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Transitioning Military

As a member of the military, you understand the importance of a mission. Much like you, the workforce at NSA is proud, patriotic, and knows the importance of NSA’s commitment to keeping the Nation safe. If you are dedicated, educated, and mission-oriented, NSA has exciting career opportunities that fit your military training.


Whether you have retired or are transitioning into civilian life, you want to make sure your military benefits are part of a future career plan. NSA is committed to honoring your military service. Here’s how:

Leave Accrual

A new employee with at least three years of active duty military service would automatically go into a six hour leave category. This does not apply to retired military personnel. Retired military may get credit for some of their military service. However, service must have been performed in a war or military campaign and would have to be verified by the military branch in which you served.

Credit Toward Retirement

If you have prior active duty military service, you may be eligible for credit toward retirement. By paying three percent on your military earnings plus interest, you may be eligible for civilian credit for your military time, as well as early retirement. Interest starts to accrue on the amount owned two years after your entry on duty (EOD).

Visit our benefits page for more information about all of the incredible benefits you’ll receive at NSA, including flexible work hours and paid time off.

Veterans' Preference

Veterans' Preference laws in hiring were created by Congress in order to prevent Veterans seeking Federal Employment from being penalized because of time spent in military service. Veterans' Preference recognizes the economic loss suffered by citizens who have served their country in uniform, restores veterans to a favorable competitive position for Government employment, and acknowledges the later obligation owed to disabled veterans.

At the National Security Agency, there is no delineation between the preference-eligible and non-preference eligible applicants. They compete equally for positions. Veterans' preference laws, however, do not guarantee Veterans a job. All applicants must satisfy all pre-employment processing requirements before a final job offer is extended by the National Security Agency. These laws do not give veterans' preference in internal agency actions such as promotion, transfer, reassignment, and reinstatement.

Anyone wishing to claim Veterans' Preference during the National Security Agency employment process must provide all required documentation upon request.

Types of Preference (and documentation necessary)

Eligibility Title Eligibility Points Document Required
Preference Eligible with no disability5 PointsDD214
Preference Eligible with non-compensated disability rating less than 10%10 PointsDD214, application for 10 pt Veterans' Preference, completed SF15 with supporting documentation
Preference Eligible with disability rating of at least 10% but less than 30%10 PointsDD214, application for 10 pt Veterans' Preference, completed SF15 with supporting documentation
Preference Eligible with disability rating of 30% or more10 PointsDD214, application for 10 pt Veterans' Preference, completed SF15 with supporting documentation
Derived Preference10 PointsDD214, application for 10 pt Veterans' Preference, completed SF15 with supporting documentation


5-Point Veterans' Preference Eligibility
You are entitled to 5 point veterans' preference if your service was:

  • During a war including December 7, 1941 through July 1, 1955
  • For more than 180 consecutive days, other than for training, any part of which occurred after January 31, 1955, and before October 15, 1976
  • During the Gulf War from August 2, 1990, through January 2, 1992*
  • In a campaign or expedition for which a campaign medal has been authorized. Any Armed Forces Expeditionary medal or campaign badge, including El Salvador, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Southwest Asia, Bosnia, Yugoslavia, and Haiti, qualifies for preference*

*A campaign medal holder or Gulf War veteran who originally enlisted after September 7, 1980 must have served continuously for 24 months active duty, or the full period called or ordered to active duty.

10-Point Veterans' Preference Eligibility
You are entitled to 10 point Veterans' Preference if one of the following applies:

  • 10-Point Disability: If you are a former member of the Armed Forces who was separated under honorable conditions and have a service-connected disability that is 10 percent or less, but the Veterans' Administration has not awarded any compensation.
  • 10-Point Compensable: If you are a former member of the Armed Forces who was separated under honorable conditions and have a service-connected disability that is at least 10 percent, but less than 30 percent, and you are receiving disability compensation from the Veterans' Administration.
  • 10-Point Other: You are (a) the spouse or mother of a veteran occupationally disabled because of service-connected disability, or (b) the widow/widower or mother of a deceased wartime veteran.
  • 10-Point/30% Compensable-Veteran: If you have a service connected disability of 30 percent or more.

Other Eligibility Requirements

  • If you are a "retired member of the armed forces" you are not included in the definition of preference eligible unless you are a disabled veteran OR you retired below the rank of Major or its equivalent.
  • Veterans' Preference is not applied to those applicants with prior federal service who have completed a probationary period and who were not separated for cause.

Click here to check your eligibility

Exciting Careers

As someone who is transitioning out of the military, the skills you learned while serving our country are beneficial to a career at NSA. NSA is looking for experienced professionals for the following exciting career fields:

To further enhance your career development, NSA offers a variety of specialized academic programs.

Qualifications for NSA employment depend on the position for which you are applying. Specific education and skill requirements are defined for available positions in the Job Search section.

All applicants must meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Must be within six months of separation and/or on terminal leave, or have retirement orders before processing with NSA
  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Must be eligible to obtain a high-level security clearance, which includes the successful completion of a full-scope polygraph. For more information about the polygraph click here to view the polygraph brochure or click here to watch The Truth About the Polygraph.

For more answers to your questions, please visit the FAQ section.

How to Apply
NSA has a rigorous application process for all applicants. All applicants, including transitioning military personnel, must submit a resume to NSA using our online application system. If your qualifications meet our needs for a specific career opportunity, you will be contacted by an NSA recruiter.

Applicants can expect the hiring process to include medical screening, a polygraph interview, drug test, and an extensive background investigation. Depending on your specific circumstances and the security clearances that must be obtained, this process may take six months to one year.



Resume Tips
The skills you bring from your military experience are beneficial to a career at NSA. Follow these helpful resume tips to maximize your military service and accomplishments.

  • Keep your resume to one page.
  • Avoid typographical and grammatical errors.
  • Always accompany your resume with a cover letter.
  • Tailor your resume for both the position you are applying for as well as the employer.
  • Clearly identify your skills.
  • Make your resume look sharp and dynamic.
  • Show how your skills benefit the employer.
  • Make sure that your information, especially dates, are consistent.
  • Spell out acronyms.
  • Take advantage of the classes offered at your duty station that teach you how to format a resume.
  • Remember that military campaigns and operations translate into projects when listed on a resume.
  • Show your resume to friends and family who are not in the military. Ask them to point out military terms that they may not understand.

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Date Posted: Jan 15, 2009 | Last Modified: Apr 2, 2014 | Last Reviewed: Apr 2, 2014