When applying for a job requiring a security clearance comes down to two individuals – one having an active security clearance and the other one not – normally the one having the security clearance will get the job. Why? For businesses, it basically comes down to these three reasons:

  • Security clearances are expensive.
  • They can take a long time to get.
  • There is no guarantee of approval.

Security clearances are expensive

It can cost a company thousands of dollars to obtain a security clearance for an employee. While the cost of clearance processing and adjudication is covered by the government, an employer is responsible for maintaining the staff and any overhead costs related to processing a new application If you are an unknown entity, they don’t know if there is something in your background or not that could result in a disapproval.  If so, they just lost the money they invested in you because is not refundable if your application is disapproved.

They can take a long time to get

Once the application is complete, it can take up to six months to get it approved. The investigation is very in-depth and due to the number of people interviewed and their locations, it can take a lot of time to complete. Then, once the investigation is complete, the approving authority has to go through all of the data collected and either approve or disapprove your application.

There is no guarantee of approval.

Can you imagine the frustration and loss of time and money if a company hires you without a security clearance and then something pops up in your background that ends in a disapproval of your application? Not only did they lose the money they paid up front to start the approval process, but they lost time on the project while waiting to hear back if your application was approved or not. Now the company has to start over all the way back to the hiring process.

If they can hire an employee already having a current security clearance in the first place, it saves them both time and money.

Security Clearance Life Cycle

Once you leave the job requiring a security clearance, such as getting out of the military, you have up to 24 months to get it reinstated, provided you are in a position requiring a clearance and it falls within the timeframes below. In other words, if you have a Secret clearance and leave a job three years from your last periodic reinvestigation, you could get reinstated up to 24 months later. However if you are nine years from your last reinvestigation, you would not be able to get it reinstated after 12 months because you would have reached your 10-year reinvestigation mark. You would have to go through a complete periodic reinvestigation.

Depending on the level of the security clearance, periodic reinvestigations are required every:

So if you anticipate being in school longer than two years, how do you keep your clearance intact, so it is still active once you have graduated? The only way is to work part-time in a position requiring a security clearance within 24 months of getting out. ClearanceJobs.com has temporary and part-time jobs requiring security clearances currently listed.

If hired, not only could you keep your security clearance active, but earn extra money while going to school. Many companies pay a 5-20% premium in higher salary just for having a security clearance. And what poor college student couldn’t use more money in addition to what they receive from the GI Bill!

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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.