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Career Profile: Intelligence Analyst

Why Is Intelligence Analysis a Job of Tomorrow?
Intelligence analysts monitor security threats to the United States. As the nation’s population continues to expand and a rising number of tourists come to visit, such professionals will be sought after to ensure that people are kept safe. Employment opportunities for intelligence analysts are expected to increase 15 percent by 2016, according to CNN Money. Intelligence analysts make an average salary of $115,000 annually.

What Does an Intelligence Analyst Do?
Intelligence analysis is an exciting field that requires employees to have quick problem-solving skills. Intelligence analysts are responsible for ensuring the safety of U.S. residents and visitors. They work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to assist in reviewing any national security threats or rumors. Many intelligence analysts work on figuring out how seemingly disparate pieces of information piece together. For example, they may find subtle patterns in a group of known terrorists to predict which other individuals may be of future threat and should be investigated, or they may use the available information on an enemy army’s tactics to predict where they will strike next so that American military personnel will be prepared. Most analysts specialize in a field and work primarily with that subject, such as computer crime or weapons of mass destruction. They review intelligence reports—which may come in the form of satellite images, Internet conversations or military data—from the FBI and CIA and hunt for clues. Intelligence analysts are prohibited from speaking about the details of their work for security reasons.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become an Intelligence Analyst?
Intelligence analysts must have a bachelor’s degree in any field, or have been either previously or currently employed by the federal government in an intelligence position, according to the FBI. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years to complete, and the specific courses covered vary depending on the student’s field of study. However, students who earn a degree in homeland security or law enforcement would be better prepared for a career as an intelligence analyst than students from other majors. Prospective analysts should also consider learning a second language, such as Arabic, Chinese or Farsi. Applicants must also successfully complete an examination.

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