There’s a lot of mystery around working in national security or even for the federal government. Sometimes, the jobs are cool, but sometimes, they’re just your average nine-to-five jobs (cue Dolly). That can make people wonder why anyone wants to go for a job that requires a security clearance. But getting a job with a U.S. security clearance can serve up a lot of benefits and opportunities. And history tells us that no matter how seemingly small the role, cleared roles are important in protecting our nation’s interests and making sure our citizens stay safe.

Five Reasons to Get a Job That Requires a Security Clearance

Here are five reasons why obtaining a job with a U.S. security clearance is a good choice.

1. Contributing to National Security

This is the why for going through the security clearance process. It’s all about the mission. Because when you get a job that requires a security clearance, that means that you have the opportunity to contribute directly to the protection and defense of the United States. Whether you’re involved in intelligence analysis or cybersecurity or program support, you’ll play a crucial role in safeguarding the nation’s interests. And that’s a good reason to come to work every day.

2. Professional Growth and Development

Once you get your foot in the door with a security clearance, you’ll find that jobs in national security often offer extensive opportunities for professional growth and development. The federal government and many contractors offer specialized training, advanced education programs, or certification programs. And the work often gives you access to cutting-edge technologies, so you’ll have the chance to enhance your skills and knowledge. This can get you set up for long-term career success.

3. Competitive Compensation

It’s not all about the Benjamins, but in today’s economy, competitive compensation goes a long way. And many national security positions offer competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits packages. Find a specialized job that requires a high clearance and you will find yourself in hot demand (here’s looking at you, DevSecOps with a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) with a polygraph). And where there’s demand with limited supply, there’s a higher compensation. And working for the federal government often translates to a healthy benefits package.

4. Diverse Career Paths

Jobs in national security span a wide range of disciplines and sectors. From intelligence agencies and defense organizations to law enforcement and cybersecurity firms, the world is pretty much your oyster. With all those options, it’s just up to you to find a role that aligns with your interests, skills, and expertise. Find that sweet spot, and you’ll have a fulfilling and engaging career.

5. Making a Difference

Similar to supporting the national security mission, making a tangible difference is a key driver as well. Dedicate your skills and efforts to protecting the country, and you can actually have a direct impact on the safety and well-being of millions of people. The work matters, and it can be incredibly rewarding. From responding to a worldwide crisis, like COVID-19 to making advancements in cybersecurity, dedicated individuals have been working in roles that have made a difference.

Jobs that require a security clearance aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re only in it for the access to classified information, you might want to think again. And while some may have more background stories that have to make it through the vetting process, no one is perfect. Don’t let your formal life hold you back. Getting a job that requires a security clearance often means career opportunities and growth – all while getting paid well and contributing to the U.S. and the world.

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Jillian Hamilton has worked in a variety of Program Management roles for multiple Federal Government contractors. She has helped manage projects in training and IT. She received her Bachelors degree in Business with an emphasis in Marketing from Penn State University and her MBA from the University of Phoenix.