A Guide on How to Become a Criminal Investigator

Guide to Become Criminal Investigator

Modern people are more open to various career fields. They are ready to take a plunge to strive into the unconventional path. Unlike previous times, doctors, engineers, or lawyers are not only professions that people consider respectful, as several other disciplines are now appreciated. The idea of venturing into unusual and not-so-common domains has become prevalent. An increasing number of people are following their passions and choosing a profession they like. Many television shows have glamorized the role of criminal investigators, and numerous films have shown criminal investigators as protagonists. People are taking an interest in the field and are keen on learning more about it. Let’s have a look at the guide on how to become a criminal investigator.

Moreover, many people want to make a career that gives them direction to help others and give back to the community. Since crime is a constant problem, and criminal investigators help mitigate the issue, a criminal investigation is becoming a popular field. The job is rewarding as criminal investigators seek justice for crime victims and work to hold criminals accountable. A modern-day criminal investigation has become a vast term, enveloping a wide array of specialties. The field is thrilling, satisfies people’s curiosity, and enables them to solve mysteries. Besides, criminal investigation offers job security, and criminal investigators enjoy many health and retirement benefits. However, the field can be high-adrenaline and criminal investigators might need to carry arms.

Criminal Investigator

As the name implies, criminal investigators are the individuals who investigate the crime scenes. They are a critical component of law enforcement and often work for the state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies. They look for shreds of evidence, question suspected criminals and witnesses, and scrutinize crime sites. In addition, criminal investigators prepare reports and may testify in court or conduct surveillance.

Although earning a degree is essential, criminal investigators must follow a path and equip themselves with additional skills. Today, many people are keen on studying online, and they prefer enrolling in an e-degree. They can enroll in a criminal justice degree online to get an insight into the field from the comfort of their homes.

Below we are giving a guide on how to become a criminal investigator:

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1. Obtain a Degree

The criminal investigation is unlike other academic disciplines. After earning a high school diploma or gaining equivalent qualifications, people can enroll in higher degrees. It is essential that people aspiring to make a career as criminal investigators acquire a degree in criminal justice, criminology, or forensic science. These degree courses are designed to equip students with skills like observational, research, and critical thinking. Some criminal degree programs also have classes in sociology, juvenile crime, and corrections. Several institutes offer students some optional subjects, and students can choose as per their career goals. To become a criminal investigator, they can opt for computer crime, crime scene investigations, or psychology.

2. Gain Experience in Police Force

Once students have earned a degree, they can gain law enforcement experience. Some law enforcement agencies may offer internships, and students can gain first-hand experience. Most agencies have specific requirements, and students must see if they meet the criteria. They have an age limit and require a candidate to have upright character and sound physical and mental health. Law enforcement agencies run a background check to look into a candidate’s personal and professional history. Once candidates pass the review, they have to undergo training before taking charge as police officers. Most junior police officers work under the supervision of senior law enforcement staff. Working in the police force gives them a flavor of working on-site and learn from senior patrol officers.

3. Earn Certifications

Although not all states or cities’ law enforcement agencies require police officers to enroll in certification programs, some may have the requirement. Moreover, earning certificates help in sharpening the saw and expose police officers to the advanced environment. They learn more about the advanced way of dealing with cases and acquire modern skills. Earning certification gives credibility and raises junior police officers’ chances to work as criminal investigators.

4. Apply for a Job/ Earn Promotion

The final step to work as a criminal investigator is to apply for the job. In some cases, police get promoted for the designation. Candidates who have experience working in law enforcement are preferred as they have a basic job idea. Individuals working in law enforcement may need to finish probationary period, take exams, and demonstrate efficiency in their job to be eligible to work as criminal investigators.

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Many states have a condition that criminal investigators go for continuing criminal investigator training. They may also have to give physical exams and regular marksmanship testing for the assessment of their skills. To earn a spot at higher designation, criminal investigators will have to go for additional training and exams.

What do Criminal Investigators Do?

Many people think that all criminal investigators do hold a magnifying glass and collect pieces of evidence. The truth is that the media has glamorized their jobs; in reality, criminal investigators may have to go through the same scene repeatedly. The fundamental role of criminal investigators is to focus on particular cases and use their expertise to solve them. The crimes include ‘white-collar crimes, such as tax evasion, fraud in finance, robberies or homicide. Criminal investigators jobs include:

  • detailed analysis of crime scenes
  • gathering of pieces of proof from related locations
  • investigation of people from around the crime scene
  • conducting question-answer sessions with suspects and witnesses
  • obtaining search warrants and arresting people
  • testifying in court.

They can also work with the Department of Defense and state law enforcement. Some crime detectives choose to exercise private practice. Sometimes, criminal investigators work on behalf of victims, and in several situations, they are associated with private law firms. In numerous cases, they represent accused people and present their side of the story.


Gone are the days when people had limited options to make a career; they had to suppress their passion and take upon a traditional profession. In present times, many people are breaking chains and making a career in unorthodox fields. Many people aspire to work in law enforcement agencies, but they do not like to serve as patrol officers. Criminal investigation is a thinking process, and criminal investigators possess extraordinary skills that help them solve inexplicable mysteries. Unlike what the media portrays, a criminal investigation is not only about glamor. Criminal investigators often have to go through the same thing to find something repeatedly. Nonetheless, the field is exciting and allows people to play their part in serving humanity.


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