Qualifications and Policies

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Yes. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for NSA employment.

Individuals who hold dual citizenship are not precluded from applying for positions at NSA. Dual citizenship may raise questions about foreign preference or loyalty, and will need to be resolved before a clearance can be granted. These concerns can vary from case to case and will be addressed on an individual basis.

All applicants for employment are considered without regard to age, color, disability, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, or status as a parent. If you believe that you are a victim of unlawful discrimination based on the above-protected categories, you must contact an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) counselor within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory event before filing a formal complaint with the Agency. To contact an EEO Counselor, please call 301-688-1087.

The minimum age for employment as a High School Work Study (HSWS) participant is 16 years of age (by August 31 following your junior year in high school). To become an NSA police officer, you must be at least 21 years old. All other positions have a minimum age requirement of 18 years. There is not an age limit to work at NSA.

There are some positions that have specific physical requirements. A current example is NSA police (NSAP) officer positions. Applicants are required to complete a functional fitness test consisting of a 1.5-mile run, 300-meter sprint, pushups and situps.

Yes. Employees of and applicants to NSA are subject to random urinalysis testing in accordance with NSA/CSS Policy 4-1, 'NSA/CSS Drug Abuse and Civilian Drug Deterrence Policy,' and Executive Order 12564 'Drug-free Federal Workplace.' To read the Executive Order, please refer to the OPM website. In addition, employees must not use illegal drugs or misuse prescription medications. During the pre-employment applicant process, a urine test may be required to detect the presence of illegal or controlled substances in an applicant's system. Positive test results or refusal to be tested will be considered in determining an applicant's eligibility for employment, and may be the basis for denial of employment.

Veterans' Preference gives eligible veterans preference in appointment over non-preference eligible applicants, but is not a guarantee of employment. Per the Veterans' Preference Act of 1944 as amended, the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 2108, other sections of title 5 United States Code, and DODI Number 1400.25, V2005, NSA is required to grant priority in selection to qualified veterans with 5- or 10-point preference over non-preference eligibles with substantially equal qualifications of knowledge, skills and abilities. Applicants must provide supporting documentation to receive Veterans' Preference and may do so at any time during the hiring process.

Visit the Department of Labor's online Veterans' Preference Advisor and answer a series of yes/no questions to verify your eligibility.

Application and Hiring Process

You can submit a resume for each position or use the same resume. Your skills/qualifications will be matched against all available openings.

Resumes are kept for six months.

There is no "typical" application process time, however, an applicant should expect that the process is considerably longer than normally experienced in private industry because every applicant is required to have a Top Secret/Special Intelligence clearance.

The National Security Agency's hiring process addresses both employment suitability and security reliability issues. Only U.S. citizens are eligible for NSA employment. To obtain the security clearance for NSA employment, applicants must satisfy the criteria found in Executive Order 12968 and Intelligence Community Directive (ICD) Number 704. The hiring process includes, but is not limited to, psychological screening, a polygraph interview , and an extensive background investigation. Additionally, all applicants and employees are subject to random drug testing in accordance with Executive Order 12564. We strongly recommend all responses to questions posed by representatives of the National Security Agency at any time during employment processing be complete, candid and truthful.

* The forms are available for use with Adobe Acrobat Reader. The latest, free version of Acrobat Reader is available for download at Adobe.

NSA is a member of the Department of Defense (DoD) and Intelligence Community (IC). We process and adjudicate security clearances based on federal law, executive orders, and DoD and IC directives. Our best word of advice is to be completely candid during the security process. Your cooperation in this regard will help ensure that the process goes more smoothly and quickly. This begins with completing all the security forms accurately and honestly.

The clearance process can be lengthy. Each applicant is unique in terms of life experience and background. Factors include the location and number of investigative interviews required (i.e., a person with several employers and residences will likely take longer to investigate than a person with only one residence or employer during the period of investigation).

The background investigation helps determine the applicant's honesty, trustworthiness, reliability, discretion and unquestioned loyalty to the United States. During the background investigation, previous and current employment, education, and residence are verified; and interviews are conducted with knowledgeable sources, such as friends, neighbors, supervisors and co-workers. In addition, credit and police checks are conducted to ensure the applicant meets the standards for access to Sensitive Compartmented Information. Personal interviews are conducted to review the completed security forms and discuss the topics necessary to help NSA adjudicate the applicant's eligibility for a security clearance.

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.

We at NSA appreciate your interest in us. While NSA is not a volunteer organization, and unfortunately cannot accept offers of help from the general public, we fully understand your desire to help. If you wish to join us in our mission, we encourage you to submit your resume. This is the first step in our formal employment process.

You may contact IC Customer Care by phone or email at 1-844-424-4737 (844-IC-HIRES) or help@IntelligenceCareers.gov.

Salary and Training

NSA offers competitive salaries that are commensurate with a candidate's education and experience. NSA employees, in certain circumstances, may also be eligible to receive overtime compensation, holiday pay, night differential, Sunday premium pay, bonuses and other allowances. In an effort to recruit and retain highly talented and sought-after candidates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as of September 2014, NSA increased salaries for most STEM fields by an average of 12 percent. This rate makes NSA STEM salaries not only more competitive with the private sector, but it also makes NSA one of the highest paying agencies for STEM talent in the Intelligence Community. The new pay scale affects about 74 work roles. The minimum entry-level salary (including locality pay) for computer science, mathematics and computer/electrical engineering fields is $66,568. (Entry-level is defined as having a bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience.)

This depends on the requirements of each position, along with the skills, education and experience of the individual. It is a mutual determination, between the hiring manager and the new employee, of what internal/external training and experiences they believe are the best combination to develop the person and make him/her more productive.


The State of Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development sponsors a website that provides useful information about the state. Under the section "About Maryland," demographics and other data are provided about each county. The department may be contacted at 1-888-ChooseMD (1-888-246-6763).

WorkLife4you, an agency paid benefit, provides information and referrals and detailed neighborhood profiles to help you and your family explore your options, relocate and settle into your new community.

DNRP is a relocation service provided to eligible and authorized DoD civilian employees to assist them with selling their homes at the prior duty station, as well as locating housing appropriate to their needs at the new duty station. For more information on the program, visit DNRP handbook or call 1-800-344-2501.

Commuting to NSA

NSA Headquarters is conveniently located between Baltimore and Washington D.C., off the Baltimore/Washington Parkway (MD-295) in Ft. George G. Meade, Md. There is no public transportation to the NSA Campus. NSA is a secured facility and entry is permitted only for authorized visitors.

NSA has sufficient parking for employees and visitors. No permits are required for general parking; however, a permit is required to park in spaces designated for persons with disabilities and work-related or medical-related parking. There are signs that clearly mark all designated parking areas. Uncleared visitors must park outside of the fence line.