Criminal Investigators Career Description
A career as a criminal investigator is the opportunity to make a real difference in the war on crime. Court cases are won and lost on the basis of the criminal investigation. Most law enforcement officers are involved in some form of investigation on a daily basis but only a few are selected by their agencies to investigate crime as a full-time investigator.
How to Become a Criminal Investigator
The criminal investigator position is generally one that is attained after being a police officer for several years. It’s a rung on the advancement ladder that many officers never get a chance to experience. There are a couple of factors that supervisors look at when considering filling an investigator position and these include experience and education. Experience is usually obtained by investigating minor crimes as a patrol officer. The ability of an officer to analyze information, interview people, write well, and understand the laws and court decisions he works within has accomplished the first requirement. Having a college education is the second requirement, though this isn’t the case for all police or sheriff’s departments. An accredited university Bachelor’s Degree or community college or technical college Associate’s Degree is what an officer will need. Online colleges and universities now offer accredited degrees, many of which never require a student to visit the campus. Studying can be done at home and whenever it’s convenient.
Federal and state criminal investigation agencies will often hire an agent who bypasses the “street” experience and immediately trains for a criminal investigator position. The most well-known federal agencies are the CIA and FBI. Bachelor’s or Master’s Degrees are required for the federal positions and quite often for similar positions at the state level.
How Much Does a Criminal Investigator Make - Criminal Investigator Salaries
The pay scales vary widely for investigators and depend entirely on the hiring agency. Investigators on police and sheriff’s departments may earn the same pay as road officers though they’re often on the next higher pay scale. Investigators in metropolitan areas make considerably more since the agencies typically pay well, often earning from $50,000 to $60,000 annually. Federal investigators can expect to be paid about the same