How Do You Become a DEA Agent?

To become a DEA agent, you must be both mentally and physically strong. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, is responsible for finding drug dealers and suppliers, bringing down drug organizations and stopping the manufacturing and selling of illegal drugs. Officers can work undercover in the field or in offices all across the country. The DEA requires that anyone interested in working as one of its agents go through a series of different exams.

Meet All Basic Requirements

Before you even think about applying, you should ensure that you meet all the basic requirements to become a DEA agent. According to the official DEA website, you must be at least 21 years old but no older than 36 when you become an officer. You must also have a valid driver’s license and be an American citizen. The DEA requires that all agents sign a contract that states they will move to any city in the country and that they go through a background check. You need to pass this check to obtain security clearance before working as an agent.

Pass Interview Sessions

Once you complete your application, you must complete a written exam. This exam assesses your skills, determines if you have the right set of skills to work as an agent and determines if you should reach the next stage in the application process. That next stage is an interview session. You will meet with a team of agents and DEA reps. They will go over your answers on the form, talk with you about the duties of the job and ask basic questions about your history. If you successfully pass the interview, the DEA will schedule dates for you to complete its other exams.

Complete All Exams

The first two tests that you take include a drug test and a physical exam. DEA agents must be completely sober and have no traces of drugs in their systems. The physical exam that a doctor performs shows that you are physically strong enough to handle the job. You then take a skills exam that determines how strong your skills are and a polygraph exam that might ask questions about your background. Prospective DEA agents also take a psychological exam. A licensed psychologist or psychiatrist will use this exam to see if there is anything in your background that might interfere with your job performance.

Go Through an Extensive Background Check

Before you can become a DEA agent, the agency will also do an extensive criminal and civil background check. The civil check will look at your credit history to find any problems that might lead to you making bad decisions on the job. The criminal background check looks both both arrests and convictions. Any felony convictions will keep you from getting the job, but you may lose out on a position because of previous arrests too. The DEA will then use the results of that check and all the other information it gains about you to make a decision on your hiring status.

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DEA agents must have clean backgrounds, be physically fit and be mentally strong. While you can apply for one of these positions online, you can only become a DEA agent after passing an interview, a written assessment and a number of other exams and tests.