I moved to MD from NY. I could never get a straight answer to this question until I became a federal contractor. In order to acquire this clearance you would have to be offered a position which requires a clearance. Getting into a company that does federal contracting is the easiest way. If I would have known this information earlier, I would have taken a job with a company that had federal contracts for mail rooms, acquired a clearance and then started looking for HR positions. (Mailroom positions are high turnover positions and don't require excessive skill and education. It's probably ot too hard to find this type of job.)Once you complete the four hour application and are fingerprinted, it normally takes about 2 weeks to receive an interim clearance. If you owe money to IRS or and have any Outstanding overdue money owed for student loans, you will be automatically rejected in most cases.
I hope this helps!