Requirements to Become a DEA Agent

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) investigates and arrests people involved in the illegal drug trade in the United States. The DEA has very strict qualifications and a rigorous screening process for employment that includes written and oral tests, drug screening, medical examination, physical testing, polygraph testing, psychological evaluation and a background check.

  1. General Requirements

    • Applicants must be U.S. citizens at least 21 years old but no older than 36 and have a valid driver's license. They must also be willing to relocate anywhere in the U.S. and qualify for top-secret security clearance.


    • The DEA prefers to hire applicants with a bachelor's degree who had a minimum GPA of 2.95. The preferred majors for applicants are criminal justice, finance, accounting, economics, computer science, engineering, political science, sociology, psychology, chemistry or foreign languages.

    Education Alternative

    • If an applicant has experience investigating narcotics-related crimes or three years of specialized work in a field such as piloting or the military, the college requirement can be waived.

    Other Skills

    • Applicants for the DEA must be good written communicators and have strong problem-solving skills.

    Vision and Hearing Requirements

    • To be considered, applicants must have acute hearing without the aid of hearing aids, normal color vision, close to perfect near vision and 20/20 vision in one eye with a minimum of 20/40 vision in the other for far vision. For those who wear glasses or contacts, vision must be 20/200 or better in each eye without the corrective effects of lenses.

    Physical Requirements

    • Applicants must be in peak physical condition in terms of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health and must be able to carry 45 pounds or more.

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