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How to Become A Dea Agent

DEA agents have been officially tasked with tracking down those that are involved in the growing, manufacturing or distribution of controlled substances.   Becoming a DEA agent means that you can become part of this mission.

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Admission Procedure
The selection criterion is quite competitive and the whole process can take around twelve months or even longer to complete. Some of the important steps for the admission procedure are:

  • Qualifications Review
  • Written Assessment and Panel Interview
  • Urinalysis Drug Test
  • Physical Task Test (PTT)
  • Polygraph Examination
  • Psychological Assessment


The above list is not supposed to be exhaustive and there will be other assessments in the hiring process as well. Another thing to keep in mind is that applicants must be being of at least 21 years of age and not more than 36.

Although there are no strict degree requirements but applicants with college degrees and a Grade Point Average of 2.95 or higher will have a better chance to be hired for DEA agent jobs. Moreover candidates are also given special consideration if they have a degree in Criminal Justice, Political Science, Computer Science, Information Systems, some fields of engineering or if they are fluent in Spanish, Russian, Arabic or Hebrew.

Once you are selected as a DEA agent you will then have to complete a compulsory 18-week Basic Agent Training (BAT) program at the DEA Training academy in Quantico, Virginia. In this program you will get hands on training in undercover, surveillance and arrest techniques, defensive tactics and firearms training. Other aspects of your training will include basics of report writing, law and drug identification as well as recognition.

DEA Career Outlook
These jobs are very promising in terms of finances. Agents are generally hired at the GS-7 or the GS-9 level depending on various factors like education and experience. According to the information provided on the website of the US Department of Justice, the starting DEA agent salary, upon graduating is around $49,476 for a GS-7 and $55,483 for a GS-9. After you have completed four years of service as a special agent you can move up to the GS-13 level where you will earn approximately $92,592 in a year, or even more in some cases.

Apart from the basic compensation, you will also have access to federal benefits package. This means that you can enlist for programs like the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) and the Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program which offers some good insurance options. Additional benefits include the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), relocation expenses and a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP).

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The salary figures mentioned above are taken from Click Here
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Q:What is the best way to apply for DEA agent jobs?

A:Crime enforcement agencies such as the DEA, or FBI or CIA, rarely advertise positions within in the newspapers or job web-sites. Much recruitment is carried out within or through carefully select sources. A useful web-based resource is: www.justice.gov/dea/careers/ displays current opportunities, but as stated above, the most opportune jobs are advertised internally.

Q:Are DEA careers secure in the long term?

A:For the foreseeable future a career with the DEA is reasonably secure. However recruitment policies are driven in large part by the Federal budget. In the current economic climate, recruitment has been scaled back as part of the government's austerity drive. Once you have entered the DEA there are clear progression routes and he ability to gain further training.

Q:Are there any age or nationality requirements to become a DEA agent?

A:You may only become a DEA agent if you are between 21 and 36 years old and you must be a US citizen. In addition you must have a valid driver's license, are in good physical condition, be able to relocate anywhere in the US; have excellent hearing and vision. You would then need to pass the selection criteria. Speak to your local recruitment office today for further information (http://www.justice.gov/dea/careers/agent/offices.html).

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