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DEA Computer Forensic Examiner Careers

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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) utilizes one of the most advanced digital forensic systems in the world.  With narcotics and terrorist organizations increasingly reliant upon information systems, the DEA has responded by innovating new forensic techniques.  In 1994, the DEA founded its proprietary digital evidence program, which employs computer forensic examiners to recover information from whole or damaged digital memory devices.

DEA computer forensic examiner jobs not only involve recovering critical intelligence that assist law enforcement, anti-narcotics, and counter-terrorism personnel, but these scientists are also pioneering new technologies and techniques that advance the computer forensics field.  DEA CFEs are capable of recovering data from fax machines, printers, cash registers, and digital watches.

Once the information has been retrieved, the memory device can be duplicated or returned to its original housing.  This allows DEA investigators to surreptitiously remove information and return a device to its original location without alerting its owners. DEA CFEs are also expected to testify in a court of law as to the methods used and information recovered.

DEA Computer Forensic Examiner Job Description

DEA Computer forensic examiner jobs involve performing the following duties:

  • Recovery information from partially damage or whole disks, memory cards and other electronic devices
  • Testify in court about forensic techniques, evidence management procedures and data recovered
  • Innovate new techniques for recovering information
  • Analyze new technologies and products for security flaws and technical specifications
  • Produce reports for field operatives and agency directors

How to Become a DEA Computer Forensic Examiner

In order to become a DEA computer forensic examiner, applicants must find a job opening on www.USAJobs.gov and then visit the Office of Personnel Management. A preliminary questionnaire must be completed which will determine if the applicant meets the following criteria:

  • Possesses U.S. citizenship
  • Possesses a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • Ability to pass a security check
  • Ability to pass a drug test

DEA computer forensic examiner job applicants will then be directed to submit a completed application along with a resume and college transcripts. If the applicant is requesting veteran preference, documents verifying military service should be submitted at the same time.

A written exam evaluating various technical competencies will be administered, followed by a structured interview.  Candidates will have their backgrounds investigated for security purposes, and a polygraph examination may be conducted.  A medical evaluation will also be administered.

Hired computer forensic examiners will be required to attend a short training program that will include introductions to forensic techniques and equipment used in digital forensic laboratories.

DEA Computer Forensic Examiner Salary

DEA computer forensic examiners may join the agency at a pay grade ranging from GS-5 up to GS-13.  CFEs may obtain a GS-13 pay grade by the end of their career.  For 2012, the salary ranges for these pay grades were as follows.

General Schedule Grade
Pay Range
Pay Range
General Schedule 5
$27431-$35657
$50287-$65371
General Schedule 7
$33979-$44176
$60274-$78355
General Schedule 9
$41563-$54028
$71674-$93175
General Schedule 10
$45771-$59505

Entering salaries are dependent upon a number of factors including educational background, employment history and experience with job duties.