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Office of Training Programs

Training Participant Makeup / Student Population: The DEA Office of Training is responsible for training and/or certifying all DEA core and non-core employees.

The DEA Academy population consists of Basic Agent Trainees, Basic Diversion Investigator Trainees, Basic Intelligence Research Specialist Trainees, and Basic Forensic Chemist Trainees.  Professional and executive development, certification programs, core in-service, and specialized training programs are also conducted at the Office of Training.  Although locations may vary, leadership and various training programs are also offered to our military, state and local, domestic, and foreign law enforcement counterparts.


BA Training is a 20-week entry-level training program followed by a 16 week Field Training Agent (FTA) program that places strong emphasis on leadership, ethics, and human dignity. Since the extensive update to the BA Training program in 2013, the BA Training program is consistently under review and updated to meet the operational demands encountered by our Special Agents today. The BA Training Program focuses on integrating the three pillars of training: Practical, Tactical, and Legal instruction in an environment that replicates the conditions Special Agents will encounter in the field. The program places significant emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making skills. Approximately 70 percent of the BA Training Program consists of hands-on training with a significant percentage of the training occurring at night. Students receive 200 hours of classroom instruction, 150 hours of firearms training, 150 hours of tactical instruction, 110 hours of legal instruction and 300 hours of practical applications. Programs of instruction such as Practical Exercises, Drug Identification, Evidence Handling, Surveillance, Undercover Operations, Interview and Interrogation, and Confidential Sources are consistently reviewed and updated to meet the needs of the field.

The Forensic Chemist Training Unit provides the technical training which enables newly hired scientists to become DEA forensic chemists. The 18-week program combines hands-on training in the laboratory with academic instruction in the classroom. Laboratory training provides students with experience in the analysis of unknown powders, liquids, tablets, and plant materials using the most advanced physical, chemical, and instrumental techniques available. These practical experiences are augmented with academic instruction in statistics, ethics, chain-of-custody, case file preparation, laboratory operations, and laboratory accreditation requirements. Additional lectures and practical exercises provide students with training in contemporary legal issues and expert testimony. Upon graduation, the new Forensic Chemist is qualified to conduct the forensic analysis of drug evidence submitted to DEA laboratories.


BDI Training is a 12-week program that familiarizes trainees with the pharmaceutical and chemical industry, and emphasizes the goal of preparing students to conduct effective diversion investigations. The program consists of classroom instruction and numerous practical exercises designed to challenge a student’s newly-acquired knowledge and skills. BDI Training is a rigorous and demanding curriculum that incorporates technological, legal, and investigative instruction. Case studies, with varying degrees of complexity, are also used through the course. Other areas covered include: retail pharmacy, distributor, and manufacturer operations; auditing techniques; report writing; security issues; pharmaceutical and chemical control; drug scheduling; and pharmaceutical identification.


BIRS Training is a 10-week entry-level program provided to new hires as they begin complex and demanding careers in intelligence analysis. The course offers intensive training and development of the analytical skills necessary to support DEA drug investigations and programs. The BIRS course will prepare the students for a broad range of domestic and foreign assignments and is designed to enhance individual abilities to formulate and present analytical recommendations to investigators, prosecutors, policy makers, and other agencies. Students will receive hands-on training using the most current investigative tools and techniques, with a concurrent focus on critical thinking, critical writing, and public speaking.

The Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) basic course prepares foreign law enforcement officers to engage in complex international conspiracy investigations. This course is five weeks in length and is a requirement in order to be part of the Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) Program. During their stay at the DEA Academy, SIU officers receive much of the same training given to DEA Basic Agents. Courses include Surveillance, Raids, Drug Identification, Clandestine Laboratories, Interview and Interrogation, Evidence Handling, Defensive Tactics, Pen-Link, and First Aid. Emphasis is placed on Conspiracy and Wiretap investigations. At the end of the course students are taken to the New York Field Division to meet with agents and to experience, first hand, how DEA operates in the United States. Upon conclusion of the course, graduates go on to serve in special vetted SIU Teams in Ghana, Afghanistan, Thailand, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Paraguay.


In response to the increase of clandestine laboratory seizures throughout the United States the Clandestine Laboratory Unit at the Office of Training has developed programs to assist federal, state, and local officers in the areas of investigation, dismantling, and disposal of illicit clandestine laboratories. This training provides instruction in the safe dismantling and disposal of clandestine laboratories, OSHA compliance, current trends in the manufacturing of illicit controlled substances, along with clandestine laboratory tactical training.

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