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How to become a Special Agent

DEA Special Agents earn their position by meeting strict qualifications and by completing a thorough and demanding hiring and training process.

What it takes to be a DEA Special Agent

Are you ready to be part of an elite law enforcement group that operates at the cutting edge of criminal investigations? First, you need to meet our high standards for joining. We need people who measure up physically and mentally to enforce our nation’s drug laws and make a difference in our fight against drug trafficking. Special Agents also need to be willing and able to handle and carry firearms, and willing to relocate anywhere in the U.S.

Our rigorous hiring process can take up to 12 months or more, and includes the following steps:

  • 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

SA_Image_1.jpgBe part of our vital mission.

SA_Image_2.jpgBring your skills to the team.

Navigating the process

The first step in the hiring process is to contact your local DEA Recruitment Office. Find the appropriate Special Agent Recruitment Coordinator for that office by visiting the recruitment offices page. Your coordinator will guide you through all that you need to know about the process, including:

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