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How Security Clearances Work

A lot of jobs with government contractors or military-related agencies require some sort of security clearance. These clearances are necessary to allow you to work with confidential information. In order to qualify for a clearance, you will have to undergo a rather intensive background investigation. How long this takes depends on the type of clearance you are seeking. Learn more about the security clearance process and how potential employees are screened.

How the Process Starts

Although it is possible to get your own clearance, this process is usually done by the employer. A business or agency may use security clearance services to handle the job. These services will ensure that the appropriate paperwork is filed to initiate the background check. They will submit this information to a government agency, such as the U.S. Department of State. However, most employers don’t start this process until they actually decide to hire someone. Usually, the job offer is dependent on the outcome of the security clearance application.

The Investigation Stage

As noted above, there is an intensive background investigation that occurs during the security clearance application process. A state agency may need to interview the employee to verify information in the application. These agencies may also reach out to friends and family of the person to confirm the results. Furthermore, there will be a thorough examination of an applicant’s criminal record, educational history and financial information. As you can see, there are several steps involved. This is one of the reasons it takes a while to get a security clearance.

Classes of Security Clearances

Businesses that hire security clearance services will need to know what type of clearance is needed. There are actually a few different levels of clearances. Most people are familiar with the top secret designation. This is the most difficult level to get. In most cases, it can take almost a year to qualify. It is best to use security clearance services to handle this type of request.