United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Tough Work, Vital Mission

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DEA Special Agent Careers

For over 40 years the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as a component of the U. S. Department of Justice, has been the federal government's greatest weapon in the fight against the illegal drug trade. Today, with the help of over 5,000 DEA Special Agents, we continue to dismantle the most notorious high-level trafficking and terrorist organizations that threaten America. 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 that include:

  • Investigating and helping prosecute major violators of controlled substance laws on U.S. soil and abroad
  • Partnering with federal, state, local and foreign officials in managing drug intelligence programs
  • Arresting and searching subjects and seizing assets connected to illicit drug trafficking
  • Collecting and preparing evidence used to convict drug traffickers, as well as performing other judicial functions
  • Managing all programs associated with drug law enforcement counterparts in foreign countries under the policy guidance of the Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassadors

About DEA

DEA Special Agents have a long-standing history in combating the critical problems of drug trafficking. At DEA, we seek only the most talented and diverse candidates who have what it takes to help us in our goal to eliminate illegal drug distribution, prosecute traffickers and destroy the financial infrastructure of these organizations. As the federal government's premier drug law enforcement agency, our mission has never been so important—a mission like no other.

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

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The first step in the application process is to contact your local DEA Recruitment Office. We encourage applicants to attend a Special Agent Applicant Orientation session at one of our Division Office locations. To locate the appropriate Division Office and schedule an orientation session, visit the Recruitment Offices page and contact the appropriate Special Agent Recruitment Coordinator for that office.


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