Narcotics officers have to deal with issues and crimes related to drugs. These professionals work at local, state as well as the federal level. They have to collect evidence and apprehend drug offenders. This job is full of risks since narcotics officers have to deal with criminals.

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Should I Become a Narcotics Officer?

If you hate drugs and want to put drug offenders behind bars as part of law enforcement, then becoming a narcotics officer might be a good career choice for you.




High school diploma. A college degree is needed if you want to work at the federal level.

Major RequirementLaw enforcement, criminal justice, criminology, etc.
License/CertificationDepends on the job requirements
Key SkillsStrong knowledge of the legal system, physical fitness, patience, good communication skills, etc.
Annual Mean Salary (2019) -National$86,030 (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)
Job Outlook (2019 – 2029)1% (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)

5% (Police and Detectives)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

The job outlook figure for narcotics officers is not available with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Detectives and Criminal Investigators are expected to enjoy 1% growth in job opportunities between 2019 and 2029 whereas Police and Detectives will enjoy a 5% increase in employment opportunities during the same period.

Steps to Become a Narcotics Officer

You have to complete the following steps to land a job as a narcotics officer:

Complete Educational Requirements

Most states as well as local employers require aspiring narcotics officers to have completed high school education. Having said that, a college degree is preferred by a lot of employers since job competition and job requirements are getting more challenging by the day.

On the other hand, if you want to land a job at the federal level, then a bachelor’s degree is the minimum education you need to start your career. You might also need some experience.

Pass Physical Tests

Narcotics officers in the US should be physically and mentally fit. They will have to pass a strict physical examination to qualify for the job.

Clear Background Checks

You will also have to clear thorough background scrutiny to work as a narcotics officer. Everything about your background will be checked by the relevant authorities, including educational credentials, previous work history and prior felony convictions, if any.

Join a Law Enforcement Agency

You will have to get some law enforcement experience before applying for the position of a narcotics officer. You can look for job opportunities at local police departments, sheriff’s offices, etc. Federal level jobs require even more background scrutiny and screening. You will also have to clear the training requirements set by a particular department.

Become a Narcotics Officer

After getting law enforcement experience, you can apply for a job as a narcotics officer.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Narcotics Officer?

The duration it takes to become a narcotics officer will depend on a lot of factors like the job you need, the education you get, the practical experience needed, and the training required, etc.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Narcotics Officer?

The following are the requirements to become a narcotics officer:

  • Must be 21 years old at least.
  • Must meet the required educational requirements.
  • Must pass the physical test.
  • Must clear the background check.
  • Join law enforcement to get practical experience.
  • Become a narcotics officer.

How Much Does a Narcotics Officer Earn in the US?

As per the latest figures published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Detectives and Criminal Investigators earned $86,030 in mean annual income in 2019.