Willing To Be

How to Become a Detective and Criminal Investigator ¶ March 14

Were you curious as a child? Do you still aspire to search for clues that lead to incredible revelations and figure things out? Then you have all it takes to become a detective and criminal investigator. These professionals work in plain clothes to investigate felonious cases, apprehend lawbreakers and solve crimes.

What Do Detectives and Criminal Investigators Do?

Detectives and criminal investigators work for many trades ranging from computer science to insurance companies where they are responsible for the following duties:

  • Responding to non-emergency and emergency calls
  • Enforcing laws
  • Patrolling assigned areas to obtain warrants and apprehend suspects
  • Writing detailed reports and filling out forms
  • Preparing cases and testifying in court
  • Investigating crimes
  • Collecting and securing data from crime scenes
  • Conducting interviews with witnesses and suspects
  • Observing the suspects’ activities


Earnings for detectives and criminal investigators depend on their level of expertise and nature of assignment. Overtime payments are also common.

Lowest 10 percentile


Top 10 percentile

Annual salary




Source: BLS


The position of a detective and criminal investigator requires you to:

  • Have outstanding communication abilities to be able to gather useful information
  • Have good judgment abilities to determine the best way to handle situations
  • Be perceptive enough to be able to foresee other people’s reactions and understand the reason for their actions
  • Have physical stamina to keep with the job’s routine rigors
  • Have excellent leadership skills
  • Have patience since most investigations don’t provide quick solutions
  • Be resourceful enough to work with the available leads regardless how limited, to define the afterward step toward achieving their objectives


The career of a detective and criminal investigator typically starts with police officer training. Entry requirements fluctuate depending on the agency or department but most of them prefer candidates who have acquired at least two years of college training. A large number of local and state agencies however prefer candidate with a four-year degree that is considered mandatory for a large number of federal jobs.

Police academy training takes a total of 12-4 weeks. Candidates must fall within the set age limits, usually 18 years. Relevant experience, written examinations and education are normally considered when police academies evaluate the candidates for admission. Aspiring detectives and criminal investigators must go through a character profile and background investigation and also undergo a physical fitness test that they must pass. They also endure an arbitrary drug testing.

The path to a detective and criminal investigator can also start with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. This program’s coursework comprises of the following subjects:

  • Public organizations and administrations
  • Homeland security and terrorism
  • Community policing
  • Criminal justice ethics

Once they complete this program, they are able to exhibit a global view of the general procedure of criminal justice from research and apprehension, to court processes and prisons. A large number of employers provide openings for continuing education. Once they further their education, they not only increase their expertise but also boost their prospects and employability.

Career Prospects

Competent detectives and criminal investigators are open to the best job opportunities among local police departments. However, they should anticipate extreme competition in high federal and state agencies. There are more opportunities in the private sector for those who retire or leave their posts in local agencies. Those with military experience and college training should expect the best job opportunities in state and local departments.

If you would like to bring criminal deeds to light, this career is meant for you!

Image Source: AJC

Detective and Criminal Investigator Job Information
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Green Bay Packers Shareholder Meeting and 5k ¶ January 18

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