Work Environment About This Section
Police and detectives held about 808,200 jobs in 2021. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up police and detectives was distributed as follows:
|Police and sheriffs patrol officers||684,900|
Police and detective work can be physically demanding, stressful, and dangerous. Officers must be alert and ready to react throughout their entire shift. Officers regularly work at crime and accident scenes and encounter suffering and the results of violence. Although a career in law enforcement may be stressful, many officers find it rewarding to help members of their communities.
Some federal agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Secret Service, require extensive travel, often on short notice. These agents may relocate a number of times over the course of their careers. Other agencies, such as U.S. Border Patrol, may require work outdoors in rugged terrain and in all kinds of weather.
Earn A Bachelors Degree
While a bachelors degree in criminal justice is not required to become a police officer, it may help officers advance to higher positions in the force. To have those types of opportunities, it is important to combine skills gained from this type of degree program with comprehensive on-the-job training and experience.
Criminal justice degree programs allow students to examine crime as a social phenomenon by combining theoretical learning with field-based education. Additionally, some programs allow students to earn credits toward a bachelors degree for successfully completing police academy training. For example, Maryville Universitys online bachelors in criminal justice degree program allows students to get up to 12 credit hours for successfully completed police academy training through select academies.
Typical criminal justice coursework includes subjects such as Criminological Theory, Criminal Law and Procedure, and Multicultural Policing, which can help students approach detective work from a broad perspective.
Researching The Detective Role And Requirements
Read Also: Why Do I Have To Pay For A Police Report
Police Detective Salary And Career Outlook
The median wage for a police detective is $62,690 per year in 2017 there were 110,900 detectives employed nationwide in 2017, and the occupation is expected to grow 17% by 2026, which is the average job growth rate in America. However, budget cuts and other changes in government spending may affect the job growth rate for detectives.
About 78% of police and detectives were employed by local governments, while state police agencies employed about 11%. Those employed by local governments mostly work in cities with more than 25,000 residents, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Texas employed the most police detectives in 2017, followed by California, New York, Florida, and Arizona. The highest detective wages were paid in Alaska, followed by California, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.
Mcmillions Watch It On Hbo
McMillions is a great TV show to watch on HBO. It shows the FBI as they investigate the McDonalds monopoly game scam that took place between the years of 1989 and 2001. The scam affected a lot of people! Millions of people played into the McDonalds monopoly game with zero chances of ever being able to win.
Read Also: How To Get Accepted Into The Police Academy
Also Check: How Long To Be A Police Officer
Criminal Justice Careers That Dont Require Police Training
1. Private Investigator
Private investigators are responsible for researching and examining persons of interest. In other words, these professionals investigate suspects and collect evidence of criminal behavior. However, rather than working for a police department, private investigators are hired by clients or law enforcement agencies for independent cases. They gather, analyze, and report information around the person or place in question. For example, private investigators may be hired by companies to uncover wrongful acts of employees, or conduct background investigations. They may be hired by a client to privately investigate a cold case that was closed by local officials. They may also be hired by families to find a missing person, or to reveal abusive behavior or the infidelity of a spouse. These are just some of the many examples in which a private detective or investigator is required. And this role does not require police training.
To become a private investigator, one must typically complete their high school diploma and complete a postsecondary program in a related field, such as criminal justice. Many private detectives learn through on-the-job training, as well. However, specific requirements will vary by state and employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , most states require private detectives and investigators to have a license.
2. Probation or Parole Officer
3. Crime or Intelligence Analyst
4. Park Ranger
5. Security Guard
Becoming A Police Detective
Don’t Miss: How To Get My Police Record Online
How To Become A Police Detective In 8 Steps
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed’s data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
A police detective is a specialized law enforcement officer who investigates criminal activity and solves crimes. They work in units like homicide, cold cases or the public sector to investigate corporate or government crimes. Understanding what a police detective does and what it takes to become one can help you plan your law enforcement career path appropriately.
In this article, we show you how to become a police detective, describe the skills you might need and provide police detective salary and job outlook information.
License And Certification Requirements For Criminal Investigators
While not required by most agencies, professional certifications demonstrate specialized knowledge and skills to potential employers, making candidates more competitive in the job market. Criminal investigators can earn a professional certified investigator credential, which requires at least five years of investigation experience.
Don’t Miss: How Much Is Police Academy Training
Do Detectives Decide Where They Work
Detectives typically get stationed where there is the greatest need. They apply to their state or territory’s police force and agree to serve anywhere in that state or territory. The exception is detectives working for the Australian Federal Police. These detectives all work at the Australian Federal Police’s headquarters in Canberra.
What Is A Police Detective
A police detective or criminal investigator, unlike an entry-level police officer, usually specializes in one particular type of crime. A police detective may work with juvenile offenders or investigate murders or sex crimes. Other detectives work on the vice squad or on narcotics, fraud, intelligence, computer crimes, surveillance, or arson cases. Still, other detectives investigate robberies, burglaries, auto theft, missing persons, or aggravated assaults.
Criminals dont take days off, so a police detective must be prepared to work long hours, weekends, and holidays. If working undercover, a detective may immerse themselves in dangerous settings where the threat of physical violence is high. Regardless of the setting, detective work can be stressful and stimulating, but also deeply rewarding. Detectives work with other law enforcement officers and civilians every day, and they must be prepared to handle a wide variety of intense situations.
Fulfil Educational Requirements To Enter The Police Force
All detectives are experienced police officers. To become a detective, you must first fulfil the educational requirements to join the police force. Study a course recognised by your state or territory’s police force.
An associate degree in police practice is one of the most common courses completed by aspiring detectives. This course runs for five trimesters. The first two trimesters involve classroom instruction at a police training college. The final three trimesters provide on-the-job training.
Certification requirements vary between the federal level, states and territories. Common requirements include certificates for water safety and rescue, keyboard skills and first aid. After completing all necessary courses, you can find work as a probationary constable.
Earn Several Years Of Full
Establish Yourself as an Exceptional Officer
Detective positions are highly coveted and extremely competitive. The best way to stand out from other applicants is to focus on being an excellent officer. The law enforcement community is small. Even in a large police department, word travels quickly about thorough, successful officers. Strive to be the best officer you can be, follow up on leads promptly, handle your cases responsibly, and ensure your paperwork is meticulously prepared. Avoid misconduct and other behavior that may lead to disciplinary action. Use all available resources to solve problems as they arise, and seek feedback from veteran officers on areas for improvement.
Read Also: How To Write A Police Resume
How To Become An Investigator
The difference between a detective and an investigator is that detectives typically deal with murder and missing persons cases, whereas investigators could look into anything from fraud to terrorism. The following are some of the steps to becoming an investigator:
Can You Be A Detective
The most important question that you need to answer for yourself is whether you can work as a police detective or not. You may meet all the requirements and possess most of the important qualities for a detective but yet still wonder if this is the right direction for your career. There are several quizzes that can help you decide or at least have some fun while solving them.
Owlguru offers a one-minute test to check if you should become a detective or not. You need to answer 10 simple questions related to the type of work a detective does with dislike, ok or like. The questions will make you think a bit more about the responsibilities of the job and give you an idea of what you will be doing.
If you want to have some fun and test yourself to see if you know how to interrogate a suspect or whether you are familiar with some terms related to the job, then the quizzes of playbuzz and offbeat are a good try.
Keep in mind that these quizzes are not a real test of your abilities and knowledge and they do not determine whether you can become a detective or how good you will be. This is done through the interviews that you will have to pass. You need to prove your qualities with every case that you work on. Nevertheless, such quizzes can give anyone who wants to be a detective a rough idea of the duties and the terminology used by those experts.
Also Check: How To Make A Fake Police Report
Work As A Police Officer And Develop Skills
Competent police skills are often the core of a detective’s abilities, and you can develop these skills only through extensive experience. Serve time working in the field, interacting with the public and other officers and learning everything you can about the public you serve, the crimes you investigate and the team you work with. Learn how to handle crime scenes, how to ask questions and how to be an effective public servant.
Detectives are law enforcement officers with a strong understanding of the legal system and strong communication skills. These professionals interview witnesses and victims to determine the cause of a crime or to extract crucial details for a case. Detectives also have some administrative duties, like filing paperwork and submitting reports to a judge.
Related: Detective Job Requirements
Qualifying For County Level Criminal Investigator Jobs In Maryland
Most of the county police departments throughout the state have their own criminal investigations units, which investigate crimes occurring throughout that county. Each county unit has its own requirements and training for new criminal investigators in Maryland. Examples include:
Combined County Criminal Investigation Unit also referred to as C3I, this unit based in Cumberland is made up of criminal investigators from the Allegany County Sheriffs Office, Cumberland Police Department, Maryland State Police, State Attorneys Office, FBI, Frostburg State University Police, and Frostburg Police Department.
These investigators examine crimes occurring throughout Allegany County and assist other jurisdictions as necessary. C3I detectives investigated over 1500 crimes in 2013, with a closure rate of 92.6 percent. As the unit is made up of detectives from various law enforcement organizations, requirements vary.
All departments require applicants to have a high school diploma/GED and pass a criminal background investigation. Detectives will work their way up the ladder, starting as police officers.
Howard County Sheriffs Department Criminal Investigations Bureau this unit investigates crimes occurring throughout Howard County, and includes Criminal Investigations, Vice and Narcotics, Victim Assistance and Family Crimes and Sexual Assault. It is headquartered in Ellicott City.
You May Like: How To Be A Police Officer In New Jersey
Is There A High Demand For Csi
However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , both occupations are expected to experience faster rate of growth than the national average for all occupations between 2019 and 2020.
What Does A Crime Scene Investigator Do?
Crime scene investigators and technicians make a good living and are well-paid. A few of them work overtime during weekends and on special occasions.
Familiarity With Firearms And Other Weapons
Police officers and detectives need to be familiar with firearms and other weapons to use them safely and effectively when necessary. They may also have to use non-lethal weapons, such as tasers or pepper spray to control a situation.
In addition, they often participate in firearm training exercises to stay up-to-date on the latest safety procedures. This is especially important since they may have to use their firearms in dangerous situations.
Also Check: How To Fill A Police Report
What Is A Police Officer And Detective
A police officer patrols a particular area to prevent crime. They also arrest criminals. A detective investigates crimes, gathers evidence, and interviews witnesses.
To become a police officer or detective, youll need to complete an education in law enforcement from an accredited school. You may also need some on-the-job training.
Some typical duties of police officers and detectives include:
- Patrolling an area
- Responding to calls for assistance
- Conducting investigations
- Writing arrest reports
What Sort Of Hours Do Detectives Work
Most detectives work full-time hours, spending roughly 44 hours per week at their jobs, according to Job Outlook. These hours are equivalent to the average full-time hours for all jobs. However, , which is much higher than the average of 63% for other jobs. The hours that detectives work can be irregular as well. Many detectives work on weekends and outside regular business hours, especially when they’re close to solving a case.
Recommended Reading: How To Obtain A Police Report From An Accident