Though the National Security Agency is typically thought of as one of America’s leading spy agencies and out of reach for all but the most seasoned national security professionals, it’s actually possible to get a job with the NSA with a criminal justice degree. That’s because the National Security Agency employs its own police force, responsible for keeping the agency’s facility secure from numerous threats throughout the year. As most might imagine, an agency that has its hands in national security, defense, spying and other types of proactive defense, is typically a pretty large target for terrorists, extremists, and other types of criminals. The NSA police simply ensure that these individuals don’t affect the daily operations or overall integrity of the agency in any way.
The NSA Police Officer: What Does This Position Entail?
Though the NSA’s own police force is one of the most important such forces in the United States, it’s actually not very well-known among the general American population. Most people simply associate police work with local or state departments. The good news for criminal justice professionals is that work at the NSA is a bit different from the typical state police organization or local police department. Work is extremely high-level, and involves both proactive defense and employee training. The key responsibilities of a police officer in this capacity are as follows:
- Defend the NSA’s national headquarters in Maryland from terrorist threats and extremist attacks by monitoring key entrances, security cameras, and other internal access points.
- Control and monitor access to facility parking lots, roads and driveways, and pedestrian access points.
- Conduct inspections of any suspicious vehicles or persons requesting access to the NSA headquarters.
- Train NSA employees in the safe use and operation of firearms in case of an emergency that requires their use in outdoor or internal facilities.
- Organize and improve response plans that might be put into place in light of a security threat, a terrorist attack, a compromised part of the facility, or other emergency scenarios, and train employees to enact these plans properly.
The Requirements: Qualifying for an NSA Criminal Justice Role
As one might expect, getting a job with the National Security Agency is a pretty tall order. The stakes are high, and the agency therefore requires quite a few experiences and educational achievements prior to being eligible for this crucial role. Generally speaking, the NSA prefers all candidates to have at least a two-year degree in criminal justice. With that said, most new hires have at least a bachelor’s degree and most have a graduate degree in the criminal justice field.
The NSA notes on its website that interested candidates do need to bring more to the interview than just a related degree. Military experience is highly preferred, though the agency will typically hire those with an extensive background in law enforcement at the state level as well. An extensive background check will be required prior to an offer of employment, as well a drug test. Failure of either of these two requirements will result in a withdrawn offer of employment.
Related Resource: CIA Jobs
An Excellent Opportunity for Seasoned Criminal Justice Pros
The National Security Agency’s tough requirements are in place to make sure that the agency gets only the best, most qualified candidates from across the country. Professionals who wish to get a job with the NSA with a criminal justice degree should also bring law enforcement or military experience, a clean criminal background, and a policy of drug-free living if they wish to pass clearances and become a part of this vital police force.