) in order to gain a decision advantage for the nation and our allies under all circumstances.
At NSA, we work every day to protect the nation’s security. To accomplish this goal, the agency requires a diverse workforce. Our ability to bring diverse individual experiences and perspectives together is a key part of our ability to overcome NSA’s greatest mission challenges.
Besides being recognized by leading organizations for our diversity hiring, NSA is also dedicated to our employees’ career development. We welcome you to expand your expertise and skills through academic education, professional training and development, leadership opportunities and job mobility.
Although NSA’s work revolves around Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance, the agency offers extraordinary opportunities to professionals in a wide variety of fields.
The following videos provide a brief overview of the workplace culture and some of the career fields available at NSA:
Where We Are
The National Security Agency is headquartered in Fort George G. Meade, Md., between Baltimore and Washington D.C., off the Baltimore/Washington Parkway (MD-295).
Although NSA’s campus is a separate entity from Fort George G. Meade, an Army installation, the agency is located adjacent to it.
NSA also has four cryptologic centers located in Colorado, Hawaii, Georgia and Texas.
NSA Headquarters is conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Our employees live along the Colonial-era streets of Annapolis and Georgetown; in the suburban surroundings of Columbia, Md.; near the excitement of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore's Inner Harbor; in the countryside and near the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.
NSA employees commute from all over the region, including Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia (D.C.), and as far away as West Virginia, and Pennsylvania because of the convenience of NSA’s flexible schedules.
Employees may also have the option to live on base at Fort Meade, which offers convenience and amenities. For more information on the housing options available, visit the Fort Meade On-Post Housing site.
This map shows the location of NSA’s headquarters in relation to the rest of Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Each county in Maryland is also listed below:
We understand that relocating can require a lot of time and planning. Along with reimbursing qualified new hires for their moving expenses, NSA also provides a benefit called Worklife4You, a comprehensive resource and information service (Note: Additional information regarding Worklife4You can be found once you are employed).
Maryland benefits from its proximity to one of the nation’s most comprehensive transportation networks along the eastern seaboard.
Employees who use mass transportation to commute to NSA may be eligible to claim a transportation subsidy. Carpool and vanpool options may also be available.
NSA has a variety of programs that provide assistance, guidance and support to employees in need. While the full benefit of these resources becomes available after you’re hired, check out the Worklife4You site in order to familiarize yourself with the types of programs available.
Additionally, you may have questions about:
Day Care: We understand that finding the right care for your child is of the utmost importance. There are numerous childcare options in the area, including Children’s World, located at Fort Meade. Other resources:
- Child Care Aware is a free service that provides resources for childcare by state, information on financial assistance and more. This site also provides resources for children with special needs.
- Check Child Care MD, an organization under the Maryland Department of Education, provides a free database of childcare facilities.
School Systems: Visit specific school system sites for details and requirements for enrollment.
Elder Care: ElderCare.gov provides information on affordable elder care based on location.
The D.C., Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania corridor is naturally endowed with the surf and sand of Atlantic beaches, a sailing paradise on the Chesapeake Bay, and mountains farther west.
The agency’s Civilian Welfare Fund (CWF) also provides many programs and services for the benefit of NSA employees and their families. These include agency events (5Ks, golf tournaments, etc.), discounted tickets (sports games, museums, and amusement parks), and sports programs (soccer, football, basketball, etc.) for employees and their families to take part in. The CWF also has a number of free SHAPE fitness centers located across the NSA campus for employees.
The National Security Agency has offices around the world and four cryptologic centers (listed below) outside of its headquarters in Maryland within the United States.
NSA’s four cryptologic centers, and their respective missions, are listed below:
Before You Apply
A career with the National Security Agency can be enormously rewarding. It also demands the very best of the workforce. To meet the requirements, you must be highly competent in your field. You must also be highly reliable and trusted to safeguard some of the nation’s most sensitive information.
The following is a list of attributes all applicants must have in order to be considered for employment at NSA:
If you’re not exactly where your skills fit within the agency, try the Job Exploration Tool (JET).
Answer our short quiz about your experience, interests, and preferences, and we’ll give you recommendations on the career fields that you may want to consider.
Search for jobs and apply online using our application site.
For further assistance, please contact the IC Customer Care line at 1-844-IC-HIRES (1-844-424-4737), or email email@example.com.
Now that you’ve applied, you’ll be contacted by a recruiter to complete a job pre-screen if your skills match our qualifications.
Because NSA is a member of the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Intelligence Community (IC) we request that you use discretion when discussing your application for employment. You may tell family members or close friends, otherwise we ask that you simply state that you have applied for a government position with the DoD. We also suggest that you refrain from discussing details of your employment processing on social networking sites.
When traveling outside the country, it is important to keep a detailed itinerary of your travels and record of the names of foreign people you meet and with whom you establish close or continuing relationships. This information will need to be reported during the course of your background investigation.
Travel to certain countries is not advised. The U.S. Department of State (DOS) maintains a list of countries it believes could pose a risk to American travelers, which can be found on DOS’ Alerts and Warnings site.
An NSA Representative will contact you to review your application, resume, and job qualifications over the phone. If we decide to move forward with your application, we’ll schedule you for an operational interview with a hiring manager.
A hiring manager will interview you to review your qualification in-depth. You may be asked to take job-specific tests. If all goes well, you’ll receive a Conditional Job Offer (CJO).
- Online: NSA currently utilizes an online interview service to conduct real-time interviewing of candidates. The use of this digital talent interaction tool is more convenient and saves time during the hiring process as it allows candidates to complete the interview where and whenever they choose and on any device type (computer, tablet, mobile device).
- In-Person: If you are selected for further processing, a member of the NSA Scheduling Team will contact you to coordinate the logistics regarding your visit to the agency, where operational interviews and/or job-specific tests will take place in-person. Depending on the distance traveled, the agency may reimburse candidates for certain expenses related to their travel.
- Telephone: Certain positions at the agency require telephone interviews to be utilized prior to bringing candidates in for an in-person or online interview. If this is required for the position being applied for, a recruitment representative will reach out to you regarding scheduling.
Following your interview, the hiring manager will provide feedback to your recruiter. You will hear back from your recruiter when a decision is reached. Although rare, it can take weeks or months before a decision is reached, and candidates should not get discouraged if they do not hear back directly after their interview.
If the decision is made to move forward with an offer, you will be contacted with information pertaining to position, salary, location and directions on beginning the suitability/clearance process.
Conditional Job Offer (CJO) and Security Processing
Your recruiter will extend you a Conditional Job Offer (CJO) and give you instructions on completing your security paperwork and processing. Once we determine that you meet the requirements necessary to receive a security clearance, you’ll receive a Final Job Offer (FJO).
After receiving a CJO from your recruiter, there are several more steps in the process.
You’ll be asked to:
- Complete security forms.
- Inform contacts (family members, neighbors, former employers, roommates, etc.) listed on your security forms they may be contacted by the background investigator reviewing your case.
- Successfully complete the required polygraph and psychological evaluations.
- Submit documentation and information as requested by your recruiter, NSA Security and/or NSA Psychological Services, including but not limited to transcripts, diplomas, travel information and medical documentation, if applicable.
Conditional Job Offers are extended to candidates based upon meeting the qualifications for a job.
- Candidates under consideration for NSA positions must meet employment eligibility standards previously discussed with you. If, as a result of the background investigation process, it is determined that you do not meet these standards, NSA reserves the right to withdraw its conditional offer of employment.
Final Job Offers are extended when a valid job opening exists and candidates have completed all necessary steps in the background investigative process and been extended a security clearance by NSA.
Final Job Offer
Congratulations! You’ve meet all the requirements to work at the National Security Agency. Now all you have to do is review, sign, and return your FJO to your recruiter so you can schedule the start date of your new job.
As federal civil servants, we take an oath of office by which we swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution not only establishes our system of government, it actually defines the work role for federal employees – "to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.”
The history of the oath for federal employees can be traced to the Constitution, where Article II includes the specific oath the President takes – to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States." Article VI requires an oath by all other government officials from all three branches, the military, and the States. It simply states that they "shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution." The very first law passed by the very first Congress implemented Article VI by setting out this simple oath in law: "I do solemnly swear or affirm (as the case may be) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.“
The oath is one of the first things new hires will do as they enter on duty (EOD). New employees taking the oath take it very seriously and feel a sense of privilege as they serve the nation as an employee of the National Security Agency.
Due to the nature of the work performed here, the National Security Agency hires the best and the brightest in the intelligence business.
In order to ensure success in hiring (and keeping) the best of the best, the NSA continuously works to create a culture of caring. To accomplish this goal, leaders at NSA encourage involvement in career building programs (such as coaching and mentoring, described below) as well as participation in various Work/Life Services for employees to keep performing their best.
Additionally, NSA is committed to creating and maintaining a workplace environment that encourages and empowers each individual employee to perform at his or her best. It is therefore NSA policy to maintain a work environment free from all types of harassment and discrimination based on, but not limited to, an individual's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status, parental status, political affiliation or any other basis protected by law. This prohibition applies to harassment by anyone, including supervisors, coworkers, and contractor personnel, in the workplace at any NSA facility.
Visit our Benefits page for details on paid time off, holiday and sick leave, and programs designed to ensure a healthy work/life balance.
Note: Unless otherwise specified, enrollments or changes in enrollment to certain benefits become effective on the first day of the first pay period that begins after your employing office receives your enrollment request and that follows a pay period during any part of which you were in pay status.
New Hire Sponsor Program – Coming Soon
Once you’ve accepted an FJO, you will have the ability to take part in NSA’s optional New Hire Sponsor Program. If requested, you will be matched with an NSA employee who will:
- Provide you with a sense of belonging
- Ease the transition you and and your family members
- Help you increase productivity, make informed decisions and cultivate new networks
Buddy Program – Coming Soon
Every new employee, upon entering their office, will be assigned a “buddy” who will assist in acclimating the employee to NSA and the specific organization and office to which they are assigned. The buddy will answer specific questions regarding office protocol, basic procedures, and provide assistance ensuring a smooth transition into the NSA family.
NSA’s mentor program allows employees at any stage of their career to select a mentor who will share their wisdom, expertise, insight, and perspectives to enhance personal and professional growth. Connecting with a mentor is one of the most effective things an NSA employee can do to enhance his or her career. Through knowledge sharing and guidance, a mentor can help increase work performance, shorten learning curves, boost your morale, and expand your career horizons, opportunities and networks.
Additional information regarding NSA’s Buddy and Mentor Programs will be made available once an employee enters on duty.
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
An ERG is a group of employees who are affiliated by race/ethnicity, or common interests. They provide unique perspectives on career development, EEOD and diversity goals. NSA has the following groups:
- AA (African American)
- AAPI (Asian-American/Pacific Islander)
- AIAN (American Indian/Alaska Native)
- AV (American Veteran)
- ESL (English as a Second Language)
- HLAT (Hispanic/Latino)
- IC (Islamic Culture)
- NG (Next Gen)
- PRIDE (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Allies)
- PWD (People with Disabilities)
- W (Women)
Enter on Duty (EOD)
Your Enter on Duty (EOD) day is your first day on the job.
Welcome to the National Security Agency – we’re glad to have you on board!
Your Enter on Duty (EOD) Day is the beginning of your career at the National Security Agency! It is on this day that you will take your Oath of Office and meet your senior class adopter, an NSA senior leader that will serve as your onboarding guide, helping you to navigate your way through the first two years of your career at the agency.
Your FJO and EOD Reporting Instructions will have specific details on where to park and report on your first day of work.
Please refer to these instructions or contact your recruiter if you have any questions regarding what to do or where to go on your first day.
It is important to remember the following things prior to reporting to your first day of work with the National Security Agency:
- Reasonable accommodations are provided to individuals with disabilities who specifically provide details and information regarding their requirements prior to the scheduled appointment. Should you need any accommodations to participate in this process, please let your recruiter know as soon as possible.
- The following items are restricted from entering NSA buildings. Please leave them in your car.
- Information storage media, telephones, pagers that transmit and two-way radio transmitters, test measurement and diagnostic equipment, personally owned technical devices equipped with photographic, record/receive or transmit capabilities that may become available as global technology evolves, photographic and recording equipment, MP3/iPOD players, satellite radios, Game Boys, and CDs/DVDs.
- Fitbits – please do not wear these until you check with your manager to see what type is approved
- Each building provides a limited number of “cell phone lockers” for your use on a first- come, first-serve basis.
- The following items are prohibited from any and all NSA buildings.
- Anything that could kill, maim, or injure: firearms, bow, knives, propane tanks, explosive devices, illegal drugs.
- Please bring your completed I-9 form and valid forms of required identification.
- There are cafeterias at each location for you to purchase your lunch. Cafeterias accept cash (ATMs are located in the buildings for your convenience) or credit/debit cards. Or, you may bring your lunch. There is no refrigerator on Day 1, but there will be a refrigerator and microwave available for the rest of orientation.