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Foreign language capabilities are critical to the Intelligence Community’s (IC) ability to protect national security. Working within this career arena, you may perform research, provide translation or transcription services, assist with reporting and analysis, or you may teach a foreign language to fellow employees. Regardless of the route you choose, you’ll find an IC language career both challenging and satisfying. Few employers are able to match the opportunities that the IC offers to use your proficiency in other languages. The contributions you make will have global ramifications.

Skills requirements vary by position and agency. Several intelligence agencies offer hiring bonuses for those with language proficiency and/or monetary incentives for developing and maintaining foreign language proficiency. In addition to foreign language proficiency, strong oral communication, written communication, and critical thinking/analytical skills are desired.

Agencies often require a bachelor’s degree in a foreign language, area studies, international studies, or other related disciplines. You may be asked to learn an additional foreign language or to further your understanding of a culture in which a certain language is spoken.

Language careers are abundant throughout the IC, but not necessarily with all IC member organizations. You are encouraged to explore individual agencies for opportunities. Some of the opportunities you may find include:

  • Foreign Language Interpreter
  • Foreign Language Translator
  • Linguist
  • Language Analyst
  • Sign Language Interpreter
  • Toponymist
  • Cryptologist
  • Foreign Area Officer
  • SIGINT or HUMINT collector
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Foreign Language Instructor

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