DEA License: What It Is and How To Obtain One

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DEA Registration

Who needs a DEA license?

A DEA license is required for medical practitioners, pharmacists, dentists and other health care roles. With a DEA license, these professionals can prescribe or administer controlled substances. Since health care providers work with a variety of patients who sometimes need controlled substances as part of their treatment, having a DEA license is central to their careers.

What is the DEA?

The DEA is a branch of law enforcement of the U.S. federal government. It enforces controlled substance regulations and works to prevent drug trafficking. An aspect of the DEAs overall mission is to lower the rates of drug abuse and death related to drug use.

DEA employees attempt to stop organizations that are involved with growing, manufacturing or distributing illicit controlled substances. They do this by investigating anyone who violates controlled substance laws, seizing any assets related to illicit drug trafficking and coordinating with other federal, state and local law enforcement organizations.

How to obtain a DEA license

As a practicing health care provider, its important to obtain your DEA license to perform your job. Follow these steps to get your DEA license:

1. Meet state licensing requirements

To obtain your DEA license, youll need to meet your state licensing requirements to practice medicine. In some cases, you may be required to have a license for prescribing and distributing controlled substances. Make sure to read up on your state laws to ensure youve met the requirements before applying for your DEA license.

2. Apply for DEA registration

3. Pay the application fees

In addition to submitting your application, youll also need to pay the necessary application fees. These fees are non-refundable and should be included with your application for your DEA license.

4. Renew your DEA license as required

After obtaining your DEA license, its important to maintain your number. Your registration needs to be renewed every three years. Before your registration expires, the DEA will mail you a renewal application. Youll then need to verify all the information on the renewal application and mail it back or complete it online and pay a renewal application fee.

Jobs that require a DEA license

Here are several jobs that work with controlled substances in a medical capacity and require a DEA license, including their duties and average salaries:

Primary duties: Nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who perform a variety of duties concerned with managing patient health. They provide primary care for patients, record symptoms, perform physical exams, create treatment plans and can administer medicine.

Primary duties: A veterinarian is a medical professional who treats animals. Veterinarians are responsible for examining animals, performing surgery on them, treating their wounds and prescribing necessary medication.

Primary duties: Pharmacists are health care professionals who are qualified to prepare and dispense medication. Pharmacists are responsible for reviewing physicians’ orders, interpreting them, dispensing medication and advising patients on proper dosage among other duties. Pharmacists display great attention to detail, strong communication skills and strict legal compliance.

Primary duties: An optometrist is a medical professional who provides care regarding patients’ eyes and vision. They are responsible for performing eye exams and vision tests, analyzing test results, diagnosing eye diseases, determining if a patient has nearsightedness or farsightedness, recommending corrective lenses and prescribing medications for patients who have eye diseases.

Primary duties: A dentist is a doctor who specializes in preventing diseases and conditions of the mouth by promoting the overall health of the oral cavity. They examine patients, diagnose oral diseases, create treatment plans and monitor the development of a patients teeth among other duties. Dentists display empathy, have good communication skills and continuously exhibit their deep knowledge of dental procedures and practices.

Primary duties: A physician, or doctor, is a health care professional that is qualified to practice medicine. Physicians have a variety of responsibilities, including diagnosing illnesses, examining and treating patients’ ailments and prescribing medications. They advise patients on preventative health care and other health-related matters.


What does DEA certified mean?

A federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) certificate is required for all qualified practitioners who write prescriptions for controlled substances. Many individual states also require a practitioner to hold a Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) certificate in addition to a DEA certificate.

How long is NYS DEA license good for?

Licenses are valid for two years from their effective date. A separate application and fee is required for each license classification. Prior to the expiration date of your license, you will be provided with the materials necessary for renewal. All sections of the application must be completed.

How do I get a DEA number in New York?

For more about applying for a DEA number, visit or call 1-877-883-5789, 1-800-882-9539 or 212-337-1593. The mailing address for the US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration is: 99 Tenth Avenue, New York, NY 10011.

How do you get a DEA license in California?

Apply online at the U.S. Department of Justice website. This resource is only available to new applicants. Call the DEA Headquarters Registration Unit toll free at 800-882-9539 or call your nearest DEA Registration Field Office to request a physical copy of the order form. Forms will be mailed within 10 working days.

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