Candidates must meet a set of stringent standards to be eligible to become a special agent. A prospective DEA special agent must:
- Be between the ages of 21 and 36 when they apply.
- Be a United States citizen.
- Pass a drug test.
- Have a valid US driver’s license.
- Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher or meet specific experience requirements.
- Qualify for a Top Secret security clearance.
- Pass a written assessment and oral interviews.
- Pass medical and psychological examinations.
- Meet physical fitness standards.
- Pass a background investigation.
It can take up to 12 months to make it through the DEA hiring process and 18 weeks after that to complete basic agent training.
Special agents are graded by levels according to their education and experience. New special agents may start at level GS-7 or GS-9 and earn a salary between $49,746 and $55,483. With experience and additional training, special agents can advance to the GS-13 level and earn $92,592 or more.
To apply for a special agent position with the DEA, you must contact your local recruitment office. Each state has its own division, and there are typically several field offices assigned to that division in cities across the state.
As you progress through the application process, you will be required to provide the DEA with your background information and submit to written exams, oral interviews, drug tests, and a physical fitness test. If you reach the final stages of the hiring process, the DEA will conduct an extensive background investigation to determine your eligibility and suitability for the job.
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Best of luck in this journey!