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A Response to the DEA web site

DEALogo DRCNet Response to the
Drug Enforcement Administration
Briefing Book

How to Become a DEA Special Agent


DRCNet Comment:  If by chance, you really were considering becoming a DEA agent - don't.  In the first place, it ought to be obvious from the material presented in this library that our drug policy is fundamentally wrong and the DEA is an agency will go down in the annals of history as one of the great government frauds.  In the second place, the DEA agents themselves are starting to wake up to the fact that this is a hopeless quest which can only cause harm in its wake.   Several of them have already sent letters to DRCNet saying that they had finally read the evidence in the online library and concluded that the drug war is, in fact, a huge mistake.  Morale among agents is so low that some of them have even taken to attacking the DEA leader, Thomas Constantine.  A job as a DEA agent is a thankless, hopeless job, which survives today only because of one the great follies of American history. 

DEA Agents are the backbone of the agency. They are a select group of men and women from various backgrounds whose experience and commitment combine to make them the best federal drug law enforcement agents in the world.

DEA Agents play a vital and unique role in combating the serious problem of drug trafficking. Though the job is not without frustration or danger, it does offer many opportunities for diversified experiences in DEA offices both domestically and overseas.

It is difficult to become a DEA Special Agent because the qualifying standards are high, and because the academic and physical training is demanding. DEA recruits people who meet tough qualifications and high standards.


Applicants must be U.S. citizens, between 21 and 36 years of age at the time of appointment, and must possess a valid driver's license.

Excellent physical condition, sharp hearing acuity, and uncorrected vision of at least 20/200 (Snellen) and corrected vision of 20/20 in one eye and 20/40 in the other (Radial Keratotomy is disqualifying).

College degree and a 2.95 GPA or better.

Professional experience counts. Experience in accounting, computers, communications, foreign languages, the military, aviation, or law enforcement is helpful. Recruiters can provide more details.

Successful completion of the Special Agent interview process requires a full disclosure of past drug use. Also, successful completion of a polygraph examination, psychological suitability assessment, and an exhaustive background investigation.

Conditions of Employment:

  • DEA Special Agents must be willing to accept assignments anywhere in the world upon appointment. Applicants will be required to sign a statement to this effect prior to an offer of employment.

  • All new DEA Special Agents will be screened by urinalysis testing for the presence of marijuana and other controlled substances, and will be subject to random testing throughout their career.

  • All applicants will be required to participate in a physical fitness screening prior to appointment.

  • DEA Special Agent trainees attend a formal 16-week training program conducted at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Instruction includes ethics, self-defense, use of firearms, law, court procedures, criminology, investigative techniques, and drug identification.

  • Candidates must successfully complete all of the above training and pass a physical fitness test to receive an appointment as a DEA Special Agent.

  • After successfully completing Basic Agent training, new agents are also required to complete a one-year probationary period.


Duties that a DEA Special Agent may perform include:

  • Conducting surveillance;
  • Infiltrating drug trafficking organizations;
  • Arresting violators;
  • Confiscating illegal drugs;
  • Conducting money laundering investigations;
  • Collecting and preparing evidence; and
  • Testifying in criminal court cases

For more information, contact the DEA recruiter at the nearest DEA Field Office or the Agent Recruiting Division at DEA Headquarters.

Agent Recruiting
Drug Enforcement Administration
Washington, D. C. 20537



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