Atlanta is the 10th largest city in the United States, with growing opportunities for security clearance workers. Atlanta has a number of professional and business services positions, and is also home to finance, healthcare, and high tech positions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is located in DeKalb County and employs more than 15,000, including a number of positions requiring security clearances.

Cleared companies currently hiring in Atlanta include Amazon Web Services, Leidos, GDIT, SAIC, and Booz Allen, with positions ranging from data scientist and engineer to tactical analyst and computer security specialist. Suburb Marietta, GA is home to Lockheed Martin and a number of other companies in aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and bioscience.

While the state of Georgia is home to several military installations, including Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, and Fort Stewart, the CDC is the major government employer in the city of Atlanta. Lockheed Martin‘s Marietta facility is also one of the city’s top employers, with approximately 5,000 working at the facility, which is one of Lockheed’s three major aircraft production facilities. The Marietta facility is one of the sites affected by Lockheed’s voluntary layoff program, a response to the downturn in aviation demand following the coronavirus pandemic and economic slowdown. Despite layoffs in the production facility, however, Lockheed continues to have hiring needs in Marietta for positions including software and structural engineering, design, and production management.

Benefits of Taking a Cleared Job in Atlanta

If you’re considering a cleared job opportunity in Atlanta, there are a few benefits. First, the cost of living is relatively low – particularly when compared to other cleared hotspots like Washington, D.C. or Silicon Valley. Access to a major airport makes travel easy – you can get a direct flight from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport to just about any major U.S. city and a number of international locations.

Climate is a major draw for other job seekers, as well as the ability to be in the mountains in an hour or on the beach with just a half-day’s drive. Like most major metros, the public school scene is a bit of a toss-up – some are highly rated, and others are considered below average. Traffic is another negative. Public transportation options are not as robust as some other metros, and with a lot of cars on the road, traffic can be a nightmare if you don’t plan your commute right.

Hot Industries in Atlanta

If you’re looking for a city where you can combine interests or experience in tech, data, and medicine, Atlanta is a great option. A number of government contractors do cleared work in support of the CDC, and their job openings range from positions in public health and epidemiology to IT specialist and public health advisor. Most positions require at least a public trust security clearance. With the coronavirus pushing the government to ramp up efforts to find both a vaccine, and educate the public on the changing health situation and requirements, the CDC has become a vital source of information about how to protect yourself, what to do if you’re sick, and how cases are advancing or changing.

The coronavirus is a perfect example of how public health is a national security issue – and cleared professionals are needed to both research options, educate the public, and keep data safe. The National Counterintelligence and Security Center has repeatedly noted that foreign adversaries are aggressively seeking ways to use the current pandemic to advance their counterintelligence efforts. Biomedical data is just another element of our personal privacy China is eager to get its hands on, and why the U.S. intelligence community is working to ensure as health measures are implemented and testing information is made available, it’s sourced through secure channels.

Diversity of Opportunity Active in Atlanta

One of the biggest benefits of working in Atlanta is the diversity of the cleared contractor community. In addition to opportunities with the federal government, cleared professionals can apply their clearances and skills to positions from finance to cybersecurity and technology. Upward mobility is always aided by having a variety of companies vying for the right talent. Being located near multiple prestigious colleges also increases opportunities to continue your education, and fuels the talent pool with fresh ideas. Georgia Tech, Morehouse College, and Emory University provide both talent and new ideas to help fuel and advance the tech and research community.

If you’re looking for a new city to put your security clearance to good use, don’t neglect Atlanta. It offers a number of benefits, from geography and cost of living to diversity of opportunity – and cleared employers are hiring now.

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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.