Acquiring a top secret /sensitive compartment information clearance with polygraph requires your job to sponsor you for the clearance. Not all employers may offer TS/SCI clearance and many that do are government or military positions, or contracted businesses with the government or military. Once the employment decisions are made, or if the employee changes to a position where he will need a TS/SCI clearance, the investigation process may begin. Joining the military in a specialty that offers a TS/SCI is one of the easier ways to acquire it, but the military does not often require a polygraph.
Enlist or take a commission in the military and select a specialty that will ensure a top secret clearance is required, such as communication, linguists or intelligence. Taking a commission requires a bachelor's degree or the ability to complete a bachelor's degree within 2 years.
The commanding officer will likely authorize the TS/SCI clearance process before you are even aware of it. You will be interviewed by the investigator and may need to provide character references, work history and other background information and access to records.
Meet with the investigator and provide any information requested. Polygraph exams are not always required of military personnel, but may be necessary in certain circumstances such as newly commissioned officers or someone with incomplete background information available. If a polygraph is necessary, the investigator will explain the process and provide information for scheduling the exam.
Government or Contractor
Apply for a non-military government job or a contractor position with the government or military. These positions are competitive and each has different requirements, so it is advisable to consult with recruiters, job fairs or agency websites to decide on a career path.
Once accepted to the government job, the background check process is initiated if your position requires a TS/SCI clearance. Contractors are sponsored for their TS/SCI clearance, if the clearance is required for their work, through their company or the government or military agency that hires them.
Meet with the investigator when scheduled and provide information as requested. Background checks require character references as well as record reviews, and some information may be requested of you by the investigator to make the process run more smoothly. If a polygraph is required, the investigator will provide that information.
Submit to the polygraph, if required, and meet with the polygraph examiner on the scheduled date. Answer questions honestly, sticking with "yes" or "no" for your responses, as the polygraph machine cannot detect truthful or deceptive verbal responses but actually detects physiological changes in your body.
A baseline is established prior to the polygraph exam to help the examiner determine truth from lies despite nervousness.
Do not take anything (drugs, prescriptions, alcohol) prior to your polygraph exam as this can cause you to automatically fail. If you are a new employee, you may not get a second chance.