An intelligence officer needs:
- a high level of interpersonal and negotiation skills
- the ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds
- maturity, personal integrity and self-motivation
- the ability to work in high-pressure environments
- strong written and oral communication skills
- the ability to handle sensitive information.
Intelligence officers either work for the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) in Australia, or for the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) overseas. They work in offices, but also undertake information-gathering activities in a range of other circumstances. They may be involved in dangerous situations, and may come into contact with criminals or other dangerous individuals or groups. Intelligence officers working for ASIO must be prepared to relocate to Canberra, while those working for ASIS must be prepared to relocate overseas.
On average, intelligence officers, classified under intelligence and policy analysts, can expect to earn approximately $1 500 to $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an intelligence officer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Intelligence officers use computers, and in particular word processing and data management software. They may also be required to operate audiovisual surveillance equipment.
To become an intelligence officer, you usually have to complete a three year or equivalent bachelor's degree at university.
You must also be an Australian citizen and hold a current driver's license. Entry into graduate programs with Australian Security Intelligence Organization, Australian Secret Intelligence Service, or the Department of Defence will require applicants to undergo a security clearance. Applicants will be required to move out of state for training.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.