IT Employment

General discussion


Obtaining Clearance/Secret or Top Secret

By christineeve ·
Have any of you needed a clearance to obtain a job?

My husband is a soldier and we're moving to a new post. There are a few jobs in IT on the post that I'm qualified for, however, I don't have Top Secret clearance.

The jobs seem to require that clearance, but I have no way of getting that clearance on my own. Apparently, it's very expensive to obtain. I was told by someone who works with that subject that it's many thousands of dollars to obtain.

So my question to this knowledgeable community is: What do you know about getting a clearance on your own w/o an employer?

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

Thread display: Collapse - | Expand +

All Comments

Collapse -

Bad news...

by Bulletsponge In reply to Obtaining Clearance/Secre ...

I used to work in the cleared sector in the DC Metro. Your best bet is to try for an internship type position with one of the large vendors i.e. Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin etc and hope for a position that will require a Secret. That'll get you in the door and start your paperwork.
For US born citizens without felonys and decent credit it's pretty easy to get a interim secret. As for the Top Secret...well, it costs them a little more then many thousands, the figure I always heard was 250k. Not to mention it can take up to 2 years to get fully investigated.
Finally, you can't get a clearance on your own. You have to have a sponsored (corporate or gov) need to know something classified before they'll even start the process. Good luck though, if you can break in, it's like Charlies golden ticket!

Collapse -

With out a sponsor

by mjd420nova In reply to Obtaining Clearance/Secre ...

You can't really get one without a sponsor. But once you get a sponsor, it makes the process easier. I've held one since 1968 when I needed one for the military. It also helps if someone in your family has one, as that means much of the foot work has been done already. My grandfather had one and it was an just another generation added to the growing list of already checked out people. My son had no trouble getting his after mine was reaffirmed for a job I contracted for. I hold a Top Secret with a background investigation and a crypto clearance added. Most people can't even get cleared for confidential clearance. Good Luck

Collapse -

Secret with USNR

by christineeve In reply to With out a sponsor

I obtained Secret with the US Naval Reserve. But, according to my research it expires 2 years after you're out.

Would that make it easier? Would employers like to know that if you were applying for positions?

Thank you for taking the time to answer.

Collapse -

Your clearances

by rhomp2002 In reply to Secret with USNR

I agree with mjd420nova. Before anyone will consider giving you a top secret you have to have a need for having a top secret. Since you already had a secret, even though it might have expired, that will make it a little easier and will also make you more attractive as a prospect. The clearances go with a job and a need to know. You have to be under consideration for the job with that clearance in order for anyone to go through all the hoops to get one for you.

I held a bunch of the highest ones when I was in the service at the Pentagon many years ago and I know that it took them almost a year to process my life to get the basic top secret crypto. They had to revisit that for each of the others.

Good luck. Your best bet is to apply at the defense department or Ft Meade for a job.
Emphasize when you apply that already had the secret clearance and it might help.

Collapse -


by NickNielsen In reply to Obtaining Clearance/Secre ...

If you are hired for a position requiring a clearance, that hire is contingent on your obtaining the requisite clearance. If you have previously had a clearance, even if it's expired, it takes less time to get the renewal.

You will have to look at the classification listing to determine how to go. Some jobs require that you have a specific clearance to apply (current clearance required), while others may require you to get a clearance (ability to obtain required). If you have questions, call the contact number on the listing; they should be able to help you better.

As others have said, you can't get one on your own. Any costs of obtaining a clearance will be absorbed by your sponsor or the military.

Collapse -

Top Secret Clearance

by daring08 In reply to Obtaining Clearance/Secre ...

Christine, it is not your responsibility to get the Top Secret Clearance. That responsibility falls squarely at the feet of the Employer (viz: The Government). I was in your position years ago and you were rated to your "security level" and your "security level" was set by your "security check" which was carried out by your prospective employer. You apply for the job and they will conduct the checks and you will get the job or not determined by the results of their back ground screening. If you have any affinity with a foriegn body such as Russia or China or that sort of thing, I would not fancy your chances. If you are into any form of activism, again, I would not like your chances. If you are squeaky clean and your background has not "BREAKS" (loose ends) then you will breeze through. Good Luck, Noel.

Collapse -

A friend got one...

by mdhealy In reply to Top Secret Clearance

I've never had a clearance myself -- my career has been spent in academia and industrial R&D, where we only have to worry about commercial competitors -- but an old friend works for a Three Letter Agency and therefore had to be cleared. If memory serves, it mostly involved many quiet and very polite individuals visiting basically everybody who had ever known my friend and asking a few questions. From the sheer number of such people going around and asking, I expect it must cost *somebody* a lot of money -- especially since those going around doing the investigating must themselves have been cleared for such work. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Collapse -

Some considerations

by Sailor_John In reply to Obtaining Clearance/Secre ...

You must understand that it is the Government who decide whom they trust to deal with matters of Secret or Top Secret interests which impact on the security of the country. You must understand that to obtain a security clearance privately, is impossible. Even though a company deals in government matters, it is still the Government whom certify that companies employees to deal with sensitive material. If you need a clearance to work with a company or Government agency, then the employer will certify you with the Government's agencies.

Collapse -

I understand

by christineeve In reply to Some considerations

Thanks for your comments. I understand everything you've said because I already obtained Secret Clearence through the US Naval Reserve to work on secure bases. My clearence is expired.

The employers I'm looking at are contracting firms and they do not wish to absorb the cost of getting clearance for employees. They want people who have it already. Thus, my question about if I could update my clearance on my own.

Thanks for your contribution.

Collapse -

I was lucky

by sschafir In reply to I understand

I had a job as a contractor for the USCG back in 2000 and the contracting company obtained it for me absorbing the cost because of the money they charged. My understanding that has changed. I believe my secret security clearance expires next year. Mine was good for 7 years. Now they only hire those that already have security clearances which are for the most part ex-military (partial to Coast Guard) personnel.

Related Discussions

Related Forums