Security clearances are needed to ensure that only trustworthy people have access to classified and sensitive information. Different types of security clearances are needed for direct jobs with the federal government, as well as jobs in private sector firms that handle government contracts.
An occupation requiring a security clearance will generally earn you more money annually than a non-cleared job. Higher levels of security clearance, which give greater access to more sensitive information, result in higher pay. For example, according to the 2020 Security Clearance Jobs Compensation Report conducted by ClearanceJobs.com, on average, individuals with security clearances make $104,836 annually. Those within the Intelligence Community earn an average compensation of $122,243. Location also matters: Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland are the top 3 highest earning geographic areas, according to this report. Also, the Maryland job market is one of the largest markets for cybersecurity professionals, particularly with polygraph, fueled by the ongoing needs of the National Security Agency.
This section will provide an overview of the components of each type of clearance, as well as a sampling of the many types of jobs that require security clearances.