Aspiring DCSA Investigator

Hello!

I am a college student who will be graduating within the next year. I have seen a lot of hiring posts by DCSA on LinkedIn directed towards my college. I was wondering if any experienced investigators have any tips about the career path, and especially any info regarding the hiring process. Is it a lengthy process, what is the interview experience like?

I do not have any experience in investigations. I have worked part-time as a remote intern for the Department of State, specifically as an OSINT analyst. I also have worked some retail jobs here and there.

Any tips or guidance would be appreciated!

Applying for a federal DCSA position may take a bit longer than you would like. Apply to Peraton or CACI to one of their current open investigator positions. They can hire you quicker. A humanities or criminal justice/psychology type of degree makes you more desirable candidate. The hiring process/investigation can take 6-9 months.

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You shouldn’t aspire to become a DCSA Investigator. There are much better 1800 series Investigator jobs and much more rewarding Investigative jobs than a DCSA Background Investigator. Go be a U.S. Marshall, DEA Agent, FBI Agent, or Postal Inspector before you work for DCSA. A very boring and monotonous career.

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My goal was to start with DCSA, gain experience, and then try to move over into an 1811 position. You think it’s best to just skip that and go straight for 1811? I don’t have any experience other than my internship and degree.

So getting hired into a federal position is easier once you are already a fed. Have you looked into applying to the BOP? They are really hurting for officers and are offering a 10000 sign on bonus. It will get your foot in the door with the Feds and will open you up to apply to jobs that are only open to federal employees.

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I haven’t really considered BOP but I will definitely look into their postings on USAJobs. Are there any benefits from starting somewhere like BOP instead of DCSA?

They are both Federal Jobs (if you work directly for DCSA) but you could probably get hired quicker with the BOP. They are hurting for people and your investigation would be for a public trust and not a TS, so easier to do, and you can start working prior to the investigation which makes getting hired quicker.

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There are a plethora of 1811 positions out there that only require a bachelor’s degree. After I graduated college, I had an offer as a special agent and one to be a background investigator. I chose being a background investigator and to this day regret my decision. At my age, I could already be retired had I gone to the DEA and into the law enforcement retirement system. While I enjoyed doing backgrounds, I screwed up.

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience - I’d definitely love to go right into 1811 if possible. Do you mind listing a few agencies that will take graduates that have no law enforcement or investigative experience?

I agree. If I knew then what I knew now (when I was younger) I would have not chose this job.

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I feel the same exact way so you’re not alone.

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Is the experience better as a federal investigator vs contractor?

Hello. I checked USA Jobs and it looks like both DEA and Secret Service are hiring for entry level positions. Don’t forget about the CIA who has a position called the Multi Discipline Security Officer position which is also an entry level position.