How to Become a Detective/Criminal Investigator


Maria Gomez Enriquez

Many people are unsure of what they want to do with their life after high school. They do not know what career they want to pursue, but others do know what they want to do. One exciting career would be  to become a detective/criminal investigator. 

What are criminal investigators? They play an essential role in the justice system and law enforcement. They work to solve open cases which can take weeks, months or even years to solve. They rank higher than police officers and they usually focus on a specific area of detective work. That can include burglary, assault, domestic violence, robbery and other white collar crimes. 

In order to make a good criminal investor you will need to have some diverse skills. Some of those skills include judgment, communication, leadership, physical fitness and empathy. With these skills detectives can be ready for almost any trouble they encounter on the job. 

Detectives use their best judgment in rapidly changing situations. They also have excellent communication skills because they help out police officers. They also interview suspects and witnesses,which can require impressive communication skills. While detectives work with police officers, they usually are leaders of their own cases. Detectives need to have great physical stamina since they might have to chase and capture possible suspects. Finally, empathy is a skill that detectives use a lot. They encounter countless people and often have to empathize with people and see things from their point of view. 

Criminal investigators often work nights and weekends. Some investigators are able to track down information from their computers while others are out in the field. How much do they earn? It depends on the rank they are at and what state they are working from. In the United States the average salary is $94,396 per year. 

The tasks that criminal investigators need to do depend on the case. Some tasks include responding to emergencies, analyzing crime scenes for evidence, collecting evidence, and analyzing voice recordings and/or videos. They also obtain warrants for arresting criminals, arrest criminals and interview witnesses. Other tasks are testifying in court, writing case reports and maintaining case records. 

What do you need to do in order to become a detective/criminal investigator? It is not always required but it would look better if you earned your associate or bachelor’s degree. In order to get those degrees, you would need to be studying for 2-4 years in college to complete and increase your job opportunities. You would also need to be a police officer with experience and they must graduate from a police academy which takes around 6 months. After that, you can move up to becoming a detective.