Every physician, pharmacist, dentist or nurse must be registered with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This allows them to administer and prescribe medications. If you're running a health care business, it's your responsibility to conduct a DEA search as part of the screening process when hiring.

Most times, candidates will list this number on their resumes or application forms. If someone applies for a job without providing this information, there are ways to find and verify their DEA license number.

What Is a DEA Number?

A DEA number allows medical professionals to write prescriptions for controlled substances. It's a unique identifier that consists of two letters, six numbers and one check digit.

The first letter indicates the registrant type, such as B for clinics or hospitals, E for manufacturers, C for practitioners and R for narcotic treatment programs. The second letter is the first letter of the prescriber's last name. This can also be number 9 for prescribers who use a business address instead of their names.

When conducting a DEA search, make sure this number is correct. According to Career Step, it's not uncommon for job applicants to use fake or expired DEA numbers. However, most pharmacies and health care facilities nowadays have access to software and online tools for DEA verification.

Medical professionals who are practicing in two or more states are required to have different DEA number for each location, according to the DEA. Those who relocate may transfer their DEA license from one state to another. If their application is approved, a new DEA certificate will be issued. Practitioners who work solely in a clinic or hospital setting may use the facility's DEA registration if the clinic agrees.

There are many ways to find and check an applicant's DEA number. First, call the applicant's office and request this information. If, for some reason, this is not possible, access the DEA database. Go to DEANumber.com, create a user account and opt for a weekly, monthly or quarterly subscription. Next, conduct a DEA search online.

Another option is to call the DEA and ask about a specific license. This also works for DEA verification. If you already know this number but you're not sure whether it's valid, contact DEA and request a lookup. You may also use the DEA database for this purpose. Simply enter the license number in the designated field. If it's not valid, a "No results found" message will be displayed.

In addition to the official DEA database, there are several other resources available. DEA Lookup, for instance, features over 1,762,932 records. You can use this service to search and validate DEA numbers, physician credentials and other information.

DEA registration must be renewed every three years. If an applicant's DEA number is not valid, it could be due to the fact that his license has expired. It takes up to 12 weeks by mail and six weeks online for the DEA to renew the registration. In case your DEA search fails, ask the applicant about his license expiration date.