Veteran Employment: 5-Step Guide for Gaining a Security Clearance

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Airman 1st Class Brock Metscher, 28th Communications Squadron cyber systems operations operator, inputs information into a server computer at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D.
Airman 1st Class Brock Metscher, 28th Communications Squadron cyber systems operations operator, inputs information into a server computer at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., April 4, 2012. (Airman 1st Class Kate Thornton/U.S. Air Force photo)

Although many jobs in the military require a security clearance, not all do. If you've separated from the military and don't have one, don't worry. Although transferring a security clearance from the military to the civilian world is less of a hassle, there are still plenty of companies that value military experience and will help you obtain the proper clearance.

While there are several agencies that conduct security clearance checks, all government agencies and departments must adhere to the same standards when granting and investigating clearances.

Related: Search for security clearance jobs.

Step 1

  • Be offered a position at a company that requires a clearance.
  • Complete the appropriate security questionnaire - usually Standard Form 86 (SF 86).
  • Complete the questionnaire as thoroughly, honestly and with as much candor as possible.
  • The employer, not the employee, will submit the completed security questionnaire and other forms to the appropriate security service.

Step 2

  • Once the forms are received, record checks and fingerprint checks are conducted.
  • A background check is conducted by a case investigator.

Related: Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Get a FREE assessment.

Step 3

  • Complete a face-to-face interview with the investigator.
  • Investigators verify the information you supplied in your candidacy package.
  • Investigators talk to current and former neighbors, co-workers and classmates, as well as the references candidates have provided.
  • The law enforcement agencies in each place a candidate has lived, worked or attended school are contacted.

Step 4

Step 5

  • Clearance will be granted or denied, based on findings from the investigation.

Related: Discover your perfect career path and get customized job recommendations based on your military experience and vocational interests with Military.com's Military Skills Translator + Personality Assessment.

Interim Security Clearances

If the hiring bureau deems it necessary and appropriate, the OPPS or DSS may be able to grant an interim security clearance a few weeks after a job candidate has submitted a complete security clearance application package. Formal clearances usually are processed and investigated in less than 90 days.

For more information about SF-86; the Office of Personnel Management; OPPS; or the Defense Security Service (DSS), click the links below:

Related: For the latest veteran jobs postings around the country, visit the Military.com Job Search section.

The Next Step: Find the Right Veteran Job

Whether you want to polish up your resume, find veteran job fairs in your area, or connect with employers looking to hire veterans, Military.com can help. Sign up for a free Military.com membership to have job postings, guides and advice, and more delivered directly to your inbox.

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