How to Become a DEA Agent

An exciting career awaits you if you know how to become a DEA agent. DEA agents work under the Drug Enforcement Administration which is the lead agency tasked to combat drug smuggling and use in the US. The agency is also responsible for pursuing drug investigations of the US abroad.

What is a DEA Agent?

Working under the Drug Enforcement Administration, a DEA agent is expected to uphold the agency’s ideals and actively pursue the accomplishment of its goals. The duties of a DEA special agent are all in relation to the agency’s fight against proliferation of illegal drugs. It includes investigative work aimed at preventing the spread of illicit drug use and putting the people responsible behind bars. Daily duties include surveying suspects, arresting violators, infiltrating drug organizations, confiscating illegal drugs, seizing assets of drug related crimes, testifying in courts, and promoting educational programs against drug use. Investigative work is usually based on intelligence reports provided by undercover agents. DEA agents will have to gather evidence, interview witnesses, and participate in undercover sting operations, when required. Written reports are filed by agents so as to complete the investigation.

Part of the DEA agent’s work is coordinating with local, state or federal agencies that have legal jurisdiction over the investigation. All efforts of the agent, particularly pertaining to investigation and arrest must be coordinated with the local authorities. It is possible that the agent’s work could eventually lead to an assignment in a foreign office maintained by DEA. DEA has 87 foreign offices scattered in 63 countries. Agents go where enforcement of drug laws affecting the US will take them.

Education and Training

Prospective DEA agents must have completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, Police Science or other related fields. Other degrees considered are in the fields of economics, finance, accounting, and foreign language.

Upon acceptance into the training program, candidates will be required to undergo training for 16 weeks in the agency’s training facility located at Quantico, Virginia. Areas of study included in the training are Basic Agent Training, Practical Applications, Tactical Training, Firearms, Legal Training, Intelligence Training, and Ethics. Orientation sessions are provided by the DEA through their local field offices to give interested individuals an idea of what to expect in the job.

Becoming a DEA Agent

Applicants for the position of DEA agent must be from 21 to 37 years old, a US citizen, physically fit, and mentally stable. Only qualified applicants who receive a conditional offer of employment will have the chance to participate in the training program. Candidates who successfully graduate from the program will earn the title of DEA Special Agent. History of drug use, except those medically prescribed, automatically eliminates the applicant from possible employment.

The hiring process of DEA will include a drug test, background check, written assessment, physical test, polygraph test, psychological assessment, and medical exam. Applicants will have to wait for the results upon the completion of all required tests. Salaries of DEA agents depend on individual college education and work experience. Enter the exciting world of the DEA agent and understand how to become a DEA agent.