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Professional Life

A Security Clearance Will Boost Your Career
By USBE Online
Jun 13, 2014, 19:19

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Security clearance requirements and careers in many STEM disciplines go together like apples and pies, but almost anyone can bake; only the federal government can grant security clearances.

A security clearance is needed to have access to restricted material. Military and retired military personnel are the most likely people to have some type of clearance. Individuals cannot obtain a security clearance on their own.

A cleared contractor or a government department or agency must be your sponsor, and you have to be either employed by a cleared contractor or hired as a consultant for a job that requires a clearance.

Clearance has a sizable monetary benefit. It can create a salary upgrade of between $5,000 and $15,000 for applicants with relevant experience who want to work with private sector defense contractors. Their clearances are authorized with the industrial security program that is administered by DISCO, a part of the Joint Information Systems Technology, a military agency.

Clearances are valuable for individuals who want to work in a variety of government departments and agencies including the Department of Homeland Security. There are also increasing opportunities for clearance holders include the medical, telecommunications, education, and financial sectors. Human resource managers are on the lookout for applicants with current clearances, and particularly for those who also have cyber security backgrounds.

Where to look for work

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Security Service (DSS) agency,

The Defense Industrial Security Clearance Office (DISCO) “processes requests for industrial personnel security investigations and provides eligibility or clearance determinations for cleared industry personnel under the National Industrial Security Program (NISP).”

How to apply,

DISCO says that there are more than 1,000,000 cleared personnel under the NISP. Applicants can apply for clearance online with an SF86 (applicant's Questionnaire for National Security Positions) found at the following page at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management:

Defense’s Security Service Student Internships

Are you interested in gaining experience in the field of industrial security? Summer interns are full-time employees on a temporary appointment and the internships are from June -September.

Applicants must
• Be U.S. citizens
• Be enrolled in an accredited college or university
• Have completed at least 30 semester hours
• Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale
• Complete a 500-word essay describing why you are interested in an internship at DSS and how this internship will help you grow as an individual

Tips, Contacts, and News You Can Use

• The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Energy Outlook

• The Occupational Outlook Handbook shows the breadth of the STEM employment options that are likely to be available through 2020

• NASA announced a new multi-year Mars program.

• Government Executive magazine published The Technologist’s Guide to 2013

• The Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative needs computer engineers, computer scientists, cyber security, construction engineers and other information technology specialists.

• The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of National Coordinator for Health IT wants to hire Information Technology specialists

• Check out the National Institute for Standards and Technology Cloud Computing Program

• See the 34 organizations that got Department of Homeland Security Contracts
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