How to Become an Intelligence Specialist in the US

How to Become an Intelligence Specialist in the US

Intelligence analysis is the process of evaluating information from multiple sources and determining whether it is credible and accurate. Intelligence specialists are in charge if this process. Although many intelligence specialists work for government agencies, others work for business organizations.

If you are a good organizer with strong analytical skills and a high level of attention to detail, this could be your ideal career.

What Do Intelligence Specialists Do?

The specific duties of intelligence specialists vary by employer. While those working government agencies such as the army focus on obtaining intelligence for combat operations and attacks against the US, specialists working for businesses mainly gather trade intelligence.

In general, however, their job involves the following activities:

  • Gathering intelligence from Web-based sources, individuals and organizations
  • Analyzing the raw data and passing credible information to intelligence officers or business managers
  • Holding presentations to inform senior officers on their analyses
  • Preparing reports
  • Receiving instructions from senior intelligence officers or business managers.

Work Environment

Intelligence specialists typically work in a fast-paced office equipped with modern computers and other equipment. Those working for the government could be based in the US or production areas abroad.

Because intelligence analysis is a 24-hour process in government agencies, government specialists typically work on a shift system. They also wear a uniform while at work.


The following table highlights the annual salaries for intelligence specialists in different career levels.

Job Level


Annual Salary

Beginning intelligence specialist


$45,000 - $75,000

Experienced intelligence specialist


$76,000 - $89,000

Intelligence officers/managers


$90,000 - $110,000


Source: Payscale US

Entry Requirements

To become an intelligence specialist in a government agency, you must:

  • Be an American Citizen
  • Have a clean criminal background
  • Be a high school graduate
  • Complete a recruit training program.

Source: America’s Navy

To find the job in a business entity, you must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science or information systems.

Important Skills and Abilities

Whether you will be working in a government agency or a business organization, you will need the following competencies:

  • Strong analytical skills
  • A high level of attention to detail
  • Assertiveness
  • Good computer skills
  • Good organizational skills
  • Good speaking and writing skills
  • Good teamwork skills

Career Progression

Career progression opportunities are available to intelligence specialists. If you work in a business setting, you can:

With these credentials, you could become a business intelligence manager.

On the other hand, intelligence specialists working for government agencies need to combine vast work experience and a bachelor’s degree in intelligence studies to become intelligence officers.

Job Opportunities

Qualified intelligence specialists can find jobs in the following organizations:

Finally, intelligence specialists can expect to find jobs in whichever setting they choose to work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, various security, defense, law enforcement and intelligence agencies will recruit about 155,000 personnel each year through 2022. As for business intelligence specialists, the bureau estimates the creation of 133,800 jobs each year in the business sector. Evidently, this is a double faceted career worth pursuing.


Image: Wikipedia