How To Become A Detective

How to Become a Detective in the US

Becoming a detective in the US requires specific qualities, education, and training. The duty of a detective includes solving crimes related to homicide, assault, robbery, and burglary. The main task of a detective is to solve crimes related to fraud, auto theft, computer crime, misplaced, narcotics, etc. Like a uniformed police officer, a detective achieves his title and position by hard work and success. But, the specific requirements to become a detective can vary from department to department.
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What Does a Detective Do?

The job tasks can range between different detective types, specializing in a trend depending on which you choose. Private detectives’ hiring is undertaken by individuals, attorneys, and businesses. The course carries out tasks such as pre-employment background checks, surveillance, etc. Police detectives collect evidence, take part in arrests, conduct interviews with suspects. Also, they get court cases to solve. In the case, the following people have a definite role;-
  • Computer Forensic Investigators specialize in recovering and presenting data for evidence in investigations
  • FBI agents perform the same as regular officers and detectives, but there is a clear distinction. They have jurisdiction over the entire country

Requirements for Becoming a Detective


Potential detectives should have at least a high school diploma or GED. To apply to become a detective, the applicant must graduate from the applicable agency’s training academy. In some cases, agencies and police departments need a college degree or an associate’s degree. Applicants must be at least 21 years old, be a US citizen, have a valid driver’s license, and meet specific physical requirements. Applicants should pass several physical exams that include agility, vision, strength, and hearing.
In most cases, applicants must also pass competitive written exams. Applicants undergo a series of interviews and take both lie detector and drug tests. Also, it is important to add that previous work or military experience is in view as a plus. According to the BLS, envied are the detectives who can speak two languages.
Many state and local agencies encourage applicants to graduate and take law enforcement courses. Most junior colleges and 4-year universities offer courses in law enforcement.

Private Investigator Licensing

Besides, a private investigator’s license need is when you’re open to practice. Also, some states don’t have any licensing requirements at all. But, it will need you to have a business license as proof. Currently, only Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, and the state of Wyoming don’t need any licensing. Without a license, you can still work for an employer and get the required experience to get your private investigator’s license.

Private Investigator Training

Applicants generally receive training as a recruit before becoming an officer. Training includes lectures in forms of law such as local ordinances. Applicants also receive supervised training in areas that include emergency response, patrol, self-defense etc.
Detectives generally begin their careers as uniformed police officers and are promoted. According to the BLS, federal agencies need both a bachelor’s degree and related work experience. In most cases, positions that need advanced security clearances emotional requirements.

Other Types of Experience

Several police departments offer cadet training programs for applicants interested in a career in law enforcement. These applicants do not meet the age requirements for becoming a police officer. While receiving supervised training, the cadets conduct clerical work and attend related courses until they meet the least age.

Advancement Opportunity

Uniformed police officers are eligible for a promotion after a probation period. Then, on-the-job performance and scores on different tests place the applicant on a promotion list. In bigger departments, a promotion may allow an officer to reach detective status or specialize in a particular area of police work.
So, there are specific qualities an applicant must have to become a detective in the US. Also, a detective must meet several educational and background requirements. This position offers a rewarding career that helps the public and serves the community. A good detective must be an excellent communicator, capable, and mentally sharp.

How Much Does a Detective Earns?

Detective Salary Ranges

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2012, the average salary for a Private Detective or Investigator was $45,740 per year or $21.99 per hour. Salaries can vary by state, with the highest being New Jersey and Nebraska. The more experience you have and the more you up to your education, the better the positions you can get and move into consulting. With which can make you a mean of $73,860.
The average salary for a Police detective and criminal investigator, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2012, was $74,300 per year or $35.72 per hour. Salaries again will vary by state, with the highest being the District of Columbia and Alaska. If you decide to progress and enhance your education, looking to become a federal agent, the mean salary is $100,290.

Job Demand

The outlook for private detectives is quite strong through to 2021. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an increase of 21% will take place in job growth, stemming from security concerns. Also, information theft due to technological advances. As for police detectives, the outlook isn’t quite as strong but still very positive. An expected growth rate of 7% from 2010 to 2021 will take place on demand for public safety in local departments.

Job Satisfaction and Benefits

If you have a sense of justice and interest in law, then you will find becoming a detective to be quite rewarding. Not only will you be making sure the “bad guys” are behind bars, but you’ll be helping your community for its betterment as well. Having the title of a detective is equal to someone that has a keen intellect in the field and will generally carry more clout and respect. The thrill of stakeouts and other exciting detective duties should help keep the job interesting.

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