DEA Agent

Enforce federal drug laws across the country.
picture of DEA Agent

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$39,000 – $119,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do DEA Agents do?

A DEA Agent enforces federal laws governing controlled substances. This includes both illegal drugs like marijuana, methamphetamines, and cocaine, and also legal ones that can be abused, like prescriptions. In other words, when people say “Yes” instead of “No” to drugs, they often have to answer to a DEA Agent.

As a DEA Agent, you’re employed by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). You’re the federal equivalent of a Narcotics Agent, who investigates drug crimes on behalf of local and state law enforcement agencies. You do the same thing, but for the federal government.

In police terms: The Narcotics Agent is a Police Officer, and the DEA Agent is an FBI Agent. While Narcotics Agents are focused on stopping and punishing drug-related crimes in their communities, therefore, your goal as a DEA Agent is much bigger, focused instead on stopping drug trafficking across state and national lines so that drugs never make it to communities in the first place.

There are many facets to the drug trafficking problem (for instance, the cultivation, movement, and financing of drugs) and you could be involved in any of them. Depending on your area of expertise, you might work in a forensics lab testing substances, behind a desk analyzing evidence, or in the field seizing drugs and catching criminals — at home and abroad — which is accomplished with a combination of surveillance, interrogation, and undercover investigation.

Because the tools of your trade are wiretaps, bulletproof vests, secret informants, and drug-sniffing dogs, and your associates drug dealers, terrorists, and money launderers, “dangerous” is one word that describes what you do. “Rewarding” is another, however, as you spend your days keeping streets and citizens safe.


Should I be a DEA Agent?

You should have a certificate degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Drug Enforcement Administration Agent

    How to become a DEA Agent

    Most DEA Agents have an Associate's degree or a Certificate. Chart?chd=s:95weaa&chl=no+college+%2842%25%29|certificate+%2839%25%29|associate%27s+%2815%25%29|bachelor%27s+%283%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,42,42
    Schools close to
         
     




    You May Also Like




    Careers Similar to DEA Agent