How to Become a Federal Bureau of Narcotics Agent

Initially, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (or FBN) existed as an agency of the US Department of Treasury, aimed at controlling and eliminating the drug trade within the United States.  Through several iterations, this group has expanded to become today’s more commonly known Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA.

The DEA was created by President Richard Nixon through an Executive Order in July 1973 in order to establish a single unified command to combat “an all-out global war on the drug menace.” In the beginning, the DEA employed 1,470 Agents and had an initial budget of approximately $75 million. Today, the DEA employees approximately 5,000 Agents and has a budget exceeding $2.02 billion.

Today, DEA Agents require high levels of education and intense training. Skilled Agents investigate and apprehend those suspected of their involvement in narcotics, including drug trafficking, and possession of drugs.

What is a Federal Bureau of Narcotics Agent? 

This Agent finds employment either through the state in which they reside or through the Federal Government – typically through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Marshalls. No matter what branch the agent decides to work the United States Drug Enforcement Administration essentially employs them.

Enforcement agents throughout the United States cannot operate beyond the borders of America. However, agents employed with the DEA have the authority to operate and enforce drug laws outside the borders of the United States. These agents have one goal in their line of pursuit, which is to control and enforce America’s drug laws.

The DEA came about under past President Nixon when the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement merged. DEA Agents operate with teams of agents. These teams have different roles such as:

  • The Mobile Enforcement Team and local authorities work together to control drug traffic within neighborhoods of particular cities
  • The Foreign-Deployed Advisory Team along with Support teams work together in other countries outside the United States

These agents work to help stop the illegal drug traffic into the United States DEA Agents place their lives’ on the line every day. Drug enforcement is stressful and dangerous. These agents come face to face with some of the most dangerous and cunning drug lords and drug traffickers globally. It is imperative that a drug agent working for the DEA be of sound mind and physically fit to meet the demands of the job.

Education Requirements for a Federal Bureau of Narcotics Agent

Over the last several years, anyone in law enforcement field as an agent to police officer must obtain at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. The DEA will accept degrees from a number of different fields of study if a student desires to work as an agent. These accepted fields of study include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Economics or finance
  • Any foreign language
  • Telecommunications
  • Accounting
  • Communications

Students may start their career as a police officer to gain the experience needed for narcotics officer. After a few years this police officer can take tests if he or she desires special assignments, such as the narcotics division. As in most all law enforcement work, he or she must have at a minimum of an associates’ degree, a bachelor’s degree is great, and a master’s degree is better. A narcotics agent must have the following abilities:

  • Keen firearms skills
  • Skilled at self-defense
  • Be physically fit
  • Be able to handle stress at all times, keeping a cool demure
  • The agent must have unparalleled integrity
  • Be honest in their personal and business life
  • Present a professional attitude at all times
  • Be a good listener and communicate well to team members, victims, and criminals, while displaying tact

In conclusion, a narcotics agent will work different hours and may be on-call. They may have to spend days and nights away from home, and must have support of family members. Some agents go undercover which places their life in greater jeopardy, but their role is always dangerous when they must make contact with and gain the trust of high-level criminals.

Job advancements are available for the right agent. Narcotics agents may opt to move into many fields such as, special task agents, work for the Federal Government, and become a detective or an investigator. This profession holds many personal benefits, along with an excellent salary.

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