DEA Agent Career, Job, Degrees and Training Information

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) enforces the nation's illegal drug laws and supervises oversea investigations. DEA agents coordinate investigations, monitor criminals, and conduct undercover work to infiltrate illegal drug organizations.

What does it take to become a DEA Agent?

Potential DEA candidates need previous law enforcement or legal system experience. The DEA is very selective only employing the best candidates. Specifically, DEA agents must possess one of the following:
  • Bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.95 GPA or a Masters Degree from a graduate or law school in any one of the following disciplines:
    • Criminal Justice
    • Finance
    • Police Science
    • Economics
    • Accounting
    • Computer Sciences/Information Systems
    • Telecommunications/Electrical/Mechanical Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
    • Any of the following foreign languages (note: fluency will be verified)
      • Spanish
      • Arabic
      • French
      • Hebrew
      • Russian
      • Chinese/Mandarin
      • Dialects of Nigerian Languages
      • Japanese
    OR

  • Professional experience or substantial expertise conducting independent narcotics investigations of suspected or alleged violations of the law; conducting undercover activities or operations and surveillance, and apprehending and arresting individuals suspected of criminal violations; and gathering and organizing evidence for presentation to prosecutors and testifying in court.

    OR

  • Three years or more substantial work experience and/or specialized, relevant skills such as Pilot/Maritime, Military, Accounting/Auditing, Technical/Mechanical (includes Information Systems, Telecommunications, Engineering), or Foreign Language fluency in one of the languages listed above mentioned languages and a Bachelors degree or Masters degree with coursework related to career relevant skill sets.

    OR

  • LL.B. or J.D. degree with prosecutorial experience.
Additional job qualifications

  • Be a U.S. Citizen
  • Be at least 21 years of age and no older than 36 at time of appointment
  • Possess a valid driver's license
  • Be in excellent physical condition
  • Uncorrected vision of not less than 20/200 in both eyes or corrected to 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other eye
  • Be willing to relocate anywhere in the United States
  • Successfully complete a background investigation and obtain a Top Secret clearance
Individuals interested in working for the DEA should find out exactly what the field office they're apply to is looking for in candidates. Usually having a bachelors or master's degree improves a candidate's chances. Candidates with a criminal justice degree or previous experience working as a police officer will have an edge over the competition. The DEA is always seeking candidates who speak Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, or Arabic.

To appy for a position as a DEA agent you must first contact the nearlest field division recruitment office of the DEA. You can find a complete list of DEA recruitment offices at http://www.justice.gov/dea/job/agent/offices.html.

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