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CAREERS AT DEA - FORENSIC SCIENCES

Forensic Sciences careers at DEA: Forensic Chemists |  Fingerprint Specialists | Forensic Computer Specialists

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Forensic Chemists (Back to Top)

Forensic ChemistsDo you have that special chemistry with DEA? As a Forensic Chemist, you will analyze evidence for the presence of controlled substances using state-of-the-art instrumentation, provide expert testimony in courts of law, support DEA Special Agents and Diversion Investigators in their criminal and regulatory investigations, and develop intelligence data used to determine trends in local and international drug trafficking.

Qualifications

DEA recruits and hires Forensic Chemists from all levels of experience from recent college graduates to highly experienced chemists. All DEA Forensic Chemists must possess either:

A four-year degree from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the physical sciences, life sciences or engineering including 30 semester hours of chemistry, supplemented by course work in mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics;

OR

A combination of education and experience – course work equivalent to a major as stated above, including at least 30 semester hours in chemistry, supplemented by mathematics through differential and integral calculus, and at least 6 semester hours of physics, plus appropriate experience or additional education.

Experience may include:

  • Conducting varied chemical analyses and tests and physical measurements;
  • Performing routine calculations such as determining concentration or the amount of a substance in a total sample based on analysis of a known portion of samples of narcotic and dangerous drugs; and
  • Writing laboratory reports.

Location

DEA has opportunities for Forensic Chemists across the nation. DEA Forensic Chemists are subject to reassignment to any location in the United States depending on the needs of the DEA. All applicants must be available for relocation throughout their career with DEA. Applicants will be required to sign a statement to this effect when accepting an offer of employment.

Employment Requirements

The nature of the DEA’s mission requires Forensic Chemists to complete a thorough and in-depth hiring process that may take up to six months or more and includes a panel interview, writing assessment, chemistry knowledge exam, drug test, and full-field background investigation. In addition, applicants must possess a valid driver’s license and successfully complete the following:

  • Medical Clearance: Forensic Chemists must be able to perform work that involves prolonged standing and moderate lifting of evidence and instruments. Applicants are required to meet specific medical standards and receive a medical clearance.
  • Training: All newly hired Forensic Chemists must complete the Basic Forensic Chemist Course at the DEA Academy in Quantico, Virginia. The 4-month program combines hands-on training in the laboratory with academic instruction in the classroom. Students must maintain an average of 80 percent on academic examinations and pass the laboratory-based practical exercises to graduate.

Fingerprint Specialists (Back to Top)

Fingerprint SpecialistsAs a DEA Fingerprint Specialist, you will have the opportunity to use state-of-the-art examination techniques for development and comparisons of latent prints, support DEA Special Agents in their investigations, assist with clandestine laboratory investigations, provide testimony in Federal, state and local courts of law, and conduct training for DEA Forensic Chemists and law enforcement officials.

Qualifications

DEA is looking for Fingerprint Specialists who have experience:

  • Performing latent print examinations on porous and non-porous items to develop the most difficult and fragmentary latent prints;
  • Preparing written laboratory reports based on examination, development, and comparison of latent prints;
  • Testifying as an expert witness in the area of fragmentary or imperfect impressions of latent prints;
  • Analyzing complex fingerprint cases which include imperfect and partial latent fingerprint impressions to make an identification;
  • Conducting methods development projects to improve latent fingerprint examination capabilities;
  • Using highly technical and advanced laboratory equipment and complex chemical mixtures along with complicated scientific techniques for latent print development.
  • Participating in clandestine laboratory investigations.

Education

Applicants for Fingerprint Specialist (GS 12 and above) must possess a certification by the International Association for Identification (IAI) for Certified Latent Print Examiner.  The certification date must be within five years from the date of your application.

Medical & Physical Requirements

Applicants must be able to perform work that involves prolonged standing and moderate lifting of evidence and instruments. Applicants will also be required to meet specific medical standards and receive a medical clearance.

Training

Fingerprint Specialist must successfully complete a series of training exercises, practical skills assessments, and complete a competency comparison examination.  The training will also include instruction on ethics, integrity, evidence handling procedures, chemical methods on processing porous and non-porous items, operational of fingerprint equipment, Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems AFIS), and court procedures.


Forensic Computer Examiners (Back to Top)

Forensic Computer ExaminersAs a DEA Computer Forensic Examiner, you will be in the forefront of digital evidence collection. Computer Forensic Examiners recover and analyze digital evidence, provide expert testimony in courts of law, provide investigative support to law enforcement, and conduct training to law enforcement personnel.

Qualifications

DEA is looking for skilled Information Technology Professionals who have:

Experience :

  • Acquiring computer-related evidence using recovery methods, programming and algorithmic designs;
  • Installing, maintaining, configuring, or optimizing operating systems, databases, or communication networks;
  • Performing computer-related forensic examinations;
  • Analyzing a number of alternative approaches for the major aspects of IT system design; and
  • Explaining complex technical issues to non-technical audiences.

and/or Education :

  • Master's degree or 2 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a master's degree or equivalent in computer science, engineering, information science, information systems management, mathematics, operations research, statistics, or technology management. 
  • Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree OR 3 full years of progressively higher level graduate education leading to a Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree in computer science, engineering, information science, information systems management, mathematics, operations research, statistics, or technology management OR a degree that provided a minimum of 24 semester hours in one or more of the fields identified above and required the development or adaptation of applications, systems or networks.

Training

Forensic Chemists, Fingerprint Specialists and Forensic Computer Examiners must successfully complete a training program that includes instruction on ethics, integrity, evidence handling procedures, analytical procedures, instrumental techniques, and court procedures.


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