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Special Agent Careers

DEA applies the vast range of individual talents, specialized training and skills of our Special Agents to the wide range of responsibilities in our vital mission.

Am I Qualified to Become a DEA Special Agent?

Am I Qualified to Become a DEA Special Agent?

Every year we have the honor of choosing an elite group of men and women who will join us in an exciting career as DEA Special Agents. Our Special Agents are on the cutting edge of criminal investigations, using innovative tools to identify and immobilize traffickers and seize and dismantle the financial assets from drug trafficking. The nature of this mission requires Special Agents to complete a thorough and in-depth hiring process that may take up to 12 months or more and includes the following:

  • Qualifications Review
  • Written assessment and panel interview
  • Drug test
  • Medical examination
  • Physical Task Assessment
  • Polygraph examination
  • Psychological Assessment
  • Full-field background investigation
  • Final hiring decision



  • Must be 21 years old, and no older than 36 years old at the time of appointment
  • U.S. citizenship
  • Have a valid U.S. driver's license
  • Willing to relocate anywhere in the U.S.
  • Able to obtain and retain a Top Secret security clearance
  • Excellent physical condition
  • Willing and able to carry and handle firearms

I possess

  • A bachelor's degree (GPA of 2.95 or higher), a master's or a J.D. or LL.B.;
  • OR experience assisting in investigations of alleged or suspected violations of the law; participating in multi-agency/organization venues, briefings, meetings, conferences; researching, collecting and analyzing data from a variety of sources relating to investigations; writing reports and conducting briefings of findings, results, or accomplishments for information or action relating to law enforcement activities and/or court cases; assisting court officials and law enforcement personnel with case-related materials; and testifying or presenting evidence for court, legislative, or administrative proceedings;
  • OR three+ years of substantive work experience and special skills; e.g., pilot/maritime, accounting/auditing, military/technical, mechanical including information systems, telecommunications, engineering, and/or a foreign language fluency (fluency subject to verification); and a bachelor's degree or higher (no minimum GPA required) with coursework related to the aforementioned special skill

AND possess the following competencies:

  • Written and Oral Communication
  • Attention to Detail/Memory
  • Decision-making/judgment
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Integrity/Honesty
  • Flexibility
  • Problem-solving
  • Self-management
  • Teamwork


I meet the following physical/medical qualifications:

  • I possess sharp visual and hearing acuity.
  • I have manual dexterity with comparatively free motion of my fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hip and knee.
  • My arms, hands, legs, and feet are sufficiently intact and functioning.
  • I have sufficiently good vision in each eye, with or without correction. I have near vision (corrective lenses permitted) that is sufficient to read printed material the size of typewritten characters.
  • I do not have hearing loss, as measured by an audiometer, that exceeds 35 decibels at 1000, 2000 and 3000 Hz levels.
  • I possess the emotional and mental stability to allow me to perform duties that are exacting and responsible and involve activities under trying conditions.
  • I do not have a physical condition that would cause me to be a hazard to myself or others.
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