How to Become a Criminal Investigator

How to Become a Criminal Investigator

To become a criminal investigator takes a lot of diligence and requires that you possess certain educational qualification. Criminal investigators are sometimes called detectives. They typically work about in normal clothing so as to apprehend criminals and lawbreakers. Being a criminal investigator is a prestigious job of several positions (ranks) that most cop and regular crime detectives aspire to be.

Criminal investigators are the first to be called to a crime scene, they mark out the crime scene with tape and restrict movement or access to affected areas so as to protect and process crime evidences. Each of the crime scene protection and investigator process involves different ranks of criminal investigator staff and each one knows their duty and line of action to take to secure evidences on the crime scene.

You may be asking if it is possible to be a criminal investigator straight away without being a cop or “uniform man” (military personnel) or law enforcement agent first. Yes, you may become a criminal investigator straight away without being a cop or military person first if you have a degree in that line. For example, if you have criminology degree, psychology or sociology degree, you may become a criminal investigator straight away. Otherwise (if you do not have such degree) you may be required to be a cop or military person for minimum of five years with necessary training in the criminal investigator line before becoming a criminal investigator.

It is very important for a crime investigator to know so much about the different possible types of crime and how to handle forensic evidences where necessary. Such as fingerprints, impressions, bloodstains, footwear, DNA and human remains. Proper photographing and good documentation skills is also needed*.

Educational Requirement to become a criminal investigator

There are several ranks or positions that one may be as a criminal investigator depending on one’s educational qualification and entry mode. To pursue a career in criminal investigation, you may basically need a science based degree. A degree in sociology, criminology and psychology are added advantage. Lower criminal investigator positions or ranks requires minimum of GED, high school diploma or its equivalent. If your interest is to become a criminal investigator, you may go for college or university degree in the sciences with focus towards crime scene investigation, computer forensics, criminal justice, cyber-crime, and forensics study.

Each law enforcement body has its unique requirement for different positions in their criminal investigation unit. Ask for the details from several law enforcement bodies to help guide your career choice aright in crime investigation field.

There are specific certificate courses that students are specially trained on how best to package different evidence at the crime scene in a correct way during their study and job training*.

Job Prospects

A degree in the crime investigation line (forensic sciences, criminology, DNA analysis etc.) and criminal justice may fetch you a well-paid job with the state, federal or local government. Employment opportunities also exist in any of the law enforcement agencies. Apart from criminal investigation related jobs one with such degrees may be hired in private sectors and other legal systems.

Average salary for a criminal investigator in US is in the range of $51,204 to $63,444 and about $98,197 for persons with advanced relevant degrees in criminal investigation with experience like the supervisors. This salary figures are as reported by the US bureau of labor statistics**.



Are you ready to pursue your criminal justice career? Get information on programs in your area and online using our criminal justice degree finder at the top of this page.



*For more information, please visit:

**For more information, please visit: