Opportunities abound in the defense industry where every job discipline requires a security clearance to perform on the contracts. Classified contracts require services that include staffing, janitorial, graphic design, accounting, finance and more. Technical experience is needed as well with mechanics, software designers, engineers, program managers and their support.
For the unfamiliar the security clearance process may seem daunting. The lack of information of how to get started, the required forms, interviews, waiting, and expectations can make the entire experience out of the individual’s control. However, there is a well-established and efficient process that the government undertakes and you can be in as much control of the experience as possible.
A Little Background
Whether or not in college, gainfully employed outside of the defense industry, or starting a business, as the reader, you are interested in gaining a security clearance and starting a profession with the more than 13,000 Cleared Defense Contractors (CDC) making up the industrial base. Though you may be aware of the opporutnities, you may be wondering how to get started and I usually get asked the following question:
“How do I get a clearance so I can get a classified job?”
It’s a great question, but it can’t be answered easily as asked. The clearance comes after the job requirements. The question is often asked and in the form asked, skips right by the most fundamental question of whether or not an individual qualifies for a clearance and what is the process for getting a clearance. I will attempt to answer the first question by providing answers to the other two questions:
Can I get a security clearance?
Yes, the security clearance process is open to U.S. Citizens. If after a thorough investigation you are deemed trustworthy, you may be granted a question. However, not just anyone can apply; see the next question.
How do I get the clearance?
By applying for a job that requires a security clearance or starting your own company and winning classified contracts.
How long does it take to get a clearance?
This could take a few months to over a year depending on the investigation and adjudication of findings. The investigation is very in depth and depends a lot on information the applicant proides on the SF-86 application.