How To Become a Detective? Education & Career

Detective tends to enjoy a great deal of professional independence, which is precisely what draws many investigators to the field. These professionals often choose when they work, how many clients they serve and the types of cases they accept. Before they achieve this degree of flexibility, however, private investigators must meet all training and licensing regulations governing their work. These requirements are state-specific, so not all detectives pursue the same certificates, degrees, and professional licenses.

Prospective PIs’ academic choices frame the legality of their work and future career opportunities and earnings, so it is important that they research their options and choose wisely. The following guide outlines the steps to becoming a private detective, what the future might hold for them, and how these factors interrelate.

How To Become a Detective?

detective sometimes referred to as an investigator normally works with a law enforcement agency. Called in for specific situations, a detective collects evidence and analyzes the facts in a criminal case. Duties of a detective generally include interviewing witnesses and suspects, examining records involved with a case, observing potential suspects, and taking part in arrests.

Detectives and investigators work on a full-time basis with the likelihood of paid overtime. Shifts during the weekends and the night are common for those without seniority on a police force. There can be a great personal reward in serving the public’s needs for protection and justice. The career carries a higher-than-average risk of confrontation with criminals, personal injury, and even death.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma (required); bachelor’s degree (may be required)
Degree Field Criminal justice or law enforcement
Experience Several years (varies by employer)
Key Skills Keen perception, leadership skills, communication, multitasking, physical stamina, basic computer skill and experience with software for crime scene management, crime information databases and computer-aided composite drawing; comfortable with handcuffs, polygraphs and fingerprinting and surveillance equipment.

Do detectives wear uniforms?

Police detectives do not wear uniforms, but they do have a kind of dress code. Most police detectives wear suits. Plainclothes detectives wear business casual options, but they typically wear slacks and jackets, depending on the season. Wearing a concealed firearm is also required for the job.