How to Become a Criminal Investigator

Criminal Justice Articles

How to Become a Criminal Investigator

Criminal investigative work sounds exciting and interesting.  There certainly can be plenty of both those elements associated with it.  There are some other words that describe the life of a criminal investigator too – frustrating, exhausting, difficult, and ultimately rewarding.  Not everybody is qualified to work in this field.  The best often go to school and earn degrees that are related to criminal justice.  If you have an interest in being a criminal investigator make sure you consider all the following options to make a sound choice for you.  There are many things to consider before you enroll in school for a program.

Consideration Number One:  Make sure that you truly have the constitution to investigate the various types of crime scenes out there.  Depending on which area of criminal investigation you would like to work in you will experience different elements of an investigation that could be unsettling for you.  Some of the most well known areas of investigation are computer forensics, homicide investigations, undercover work, white collar crimes, and drug related cases.

Consideration Number Two:  Once you have mentally committed to the fact that you want to work in criminal investigation in some capacity you need to choose the correct school to attend.  There are schools that will give you excellent accredited degrees in as little as two years and those that will take you all the way through bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.  The decisions you make on which school you want to depend primarily upon what your goals are within your chosen field.

Consideration Number Three:  Investigate the income range you will be eligible to get when you get your degree.  Remember to research what the average ranges are for the area you live in or want to live in.  Very few people become an investigator right away.  Usually you will have to build up from field experience and develop the skills to be recommended for the investigator positions.

Consideration Number Four:  Remember that criminal investigators do not work standard work hours all the time.  They are required to be there right after a crime has been discovered.  That means that you get the calls at all times of day and need to follow-up leads when you have the best opportunity to get information. 

Consideration Number Five:  If you have aggressive goals and ambitions in mind with your career choice in criminal investigation, make sure you understand what you will need to do to make those goals a reality for you.  If you are truly serious you will have to continue your education and growth throughout your career.

Consideration Number Six:  Try and stay physically fit.  This will be beneficial to you for a number of reasons when you are a criminal investigator.  It will help you:

  • Keep your energy levels up
  • Feel better when you are working long hours
  • Not be phased by long hours on your feet
  • Get stress relief from intense cases

Consideration Number Seven:  Learn to think outside the box.  When it comes to investigative skills you cannot automatically eliminate things no matter how peculiar they may seem.  You need to learn to think like a criminal might and not assume they have the same thought patterns as you.  This can be challenging for anybody to do but when you are an investigator it is absolutely vital for you to think outside the box.

There are many things to consider before you commit to becoming a criminal investigator.  Once you go over all the details you will clearly know if it is a good career choice for you.  People who choose a career in criminal investigation are passionate about what they do and finding out the facts on their cases.

Schools Offering Criminal Investigation Courses: