How to Become a Detective

How to Become a Detective

The term “detective” may conjure up images of the fast-moving, smartly dressed characters of television shows like Miami Vice or Jessica Jones. But the reality is that being a police detective requires patience, investigative rigor, and ironclad ethics. The job can be grueling and emotionally taxing, but the rewards are high.

How to Become a Detective

Aspiring detectives often start their careers in law enforcement, as patrol officers or in the criminal investigation division. This allows them to gain experience and develop a reputation as a good detective before they seek out a position in a higher rank.

Some departments offer training to new officers who are aspiring detectives; these programs include lectures on the job, case-solving scenarios, and hands-on practice at crime scenes. These programs can be a great way to get started in detective work and increase your chances of promotion within your department.

How Long to Be a Detective

The path to becoming a detective typically takes five to eight years, according to the BLS (2020). This means that if you are an exceptional officer with a strong record of service, you can expect to wait for several years before your dream of becoming a detective becomes reality.

How to Become a Police Detective

The first step toward becoming a detective is to obtain a degree in criminal justice or a related field. The majority of detectives hold at least an associate’s degree in criminal justice, and many also have bachelor’s degrees.

Having a degree can give you an edge over other candidates and can increase your chance of being hired by a detective division. However, the qualifications for becoming a detective vary by state and department.

In most states, you can earn your law enforcement certification at the police academy or by attending a police school that is accredited by the state. Then, you can apply to a police academy or a detective training program that provides specialized instruction in crime investigation and law enforcement techniques.

How to Become a Homicide Detective

Most detectives begin their careers in patrol and investigative units. These detectives are responsible for a wide variety of crimes, such as homicide, burglary, theft, and drug trafficking. They work under the supervision of a supervisor and may have their own investigative unit.

Once detectives have gained four to five years of experience, they can take a competitive exam and be promoted to the official rank of detective. This usually involves passing a written examination and an oral board, where a team of senior officers assesses your casework.

You may also be required to pass a written exam, which is designed to test your knowledge of criminal law, interviewing skills, search and seizure procedures, evidence collection and preservation, and other areas of police work. This examination can also test your ability to write investigative reports and provide testimony in court.

How to Become a Private Investigator

There are also private investigative companies and private detectives who can help you achieve your career goals. These professionals are trained to solve complex cases by interviewing witnesses, analyzing evidence, and working with suspects. They may also use computer technology to find evidence. Ultimately, they must be able to communicate and convince suspects to come forward in order to resolve their cases.