DEA Diversion Investigator Careers

DEA diversion investigators have long been essential members of the DEA’s drug enforcement teams.  Originally created shortly after the founding of the agency, diversion investigators perform investigations into operations related to pharmaceutical drugs and drug manufacturing chemicals.  Unlike DEA special agents who are committed to narcotics operations, diversion investigators do not have law enforcement authority, but serve primarily as investigative specialists.

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Diversion investigator jobs involve performing a wide range of security, regulatory and investigative duties.  They conduct inspections of pharmaceutical manufacturers to ensure that the necessary security protocols are in place to deter thefts, security breaches or misappropriation of drug making materials.  Diversion investigators often work in teams along with special agents and agency attorneys to initiate arrest procedures or legal proceedings.  These professionals are often critical to achieving a prosecution through expert testimony and evidence.

DEA Diversion Investigator Job Description

DEA diversion investigator jobs involve performing the following duties:

  • Inspect pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution facilities
  • Examine the accounts of manufacturers, pharmacies and hospitals for improprieties
  • Grant DEA authorization to dispense pharmaceuticals
  • Conduct investigations into thefts, security breaches or misuse of prescription drugs
  • Testify in grand jury and court proceedings
  • Supply evidence of wrongdoing to agency attorneys
  • Collaborate with special agents to arrest criminals
  • Investigate operations suspected of diverting drugs

How to Become a DEA Diversion Investigator

The path to becoming a DEA diversion investigator begins with preparing for the application process.  Diversion investigators often lead investigations into complex pharmaceutical diversion operations and must possess the cognitive faculties necessary to handle this responsibility.  While these positions do not necessarily stipulate an advanced degree, the level of technical and academic proficiency required is most often acquired through a master’s degree, J.D. or PhD level education. In some cases, highly qualified candidates may be able to substitute experience in investigative professions.

Candidates must possess the following qualifications:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Pass a drug test
  • Pass a background investigation
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Possess near normal hearing and vision

Applicants should begin by clicking on a job posting at and complete registration form with the Office of Personnel Management.  Applicants should submit additional documents including:

  • Resume
  • CTAP/ICTAP documentation
  • Veterans’ preference documentation
  • Unofficial college transcript

Candidates who meet initial requirements will be asked to complete a written assessment exam.  A structured interview will follow.  A background investigation will be conducted, and the candidate will be required to submit to a medical exam, psychological evaluation and polygraph test.

New recruits will enroll in the Basic Diversion Investigator training program.  This 12 week program is held at the DEA Training academy and includes

  • Pre-Registration Investigations
  • Compliance Investigations
  • Scheduled Investigations

DEA Diversion Investigator Salary

DEA diversion investigators may join the agency with a pay rating of GS-7 or GS-9 with a promotion potential of up to GS-13. In 2012, the salary ranges for these three pay grades were:

  • GS-7:  $34,149-$44,391
  • GS-9:  $37,819-$49,168
  • GS-13:  $72,032-$93,641

These figures are for base salary only and may be adjusted for cost of living, overtime, and availability.

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