How to Become an Undercover Narcotics Agent

Written by kristin jennifer
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How to Become an Undercover Narcotics Agent
Undercover narcotics agents start out as police officers and must have good acting skills. (Police image by Zeno from

Narcotics agents are officers or detectives who specialise in enforcing narcotics laws. Narcotics agents work for local police departments or the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Narcotics agents sometimes go undercover to expose lawbreakers. Becoming an undercover narcotics agent requires physical fitness, mental acumen and acting ability. An undercover agent will be required to assume a separate identity and to become a trusted ally in drug trafficking circles in order to serve the cause of upholding the law.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • High school diploma
  • State driver's license
  • U.S. citizenship

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  1. 1

    Obtain a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Some police departments also will accept 60 college credit hours without a degree.

  2. 2

    Train for peak physical fitness. Police officer applicants have to undergo a medical exam and DEA agent applicants must under go a peak fitness test. Physical fitness is necessary to perform certain tasks.

  3. 3

    Apply for a position as a police officer. Contact your local police department for instructions on how to apply. Police officers must take and pass civil service exams, psychological exams and physical fitness exams.

  4. 4

    Apply for a position in the Drug Enforcement Agency. Applications are periodically accepted online for the DEA. Pass background and character assessment investigations, physical fitness and psychological exams.

  5. 5

    Complete and pass field training academy. Field academy training will include courses on the laws that the position works with and against. The academy will train on the proper use of fire arms and procedures on how to use firearms under pressure.

  6. 6

    Maintain a law enforcement position for three to six years. Prepare to be a narcotics officer in your spare time. Register for additional training courses in narcotics, crime scene and undercover investigations. Take employer-sponsored classes in surveillance equipment use. Study resources on narcotics and crime scene investigations in your spare time. Learn as much as you can about surveillance equipment. Take acting classes to hone your ability to assume identities for undercover work.

  7. 7

    Take and pass the exam to join the narcotics unit or task force.

  8. 8

    Offer to go undercover when opportunities arise. You might become a narcotics agent, but have limited options to go undercover. Going undercover will depend on available opportunities.

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