You are here:

DEA Agent

Career Overview

The Drug Enforcement Agency was created in 1973 to provide federal law enforcement focus on drug abuse. DEA agents enforce laws and regulations relating to illegal drugs. Domestic investigations are coordinated with the FBI; the DEA has sole responsibility for international smuggling and overseas activity such as money laundering. Learn how to earn a DEA salary, below.

DEA agents investigate drug importation and sales, generally focusing on the leaders and participants in organizations that are involved in trafficking large quantities of drugs. An agent may devote many months to an investigation, often working with local law enforcement in various jurisdictions. Some agents are stationed overseas.


The DEA generally is looking for applicants with a bachelors or masters degree. Extra consideration is given to agents with law enforcement with degrees in criminal justice, accounting, economics, computer science, telecommunication or one of several foreign languages. A minimum 2.95 GPA is expected. After acceptance there is a grueling twelve month training program.

Current Employment

In 2007 the DEA had 10,759 employees. About half of those worked as agents.

Job Outlook

The DEA will continue to hire agents as retirements and budget increases allow. Recently the DEA was looking for forensic chemists and people with knowledge of investigative technology. DEA agents can be experts in a wide range of fields.


DEA Agents enter the service as a GS7 or GS9.
Starting Salaries are: $49,746 to $55,483

After 4 years a DEA agent qualifies for progression to G13.
Salary potential after year four: $92, 592

Source: Drug Enforcement Administration

College Search Tools

  • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

  • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.

  • Featured Colleges: Check out our index of featured online & campus colleges.