How To Become a Criminal Investigator

become a criminal investigator

A career in criminal investigation can be invigorating, worthwhile and fun, and at the same time demanding. In order of importance, this is how to become a criminal investigator: develop character, get an education and research the work. Following this criteria is important if you want to succeed in this line of law enforcement.

Candidate Profile: Becoming a Criminal Investigator Professional

Becoming a good criminal investigator professional involves certain characteristics. Much like it does to become part of the police force. Someone investigating crimes must absolutely pay attention to detail, perhaps more than anything else. Consider this: if an investigator overlooks or mishandles a piece of evidence, the perpetrator could walk away. And ultimately the court, the victims, and the employer would hold that investigator responsible. Lives literally depend on details with this job. This is one of the most important factors when you learn how to become a criminal investigator.

how to become a criminal investigator Runner up on the character list is objectivity. A good criminal investigator will leave judgment at the door in order to fairly process the information, and, of course, to solve the crime. If a person likes to gossip, frequently rigs board games and is known to point fingers at the first sign of trouble, a career in criminal investigation might not work. But if a person is a good listener, acts as a mediator for bickering friends and always plays by the rules, becoming a criminal investigator could be a good option.

Objectivity is crucial not only in solving crimes, but in preserving innocence. A person in this position has the weighty responsibility of sending criminals to jail, and keeping innocent people out. This person must be trusted and impartial at all times.

Other characteristics are important as well for those who want to know how to become a criminal investigator, such as being logical, calm and organized. With some of these traits intact, education is the next step.


Education History: What Training Is Required to Become a Criminal Investigator?

If you want to become a criminal investigator, it doesn't always mean getting a degree. If someone wanted to work as a contractor, for example, paper credentials might not matter. But what does matter, and what an education can provide, are skills. Even if a criminal investigator did contract, the organization would want to see a list of other happy customers or some display of quality work. Without an education, it’s hard to get that experience.

So, what degree is right for this line of work? a criminal justice degree is probably the top pick, with course work in forensics, psychology and natural sciences. But most of all, look for a program with internship or fieldwork opportunities; real-world experience can go right on your resume, and can give you an edge in the workforce. This is an important step on how to become a criminal investigator.


Job Outlook: What Opportunities Are Available For Criminal Investigators?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in criminal investigation are expected to grow as fast as the national average in the next ten years. In tough economic times – or even in good times – one must remember the competition. To be competitive in the workforce, understand the skills of other criminal investigators, and then top those skills if possible.

becoming a criminal investigatorMetropolitan areas will have more crime, and therefore more jobs. Locate an investigator in a nearby city and ask him or her some questions, like: What did you study in school? Where did you work? When did you first wonder how to become a criminal investigator? What training do you think good investigators have? Do this as many times as possible to get the best outlook on employability skills in the field. Do what you can to remain competitive, even if means taking risks like an unpaid internship or volunteering.


Career Path: Steps on How to Become a Criminal Investigator With Local Law Enforcement

Not everyone can be a criminal investigator, but some people can. As outlined above, the steps on becoming a criminal investigator with local law enforcement agencies is not that difficult. With the right personality traits, training and research skills, a career in the criminal investigations field is only a few steps away. Just don’t forget to outline a plan, and stick with it. Those are the quickest steps on how to become a criminal investigator and start your career the right way.



This article was written by Emily Martin, an expert in the Legal Careers category at