Employment Requirements

All applicants must meet the certain conditions of employment to be eligible for employment at DEA:

  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Successfully passing a DEA-administered drug test for illegal drugs
  • Completion of a DEA Drug Questionnaire and Drug Use Statement to show compliance with the Drug Use Policy *
  • Successfully passing a background investigation**
  • Registration with the Selective Service System, if male and born after 12/31/1959

All of these requirements are thoroughly reviewed during the employment screening process. Please ensure that you meet all of these requirements before applying for a position with DEA.

Special Agent positions have additional requirements. More information >>

DEA is firmly committed to a drug-free society and workplace. Applicants for employment with the DEA, to include paid and unpaid employees; and contractors, who are currently using illegal drugs, or abusing legal drugs or substances at the time of the application process, will not be selected for employment.  DEA is able to accomplish the challenging and vital mission of enforcing the nation’s drug laws, by hiring only highly qualified candidates who exemplify DEA’s Core Values.

DEA recognizes some otherwise qualified applicants may have used illegal drugs, or abused legal drugs or substances, at some point in their past; application of DEA’s drug use policy guidelines, in conjunction with a case-by-case analysis, will determine if an applicant’s prior drug usage or activity will result in the applicant’s non-selection for employment with the DEA. 

All DEA applicants are required to disclose their current and past drug usage and activity.  An applicant will not be selected for employment if he or she deliberately misrepresents his or her drug history in connection with his or her application for employment. Absent mitigating circumstances, applicants will not be selected for employment if the applicant has:

  • Used (or ingested anything containing) marijuana within the three (3) years preceding the date of the application for employment.  The various forms of marijuana include cannabis, hashish, hash oil, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), in both synthetic and natural forms.
  • Used any illegal drugs other than marijuana, within the ten (10) years preceding the date of the application for employment.

The mission of the DEA is essential to making our nation safe from drugs and terrorism by working to dismantle drug trafficking organizations, prosecute drug traffickers, and destroy the financial infrastructure of these organizations. Often, our work is very sensitive in nature. All candidates for employment with DEA are required to pass a background investigation to become permanent employees. A background investigation is one of the final steps in the application process that seeks to discern a comprehensive snapshot of your personal history, education, work experience, personal and professional references, and other information. The time it takes to complete a background investigation is dependent on the type and scope of investigation being conducted.

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