How to Become a DEA Agent

If you really want to become a DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) agent, there are some things you will need to consider. You must be aware that the job involves a lot of challenges and risks. As a DEA agent, you will be fighting the smuggling and abuse of narcotics in the United States. You will usually be working with customs, FBI and border control agents. The most difficult part of the job is battling organized drug trafficking. As a DEA agent you will also be responsible for monitoring terrorist activities, and preventing the production of illegal substances that terrorist groups may be involved with in order to fund their activities. You will have to investigate and arrest anyone involved in terrorist activity. Surveillance and undercover operations are necessary roles of a DEA agent [source: Criminal Justice].

If you're serious about becoming a DEA agent you should be aware of the following mandatory requirements:


  • You must be a United States citizen.
  • You must be 21 to 36 years of age.
  • You must have a valid United States driver's license.
  • You must not be color blind.
  • You must have 20/20 vision in one eye and at least 20/40 vision in the other eye.
  • You must have sharp hearing.
  • You must be able to lift at least 45 pounds (20.4 kilograms).
  • You must have at least a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

If you fulfill the above requirements, you're ready contact your local DEA office to schedule an appointment to attend an orientation session. Bring along your driver's license or military ID. Dress in formal business attire. You will have to fill out an application form at the orientation session.

If your application is accepted, the hiring process will begin. You will be required to undergo and pass the following tests:

  • Drug test
  • Polygraph test
  • Background check
  • Psychological assessment
  • Medical exam
  • Witness assessment
  • Rigorous physical task test

After undergoing all these tests and assessments, you'll have to wait for a response. Remember, the whole process can take up to a year. If accepted, you'll be offered the chance to train to be a DEA agent [source: Criminal Justice Education].