Is a Public Trust the Same as a Security Clearance?

Security Clearance Security Clearance Files

A reader asks, what is a public trust position, and is it the same as a security clearance?

ClearanceJobs contributor Jeffery Bennett, ISP, replies:

No, it is not considered a clearance. Some of the investigations are similar to a security clearance investigation, but security clearances are not granted as an end result of non-security clearance positions.

Some government positions are deemed more sensitive than others. Government employment requires hiring responsible people for judicious roles such as managing finances, overseeing processes, inspecting compliance, and protecting people and assets, among others. While many government jobs do not require a security clearance, certain sensitive positions—often ones for protection of national security—demand especially knowledgeable and responsible employees. Such positions are designated as “Public Trust Positions.”

The suitability criteria for a public trust position are the same, but not as detailed.

“Public Trust positions require persons with not only the right job skills, but a high degree of trustworthiness,” said Bennett. “Agencies determine whether the positions are sensitive or non-sensitive and if non-sensitive, determine the risk level of low, moderate or high. The higher the risk level, the more impacting employee misbehavior can be. Depending on the risk level, the appropriate investigation is initiated.”

Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves the NISPPAC, social media, and the U.S. military. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.