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Can You Join the FBI or CIA Without a College Degree?

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Jobs with the FBI and CIA provide more than a place to work. Employees in both agencies know they are helping keep the U.S. safe from terrorism and crime. Although most positions at the FBI and CIA require college degrees, it is possible to be hired for support and clerical positions with just a high school diploma.

Degrees are Desirable

Both the FBI and the CIA require their agents, analysts and candidates for most other, non-clerical jobs to have, at minimum, four-year college degrees. Some jobs, such as those for scientists, require graduate degrees.

Diplomas at the CIA

To work for the CIA officially, a person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, and have at least a high school diploma. Without a college degree, however, jobs will be for clerical and other support positions.

Special Skills for the FBI

Some FBI divisions – such as the Operational Technology Division – hire applicants without college degrees for entry-level positions. These employees possess desirable skills such as the ability to work as part of a team, and specialized experience in the area they'll be working in, such as data communications or finance.


Barbara Bean-Mellinger is an award-winning writer in the Washington, DC area. She writes nationally for newspapers, magazines and websites on topics including careers, education, women, marketing, advertising and more. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pittsburgh.

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