By all indications the job market in the United States is tightening, with some 313,000 jobs added in February, while the current unemployment rate is just 4.1 percent. It is even lower for those aged 55 and over at just 3.2 percent. Full time work might be available, but what if you’re interested in pursuing part-time work – and keeping your security clearance? Part-time cleared positions are out there. The types of jobs that are available on a part time basis may not be quite as enticing as full time positions, however.
“Those tend not to be C Suite or other high level jobs,” said Chuck McCullough III, partner & chair of the national security practice group at Tully Rinckey PLLC.
“What I have seen is that there are opportunities for those who hold security clearance to pick up some extra work doing jobs that you might not expect would require clearance,” McCullough told ClearanceJobs. “I’ve seen jobs where people do some office installation work, the sort of after-hours jobs that don’t disrupt operations.”
This includes maintenance or support positions, as well as jobs such as tech support, which may require 24/7 staffing.
“Generally, we have found that the market is very competitive, and we have not seen a lot of interest from the marketplace for part-time work, especially for security-clearance required jobs,” explained Nidhi Gulati, chief recruiter for Sevatec.
“For billable work, we find that the market generally expects full time availability with quick employee responsiveness,” she told ClearanceJobs. “At this point in time, the job market has not easily lent itself to part-time, security clearance job opportunities.”
However, while the opportunities are limited, part time work is out there. And as long as you’re using your clearance for the work you’re doing, you can maintain your eligibility – whether you’re working 40-hours a week, or 15.
“We have not seen problems with holding a security clearance for part-time work in the past,” Gulati added. “As long as the clearance is registered with the employer and legitimately held, we have not seen any problems. The bigger issue we notice is that there has not been an abundance of opportunities for part-time security cleared positions.”
Part-Time Clearance Jobs Keep Veterans Active
Those leaving the military with security clearance may want to consider finding a part time position as a way to keep their clearance active. Many veterans leave the service, pursue a college degree using the GI bill, and then find their clearance eligibility has been lost.
“A part-time job is absolutely a good way to maintain that clearance,” McCullough told ClearanceJobs. “However, the way to maintain the clearance is to have someone sponsor it, and if there is an opportunity to do so this is great. In this case working part time can be good if you are suddenly in between a full time job, but another situation would be for those who retire but are thinking they might want to go back full time. A part time job would be a good way to maintain the clearance while making a final decision.”
The jobs could vary, but the trick could still be finding the right fit.
“For the right company and the right project, it could be an option,” said Gulati. “A veteran-owned company in particular might find this a good fit.”
Don’t expect many part time jobs to be advertised. Networking is crucial.
“I’d recommend that you ask around, as these jobs can be found by word of mouth,” added McCullough. “I’ve seen opportunities for people who might work physical security in the intelligence community during the day, and then work with a contractor at night. That is a good way to stay inside the community.”
Part-Time Job Concerns
Part-time work comes with drawbacks – most notably that it won’t pay as much as a full time job. And you’ll likely be on your own for benefits.
“If you need to have benefits, such as health care benefits or paid time off, this may be a reason not to pursue the part-time route,” said Gulati.
For those who take a second job for added income there are other concerns. McCullough noted that if a part-time job is a ‘side hustle’ – work you do on top of your full time job – there are ethics considerations, as well.
“You have to be careful when taking on a part time job as it relates to U.S. 18208, the ethic rules and how the work you do in a part-time capacity can conflict with your official duties,” McCullough explained. “You have to make sure that your new part-time duties aren’t overlapping with your official job.”
Wearing different hats may not be enough.
“If you are putting up furniture as a blue badger (government employee) but then get a weekend job as a green badger (contractor employee) and you do the same thing, you could actually be criminally prosecuted for this conflict,” warned McCullough.
In addition, McCullough noted that he has seen few cases where individuals can work with two contractors, and only a few cases where people might work full time for the government and then have a part time job with a contractor. Even in those cases he warns that avoiding conflict is essential.
“With a second job it shouldn’t involve anything that your day job requires you to do,” he added. “But even in cases where you do manage two jobs, you have to make sure you aren’t trying to do too much. People like the extra money, but if you’re falling asleep at either – or worse – both jobs, that isn’t going to be good for your career.”
Despite these concerns, there might be a future for those who want to take on a part time security clearance job.
“Overall, there is room for growth in the part-time market for those wishing to keep their security clearances,” said Gulati. “As our culture continues to work on work-life balance, and how to provide family care, care for aging parents and relatives, care for those with disabilities, and other responsibilities that are time consuming, I hope that more accommodations, such as part-time work can be made available.”