Serve the Public Good
Are you driven to improve your community? You’re not alone.
The numbers don’t lie when it comes to the amount of people who work in areas of Law + Government. Over 22 million people, or 16.7% of the U.S. workforce, work in federal, state, and local governments, over 1.3 million lawyers practice within the United States, and close to 300,000 individuals work as paralegals or legal assistants.
With so many people working together to build society at its core, opportunities are prime for Gauchos looking to make a difference. Careers in Law + Government share some similarities and a few key differences--learn how you can join the movement of public servants and prepare yourself for a successful future.
Click to view opportunities related to Law + Government in Handshake. Customize your filters and learn how to search for UCSB career success!
Discover Options: FBI and CIA
For complete information on assessing yourself, choosing majors, and exploring careers, review our starter tips to Discover Options in all careers as well as the specialized tips on this page.
More Than Just an Agent
Do you dream of the life of a detective? Whether you are interested in becoming an agent or you simply want to play a part in a prominent national security agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offer a variety of career opportunities to consider.
In the FBI, agents hold law enforcement positions and investigate domestic crimes. In the CIA, agents focus on information and intelligence overseas that is vital to policy in the United States. Together, both branches of the United States Intelligence Committee work to serve and protect the people of the United States.
Aside from the large quantity of information on the FBI and CIA websites, professional associations also provide a wealth of knowledge to support your discovery of careers in national security.
Here are a few professional associations to begin exploring:
- FBI Agents Association
- Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
- Association of Former Intelligence Officers
- Law Enforcement Intelligence Units
- International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts
- International Association for Intelligence Education
Did You Know?
Many positions in the FBI and CIA are available to individuals who have a background in the liberal arts and social sciences.
Contrary to popular belief, not all FBI and CIA positions require experience in law enforcement or computer science. "Soft skills" and transferable skills can be very applicable.
Careers in the FBI
As depicted by FBIJobs.gov, many different positions are employed through the FBI. These positions are organized into two primary career paths:
- Operations and Intelligence Career Paths: Focuses on "the front line" roles, including special agents, intelligence analysts, surveillance, forensic accounting, and foreign languages.
- Specialized Career Paths: Addresses "behind the scenes" work in national safety, including positions in arts and communication, business and administration, facilities and logistics, legal services, medical assistance, police and security, and STEM.
For additional information on FBI careers, follow the YouTube Channel of the FBI. More specifically, watch videos featuring informational interviews with a Special Agent, Intelligence Analyst, Chemist, and Management and Program Analyst.
Careers in the CIA
Similar to the FBI, there are a number of Career Opportunities at the CIA. These opportunities are organized into six areas:
- Enterprise & Support
- Foreign Language
Together, there are over 100 unique job titles at the CIA, including counterterrorism analyst, operations officer, cyber threat analyst, physician, ethics attorney, truck driver, and more. With such a diverse set of opportunities, the CIA has developed a Job Fit Tool which matches you to career opportunities based on your skills and abilities.
If you are planning for a career in the FBI or CIA, we recommend that you choose a major that best aligns with your individual career goals in these agencies.
Some positions in the FBI and CIA have specific educational requirements, while others are open to various educational backgrounds and majors. For example, if the FBI role of Forensic Accountant interests you, studying accounting could be necessary. In another instance, to work as a Public Affairs Specialist, studying an area that provides a strong foundation in media, communication, and writing would satisfy the qualifications. Within the CIA, a position of Cartographer requires a degree in geography, while a Human Resources Analyst could focus on statistics or social science to gain the preferred skills.
In addition to these considerations, obtaining a high GPA can be important to qualify for this type of work, as most CIA positions require a minimum 3.0 GPA. This means that choosing a major that matches your skills and interests could support your GPA, so we encourage you to consider your academic preparation from multiple perspectives.
Because the CIA mostly focuses on foreign intelligence, foreign language fluency is a beneficial addition to a major of your choice. If you learn one or more languages, the CIA offers extra incentives for candidates with these skills.
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