Detectives play a significant role in society. They are the first line of justice and the ones in charge of making court cases a lot easier. But aside from that, they are known protectors of the public. Moreover, the criminals they catch are usually high-valued because they have the chance of doing it again. Such a career is a noble path, but one that has its own sets of struggles.
There are about 152,000 detective and criminal investigators in the United States. However, it has a low job growth (around 1 percent) despite having one of the highest median salaries in the country ($87,000). The main problem with this job is its path and, of course, the work itself. In this post, you’ll learn the two ways you can become a criminal investigator, each having its own set of strengths and weaknesses.
The Academic Path
Not many people take the academic path in becoming a detective because it is riddled with theories and academic work. If you’ve ever had a relative who has done some police work in their lives, they’d tell you that the teachings of academia have no practical use on the field. However, whatever you’ve learned through this path will help you one way or another once you’re out there investigating a crime.
The first step is to earn a bachelor’s degree related to criminology or criminal justice. This usually takes multiple years (around two to four years) before graduation. You can take a couple of years to take your master’s in these related fields to increase your chances for a criminal investigator position once you’ve joined your local law enforcement group.
But first, you’ll have to join a police academy. The academy will teach you what it means to be a police officer or any other representative of the law. This includes physical and mental training for six months. Graduating from the police academy will make you a police officer. From here, you’ll have to work your way up to the detective rank. This is where your years in college will serve you well.
You’re more likely to get promoted if you have a college degree under your belt. This process will expedite your wait, so you can immediately get into working as a criminal investigator in your local precinct.
The Vocational Path
The vocational part is all about utilizing continuing professional development (CPD) points to start your career in law enforcement. You can begin earning CPD points online for criminology. You can then graduate from the vocational course, take a criminology course, and work your way from there. You can start as a low-ranking police officer, make your way up the ranks, and eventually become a detective. This takes a lot more time and effort because you don’t have a college degree to back your promotion. But at least you don’t have to spend too many years in college.
Once you’ve gotten enough experience, you can start thinking of your own private investigation business. This is just one of the many paths you can take after many years of doing detective work for the public.
Private Investigation Business
The private investigation market is one of the largest in the world. Experts value this industry at a staggering $6 billion, and it seems to be growing at a fast pace. It seems that more and more people require this service as more time passes by.
Private investigators do a much different job than detectives because your clients are part of the private market, which means they earn more than their law enforcement counterparts. But the skills and knowledge are still applicable in this field. This job is what many retired detectives take because they can dictate their time and their price for their work. There’s a big chance that you can earn more by starting this business, but there’s also a chance you can make a lot less.
Becoming a Superintendent
Another path you can take is becoming a superintendent or the leader of your local precinct. The role of becoming a superintendent will take many years, and considering that it’s a highly coveted position, it’ll also be very competitive. But becoming the very leader of a precinct is one of the most satisfying and rewarding jobs you’ll ever get in the law enforcement field.
To become a superintendent, you’ll have to go through various promotions and work your way up the law enforcement ladder. To increase your chances, you should consider taking more courses related to criminology.
Becoming a detective is no easy task, but it is rewarding, especially if you’re working in law enforcement. With enough time and dedication, you can make your way into such promotion and serve your community better with your skills.