DEA Special Agent Jobs

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing the U.S. Government’s controlled substance laws of regulations. DEA special agents fight drug trafficking organizations and help the U.S. Government in prosecuting traffickers.

Job Description: A Day in the Life of a DEA Special Agent

DEA special agents do a variety of jobs to maintain the DEA’s commitment to fighting illegal drug trafficking in the U.S.

The exact duties of a DEA agent on a daily base are largely dependent upon the agent’s particular appointment.

DEA agents may work undercover, investigate suspected drug traffickers, inspect finances, arrest suspected drug law violators, confiscate illegal drugs and more. They may also work with the courts in helping to convict suspected criminals by collecting intelligence information, preparing evidence and even testifying in court in drug-related cases.

General Requirements and Training

In order to become a special agent for the DEA, candidates must be US citizens age 21 to 36 at the time of appointment, hold a valid US driver’s license, complete a written and oral examination, undergo drug, medical, lie detector and physical testing, and submit to a background check.

In addition to these minimum requirements, the ideal candidate holds a Bachelor’s Degree and/or previous professional experience in the drug enforcement field. Experience in the legal field and prior military experience are also valued by the DEA.

It is also imperative that future DEA special agents be willing to relocate to anywhere in the U.S.

Once potential candidates are accepted, they are required to attend the DEA Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia. During training, recruits undergo rigorous physical fitness training, learn surveillance and arrest techniques, defensive tactics, firearms training, and the basics of how to write a report.

Salary, Benefits and Opportunities for Advancement

The starting salary for DEA special agents usually ranges from the GS-7 to GS-9 Federal pay scale level, plus a 25% availability pay after DEA Training Academy graduation.

This ends up totaling approximately $59,080 at the GS-7 level to $72,2619 at the GS-9 level, based on 2019 government payrates.

DEA agents receive a full federal benefits package making them eligible for health benefits, federal group life insurance, retirement, savings plan, and paid vacation and sick leave. Training and relocation expenses are also paid.

Advancement is possible and usually depends on job performance and experience. After four years of service, Special Agents may move up to the GS-13 pay scale level, meaning an approximate minimum salary of $95,859 annually.

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