Security Clearance Jobs in DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia
Best East Coast Cities for DefenseBy Tranette Ledford and ClearanceJobs Average Security-Cleared Earnings Location Salary Virginia $98,658 Maryland $94,398 Washington, D.C. $98,542 Source: 2010 ClearanceJobs Compensation SurveyWashington, D.C.Up and down the east coast, employers are looking to ﬁll shortages in “Even though there arean ever evolving job market — one driven by the demand for increased improvements in processingsecurity and high tech skills. This is creating excellent prospects for the backlog of securitytransitioning service members and other professionals who hold a clearance applications, thosesecurity clearance. who already hold one have aThe Washington, D.C. region is now so vast it is distinguished as two separate deﬁnite advantage.”divisions; the D.C./Northern Virginia region and Maryland’s Montgomery —John Palgutaand Frederick counties. While it’s always been abundant with museums, Vice President, Partnership for Public Servicetheaters, art and history events, the same is true of the job market. In fact,according to the Partnership for Public Service, the entire region is about tosee a hiring surge. The government plans to take on more than 270,000 newemployees over the next few years — about 40,000 of those in and aroundD.C. That trend will directly affect the pool of security cleared job seekersheading east.“When there are vacancies, federal agencies want to hire quickly,” saidJohn Palguta, Vice President, Partnership for Public Service. “Even thoughthere are improvements in processing the backlog of security clearanceapplications, those who already hold one have a deﬁnite advantage.”Hiring trends look particularly good in two sectors; security and protection,and compliance and enforcement. Given the nature of these sectors, clearedpersonnel have a leg up in the competition for jobs in engineering, logistics,intelligence, program management, administration, ﬁnance and networksecurity. In fact, according to ClearanceJobs 2010 Compensation Survey,nearly one-quarter of security-cleared professionals working in the Capitalregion (Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia) attributed their compensationincreases to changing employers.
Northern Virginia High Growth Areas in VirginiaAcross the Potomac, the picture looks just as good. Opportunity is knockingloudly for security cleared job seekers, as both federal and private sectorbusinesses often intertwine with defense and security. For example, the • Contract Intelligenceregion has an extensive transportation sector, with two major airports, • Software / Systems / Networka commuter rail and subway system. The infrastructure surrounding the Engineeringnation’s capitol adds to the need for security clearances and backgrounds in • Cyber Security / Informationengineering, management and network and physical security. Assurance • AerospaceNorthern Virginia has too many federal facilities to count. But big employersinclude the Pentagon, CIA, Fort Myer and Fort Belvoir. Across from the • Modeling & SimulationPentagon in Crystal City, military departments and defense contractors • Acquisition / Procurementboth have a strong presence. More than 600 have ofﬁces in Arlington alone,which also boasts the highest paid workers in the region. Fortune 1000 • Business Developmentcompanies with a presence here also include Booz Allen Hamilton, Computer • Contract ManagementSciences Corporation, DynCorp International, General Dynamics and CACIInternational.According to Evan Lesser, founder and director of ClearanceJobs, which “Our number one draw formatches security-cleared personnel with federal and defense industry hiringmanagers, the recession has had minimal impact on security clearance jobs. transitioning service members is the fact that if you’re security“Northern Virginia contractors tell ClearanceJobs.com that they areparticularly interested in three skills,” said Lesser. “First, contract cleared, there’s likely a job matchintelligence professionals are in high demand, despite the government’s for you,”desire to bring intelligence analysis work in-house. Second, clearedcandidates with Java programming skills remain highly coveted and are some —Chris Gullicksonof the highest paid technology professionals across the country. Finally, with Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliancethe government’s focus on cyber-security, job seekers with clearances andnetwork security certiﬁcations like the CISSP and those from GIAC are ﬁndingtheir pick of jobs here.”As for quality of life, Northern Virginia has a low unemployment rate andhigher than average salaries. For example, civil service employees in gradesGS 9 through GS 13 can earn between $50,000 and $98,000, while those inGS 14 and above earn six ﬁgure incomes. Private sector employees of equalexperience can command even higher salaries.While the housing industry slumped over the last few years, the NorthernVirginia Association of Realtors puts the median price of homes sold inOctober, 2009 at $356,000.Southern VirginiaHeading southeast, the Hampton Roads region is marked by strong ties tothe defense industry. Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach helpmake up what is now the seventh largest metro area in the nation. Militaryinstallations and supporting businesses employ about 800,000 people,keeping the region rife with opportunity for those with a security clearance.Prominent names like Aerotech, Honeywell and Titan Systems dominate theaerospace sector. Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems lead the ship buildingindustry. The region is also becoming the epicenter for one of the newestﬁelds - modeling and simulation. Prompted by the Global War on Terror, the
Lockheed Martin Innovation Center was set up in Suffolk. The 50,000 squarefoot laboratory serves as the nerve center for net-centric experimentation Highest Cleared Earnings Byand analysis, opening wide the doors for job seekers with high tech skills and Job Category Nationwidea clearance. Other employers include Capstone and Loyola Enterprises. Old ’10 EarningsDominion University is also following suit. It will begin granting undergraduate Program, Project Manager – $125,784degrees in modeling and simulation in 2010. Engineering IT Databases – Admin, Architect, $118,482“Our number one draw for transitioning service members is the fact or Datathat if you’re security cleared, there’s likely a job match for you,” said IT Program/Project Management $111,642Chris Gullickson, Business Recruiting Manager, Hampton Roads Economic IT Software Programming $106,766Development Alliance. “The second draw is the quality of life.” Telecommunications Engineering $105,139 Electrical Engineering $104,982Southern Virginia has a healthy climate and a healthy economy, with housingprices that have dropped 20 percent in the last year. Another perk — one of Aerospace/Aviation Engineering $103,733the lowest combined state and local tax rates in the country. Program/Project Manager $103,444 IT Network/Systems Security $99,158 Intelligence Analyst, Linguist, or $90,222Maryland InterrogatorMaybe the reason Maryland was recently cited as one of the ‘happiest’ Human Resources Generalist/ $87,311states is due to the fact that jobs abound. Federal opportunities Recruiterrequiring a clearance are available at NSA, the IRS and the Social Security IT Hardware – Admin, Architect, $85,994Administration. Thousands more are opening up in the state’s military or Supportinstallations; Fort Meade, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Patuxent River Naval Air IT – Testing/QA $85,733Station and Andrews Air Force Base, which employs more than 10,000 active IT – Telecommunications $85,661duty and civilian personnel. Logistics – Supply, Procurement, $85,545 Acquisition Law Enforcement $76,626 Facility/Personnel Security $68,289 Administrative – Clerical or $65,612 Secretarial Source: 2010 ClearanceJobs Compensation SurveyBaltimore, MDWhile there’s always a demand for security cleared personnel, the EconomicAlliance of Greater Baltimore says there’s currently a growing demand forthose in C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence,surveillance and reconnaissance.) This ﬁeld is huge and highly technical,with job prospects and salaries both ranking above average. For example,an intelligence analyst in Camp Springs, Md. can earn between $106,000 to$120,000, while a supervisory intelligence analyst earns closer to $130,000.The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development putsLockheed Martin and BAE Systems at the top of the list for aircraft andaerospace electronics, with jobs in which a security clearance is an assetif not a requirement. Ciena and Hughes Network Systems top the listfor communications jobs. But there are plenty of opportunities in state
agencies and smaller businesses in ﬁelds that include training, simulation,maintenance, program management, engineering and operations.As for affordability, the cost of living in Baltimore is a little higher than thenational average, but the rest of the state is comparable. Housing prices runas low as $170,000, with the median price for 2009 at about $270,000.MassachusettsSecurity-cleared job seekers may want to consider cooler climates inthe north. Massachusetts is now a hotbed of defense contractor activitygenerating billions of dollars annually. Key Opportunities in MassachusettsFour major sectors make up the state’s security-cleared employment • Manufacturing Engineermap; professional and technical services, defense and homeland • Software Engineersecurity, computer and electronic manufacturing, transportationand telecommunications. • Supply Chain Associate • Business Process AnalystIn Massachusetts, research, development, testing and evaluation arebig business with the Defense Department serving as the state’s biggest • Logistics Specialistcustomer. This is drawing increasing numbers of defense contractors. Big • Business Developmenthirers of security-cleared workers include Raytheon, Massachusetts Instituteof Technology, General Electric Aircraft, Mitre Corp., General Dynamics and • Acquisition SpecialistAmerican Science and Engineering. Hot jobs include software developers, • Operations Managersystems engineers and technology managers, jobs that command salariesof around $90,000. The military presence also contributes to the thrivingsecurity-cleared workforce.“The Hanscom Air Force Base Electronic Systems Center and manyof the contractors that work with it have an extraordinarily largenumber of personnel with security clearances due to the sensitivenature of their mission,” said Mark Sternman, Vice President of Research,Mass Development.Other advantages to Massachusetts include a low crime rate, good schoolsand good salaries. A senior software engineer can command $88,000 to$95,000, and advisory software engineers can earn more than $100,000. Butsalaries do mirror housing prices, which are historically high. Average homeprices range from $300,000 to $400,000.All told, the east coast still comes in as the number one market for securityclearance job opportunities. And although many are in the technicalprofessions, that clearance is just as valuable to those looking for entry leveljobs in clerical and administrative ﬁelds, mechanics and maintenance, andlow to mid-level management. ★ ★ ★4101 NW Urbandale Drive • Urbandale, Iowa 50322 • 1.877.386.3323 • www.clearancejobs.com