If you live in a remote area, the truth of the job market can wear you down: not all areas are created equal. If you can’t move – or can’t afford to move – it’s hard not to feel bitter. You’re qualified for the jobs, but because of some obligation – family, most likely – the posted positions are just out of reach. They may as well not even exist. A job-seeker in Maryland isn’t really going to have trouble finding an opening; she can be choosy, and if she applies to ten places (ten, when you would kill for two), and 90% of them say no, she is still going to walk away with one job offer on the table. If you have felt geography frustration, this piece is for you. Here’s who is hiring in thin job markets, and what sort of work you can do there.

Cleared Jobs in Maine

There aren’t a lot of spy agencies hiding in Maine (that we know of), and though it’s an ocean-adjacent state, there aren’t any major military facilities as you might see in California or Florida. Without that big military-industrial footprint, it is hard for Maine to be a major player in the cleared job market. But there are jobs available, and those jobs do involve the sea. The name of the game in Maine is shipbuilding. Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, located in Kittery, Maine, has been there for centuries and is the oldest operating shipyard in the U.S. Navy. It is where submarines go for repair and refurbishment, and the jobs in the area invariably concern bending iron for seafaring vessels, or supporting the facilities to those ends. Kittery has one more card up its sleeve: it hosts one of three Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) schools for the Navy and Marine Corps. Instructor jobs can commonly be found posted right here on ClearanceJobs.

Cleared Jobs in Iowa

No borders in Iowa. No saltwater ports. And an oddly small number of military bases considering the political power its senators have long wielded in Washington. So the prospects for clearance work aren’t great in general if you limit your thinking to national security.  But the good news is government is big (well, it’s sort of good news – it’s good for our purposes, anyway) and there are more places to find cleared work than in defense. Iowa has a thriving tech scene, and major contractors have set up shop to harness the talents of engineers, programmers, and IT personnel. (Don’t know much about software development but want to learn? We can help!) These companies have contracts with such entities as the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. (If you are determined to build things that blow up other things, aerospace jobs are sometimes open there as well.) There aren’t many clearance jobs in Iowa, but they are there, with more to come.

Cleared Jobs in North Dakota

If you live in North Dakota, what more can I say? You are a hearty human being indeed – it gets cold up there! You can climb mountains. You’re treated to one of the most beautiful night skies in the United States. And you don’t have much of a military footprint except for a couple of Air Force bases. But what Air Force bases they are! And therein lie the job opportunities. When the balloon goes up and doomsday is upon us, you can be sure that North Dakota will have its voice heard before the whole world goes silent. The old joke in the Air Force used to be that if North Dakota seceded from the union, it would be the world’s third-largest nuclear power. And those nukes have created jobs! Minot Air Force Base hosts nuclear weapons for every occasion. Bombers, intercontinental ballistic missiles – if you enjoy the Fallout games, welcome to your Graceland. There aren’t many cleared jobs in North Dakota overall because, well, there aren’t many people. (It falls 47th out of 50 in terms of state population.) But from wing deployment management to computer network administration, the jobs that are there have one thing in common: the end of the world as we know it.

Cleared Jobs in Vermont

Depending on where you live in Vermont, its lack of cleared jobs isn’t necessarily a problem. Those in the southernmost part of the state can make the drive to Boston or Albany without too much headache. (I mean, how bad could a commute be with the most beautiful scenery in the United States whizzing by?) But if you live in the northern part of the state, there’s good news for you, as well. Burlington is pretty much the beating heart of employment for clearance holders. Lockheed Martin has a facility there where the F-35 is the numero uno. Presently, sorts of jobs coming out of the aircraft program include flight instructors, aircraft engineers, field support technicians – even information security, because when you are working with a weapons system that advanced, a lot of unwelcome eyes will be aimed in your direction (which is why your security clearance is so valuable). Like the other states listed here, there aren’t a lot of jobs in Vermont, but there is a jobs program in place. It may not be ideal, but you can work with that.


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David Brown is a regular contributor to ClearanceJobs. His next book, THE MISSION, will be published later this year by Custom House. He can be found online at https://www.dwb.io.