Career Paths within the Drug Enforcement Agency

People interested in a federal law enforcement career may find that they are well-suited to a position within the Drug Enforcement Agency. There are several subdivisions within DEA, all of which offer exciting careers for those with the desire to succeed in this unique governmental agency.

Special Agent – DEA agents are tasked with investigating virtually every area of the illegal drug trade. As such, agents are assigned to work in locations all over the United States, and many are assigned to international locations as well. Agent duties are somewhat expansive, but their essential role is to conduct investigative collaborations with law enforcement agencies on both the state and local levels.

Diversion Investigator (DI) – One of the more unique positions within the DEA, the Diversion Investigator works closely with pharmaceutical and chemical companies to ensure their compliance with federal controlled substance policies. Certain controlled pharmaceuticals and chemicals are often diverted from legal channels of manufacture and distribution to illegal ones. It is the job of the DI to address this persistent problem.

Forensic Scientist – These skilled individuals assist special agents and other law enforcement personnel in analyzing various chemical compounds that have the potential for sale and subsequent abuse in the illegal drug market.

Intelligence Research Specialist – The job of the Intelligence Research Specialist is to work with Special Agents by researching specific facets of the illegal drug industry such as cultivation, production, and trafficking. Most Research Specialists are assigned to major cities in the United States, but there are also international locations where these individuals employ their valuable skills.

Administrative Support – DEA administrative staff members are responsible for a myriad of tasks relating to the day-to-day logistics of the agency. They also work with agents on an as-needed basis.

Entry Level Positions – All of the aforementioned career paths have entry level and student positions available for those interested in working at DEA and willing to “work their way up the ladder.”

Our site does not feature every educational option available on the market. We encourage you to perform your own independent research before making any education decisions. Many listings are from partners who compensate us, which may influence which programs we write about. Learn more about us.

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