What Does a Human Intelligence Collector (35M MOS) Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

A day in the life of a human intelligence collector (35M MOS): The Army provides training to qualified individuals, a high school diploma and good scores on Army exams are required, the job includes plentiful translation and interpretation, you must qualify for top-secret clearance and have a clean service record

The Balance / Ellen Lindner

A human intelligence (HUMINT) collector, MOS 35M, provides support to battlefield commanders and is responsible for information collection operations. Human intelligence collectors supply key Army personnel with information about the enemy force’s strengths and weaknesses, and potential battle areas by screening human intelligence sources and documents. They organize and report other incoming forms of intelligence to support their HUMINT research.

Human Intelligence Collector Duties & Responsibilities

The HUMINT collector's duties fall into the fields of intelligence and foreign language skills, with considerable overlap between the two. Some common duties associated with this role include:

  • Debriefing and interrogating human intelligence sources, including prisoner of war returnees and other friendly sources, sometimes in foreign languages
  • Participating in human intelligence operations
  • Analyzing and preparing intelligence reports
  • Screening human intelligence sources and documents
  • Participating in Counterintelligence Force Protection Source Operations (CFSO)
  • Preparing Information Intelligence Reports
  • Performing difficult translations into English, including written foreign material and captured enemy documents
  • Acting as an interpreter or translator for intelligence matters and materials
  • Reviewing and editing translations of foreign documents and material for accuracy and completeness
  • Conducting liaison in foreign languages with host nation agencies

Human Intelligence Collector Salary

Pay statistics for this position are based on Department of Defense guidelines and can vary based on rank, the location of duty assignment, and length of time in the military.

  • Average Base Pay: $34,000
  • Average Additional Pay: $16,000
  • Average Total Pay: $37,000

Source: Glassdoor

Overall compensation includes housing, medical care, and food. The U.S. Army also provides full-tuition, merit-based scholarships as well as living expenses to qualified soldiers.

Education, Training, & Certification

Formal training for this position is mandatory, and it involves some significant testing as well.

  • Education: A high school diploma or the equivalent is required.
  • Training: Completion of the MOS 97E course, conducted under the auspices of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center, is required. Job training for a human intelligence collector involves 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 20 weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instruction at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. This time is divided between the classroom and the field. The trainee learns how to perform screenings, debriefings, and interrogations; how to prepare maps and charts; and how to conduct human intelligence analysis. The trainee will also develop skills with computer systems.
  • Testing: Required testing includes the ASVAB with a score of 101 in your aptitude area and a qualifying score on the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB) of 100 or above. You'll also need a qualifying score on the English Comprehension Level Test.
  • Additional requirements: Those interested in the Human Intelligence Collector role must be able to qualify for SECRET level security clearance. You'll need a physical profile score of 222221. Normal color vision is required. You must be a U.S. citizen, and you cannot ever have been a member of the U.S. Peace Corps. You can't have any record of court-martial or conviction by a court for any offense other than minor traffic violations.

Human Intelligence Collector Skills & Competencies

Some inherent tendencies, as well as specialized skills, can be helpful, including:

  • Multiple language skills: Human intelligence collectors must have strong language skills in addition to mastery of English to ensure the accurate exchange of statements, ideas, and intent.
  • Good voice quality: You should be able to speak English without an objectionable accent or speech impediments.
  • Interpersonal skills: You'll be dealing with a wide range of people and personalities, and success in this career requires getting many of them to talk to you when they're disinclined to do so.
  • An appreciation of cultural differences: Values and trends in the U.S. might not be the same as they are in other regions of the world. Understanding and respecting cultural differences is an important factor for job success.

Job Outlook

Overall, the Armed Forces provide some of the most secure and steadiest employment options available.

Work Environment

HUMINT collectors might work within the population of enemy territory or with detainees. Their primary responsibility is to conduct information collection operations, which rarely takes place in typical office surroundings.

Work Schedule

This is a traditionally six-day-a-week job, Monday through Saturday, but it's not always full-time. HUMINT collectors might work anywhere from 20 to 40 hours a week as their skills are needed. Working hours normally take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Overtime is not generally approved or available.

Comparing Similar Jobs

If you take advantage of the military's scholarship offerings, this position can lead to several lucrative and challenging positions in the civilian sector, as follows (along with median salaries):

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017