How Do You Become a Narcotics Officer?

Helping you to understand the role as well as showing you how to become a narcotics officer is the focus of this article. What’s it like taking part in this exciting career? How exactly do you become a narcotics officer?

Rundown of the Position

Before getting into the ins and outs of becoming a narcotics officer, let’s take a look at the basics of the position and its requirements. First, a narcotics officer is someone that works for law enforcement and is mainly focused on the apprehension of illegal narcotics and the people manufacturing and selling them. All of law enforcement indeed shares this goal, however it is this specific officer that focuses on this matter particularly on a daily basis.

Narcotics are quite valuable on the street, and their users and movers can thus be quite protective and dangerous. Because of this element, the job of the narcotics officer is often loaded with unique dangers and workplace hazards not found anywhere else. The narcotics officer is involved with investigation, surveillance, physical arrests and setups, providing written testimony, and other administrative functions. The work is done inside and out in all types of conditions and settings.

Common Prerequisites

The path to becoming a narcotics officer can often share some of the same steps taken in obtaining other law enforcement positions. At the core of their abilities, the officer must be able to handle firearms, violence, and all sorts of similar dangers. The core teachings that prepare an upcoming officer here are provided via police academy. Going through the academy will teach all of these core areas to a level of acceptable proficiency. This is a necessary, first step in the process, often provided by the hiring agency.

Outside of police academy, an applicable college degree is often required of narcotics officers. This position is not typically entry-level and requires advanced knowledge. Therefore, in most cases, an associate’s or bachelor’s in criminal justice or other comparable study will be desired by the employing agency.

Agency Differences

Having covered college and police academy, we move on to addressing the different agencies of potential employment and their differences. Simply put, all agencies are different. That is the biggest thing to note here. Ultimately, you will need to inquire with the specific agency with which you want to work in order to pin down the exacts of their individual requirements. You cannot know what it takes to become an officer in this realm simply by understanding the requirements of one agency.

According to the DEA, the federal government’s arm of narcotics control, the entire hiring process can take up to a year to complete and include polygraph, medical, history, and psychological assessments. On the other hand, someone wanting to be a narcotics officer for the Pennsylvania State Police¬†will have to follow the process of first becoming a cadet. The cadet, or entry-level officer is required to have an associate’s degree as well as to pass a battery of intensive background examinations. Once hired in as a cadet, one can begin to pursue the required tenure and further accolades needed to rise to the level of narcotics officer.

Do you want to work for the DEA? Is your goal to work narcotics for a local or state law enforcement agency instead? Before anything, you must decide which agency you wish to work for. From here, you can inquire with the agency and discover the exact, step-by-step path to becoming the narcotic agent you seek to be.

Related Resource: Become a Crime Lab Analyst

Unfortunately, there is no one set path in becoming a narcotics officer. Every agency is different and consequently, so are the requirements. The path to become a narcotics officer is therefore lit only by the agency offering; contact within and start your journey today.