Career Options after OPM Background Investigator?

I would like to resign from my one year as a OPM Background Investigator; I am a contractor. What other career options do I have after this? I have no computer/tech degree and no military experience. Any recommendations? Can I do anything with the skills I’ve learned from the job? I am looking for a real career.

You will find very little transferable skills. This is a very unique niche. More than likely you’ll have to reinvent your career.

One suggestion: look into Facility Security Officer (FSO) type of work.

You are not alone, the rigors of this job will definitely make you rethink career choice. I can say, no one can out “admin” an OPM investigator, if there’s one thing we’re good at it’s making sure forms are filled out properly. Additionally, maybe think about recruiting because you’ve developed skills to influence people and ask a bunch of questions to get the answers you need. Law enforcement is also a natural progression, I’ll bet people have mistaken you for a federal agent on more occasion than one. Even consider other agencies such as DHS or Secret Service, I saw a job announcement for background investigators for them a couple months back. You already have a favorably adjudicated investigation, have you considered intelligence analyst? If you’re with a vendor whose bread and butter isn’t investigations look and see what options are available to you with that vendor, its much easier to transition when you have your foot in the door. If all else fails, join the military and choose your new career.

I know doing OPM work is pretty miserable, it’s a pretty specific skillset, and people always demonize it, but I’ll have to disagree with @Duetooversight, though to an extent.

I don’t know how old you are or what you’ve done previously, or even what your aspirations are, but you can branch out into other work depending on your experience–personnel security, law enforcement, (entry level) analyst work, and (with a lot of leg work) adjudications come to mind. I’ve seen colleagues branch out into other work after a year–or less–on, though personnel security seems to be popular.

I always say consider BI work as a stepping stone if you have LE/investigations aspirations (and plenty of OPM FI’s go on to do local LE, 0083, 1811 work) or plan on kickstarting your security/personnel security goals. You can learn a great deal for those fields if your company lets you do things properly and you’re willing to independently develop your skillset. It can be reasonably assumed to be an otherwise unrewarding trajectory, unfortunately. Like @Duetooversight says, it can be very niche.

You’re not limited to the LE or personnel security realms, but you can’t reasonably expect to make a drastic change overnight. Your career trajectory is a game of chess, barring any unusual circumstances… true for any professional. Use your clearance or favorable determination to your advantage.


I would look into becoming an intelligence analyst. This career you are able to cross over. I would go to a job search engine website and look at your options. Plus, if you have your TS/SCI that is very very transferable.

Curious about this thread. Has anyone here transitioned from BI to an Intel Analyst?

I have transitioned to a personnel security officer and had a mentee who transitioned to a intel analyst.

Congrats! Any advice or words of wisdom? (I’d like to try the latter.)

Look and Compliance and Analyst positions. My Buddy just left this career and was hired at HQ for America’s biggest retail giant as the Manager of Compliance and Ethics Operations.

1 Like

I know that friend of yours and he’s amazing! Will be a huge loss to the industry

1 Like