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What Is 6C Security Clearance?

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A level 6C security clearance is a Public Trust Position clearance required for federal employees and contractors who will have access to classified information, computer systems or restricted areas where the risk and magnitude of damage that could be done by the employee is high.


Security clearance level 6C is "high risk," meaning the individual has the "potential for exceptionally serious impact involving duties especially critical to the agency mission, with broad scope of authority, with major program responsibilities, which affect a major IT system," according to the U.S. Department of Education. IT security administrators, web server administrators and project managers are examples of positions requiring a level 6C security clearance.

Preliminary Screening

Before an employee can be assigned to a high-risk IT position, he will need to undergo a preliminary screening. The preliminary screening may include a review of the completed security forms, a credit check, a records check and a file check.

Background Investigation

A background investigation is required for a level 6C security clearance. The government will initiate the background investigation after a successful preliminary screening.


Employees with a level 6C security clearance must undergo periodic reinvestigations, at least once every five years.


Steve McDonnell's experience running businesses and launching companies complements his technical expertise in information, technology and human resources. He earned a degree in computer science from Dartmouth College, served on the WorldatWork editorial board, blogged for the Spotfire Business Intelligence blog and has published books and book chapters for International Human Resource Information Management and Westlaw.

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