What are the steps one needs to follow to become a criminal investigator? Many people, especially students, often find themselves asking this question. The answer is that there are many steps you can follow to become a criminal investigator. However, not all steps will help you achieve what you desire. Some may complicate the process while others may lead you to the wrong direction altogether. Here is a roundup of the sure steps you need to take to become a criminal investigator.
Learn About the Job
There is no way you can get the motivation to pursue a career in criminal investigation if you do not know what the job entails. A criminal investigation job typically involves applying your analytical skills to critically examine crimes such as burglaries, homicides, drug trafficking, frauds and sexual violations. You will have to collect and use forensic evidence to help you get accurate results. Due to the demanding nature of the job, you may work irregular hours, weekends and holidays included. You will also have to work in all environments, face disturbing scenes and perform under pressure.
Obtain an Education
Those who want to pursue a career in criminal investigation should have at least an associate’s degree in criminal justice and law enforcement from a recognized institution of higher learning. An associate’s degree usually takes one to two years to complete. However, it is highly advisable to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree to increase your employment opportunities and earning potential. Bachelor’s and master’s degrees take four and three years respectively. The degrees include courses such as sociology, criminology, community policing and corrections. Other relevant majors include foreign language and forensic science.
Aspiring investigators must also undergo a thorough training process in a police academy to gain the relevant skills needed to investigate and prevent crimes. Most people work as patrol officers for two years before they move on to become criminal investigators. The academy training usually lasts for 12 to 14 weeks. Those who apply for enrollment must meet vision, hearing, agility and strength thresholds put in place. They must also produce their academic documents before admission.
Acquire the Right Skills
Individuals who want to become criminal investigators must acquire certain skills to enable them to function effectively. They include integrity, sense of responsibility, good mental health and physical fitness. Excellent communication and interviewing skills plus attention to detail are also necessary.
Achieving Career Growth
There are a lot of career growth opportunities for criminal investigators. Most of these opportunities are available in government-controlled agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). You can go on to become a member of these organizations or even qualify for a position as one of the directors. The trick here is to pursue further education or apply for relevant certifications to increases your prospects. A master’s or doctorate degree will put you in a better position to secure advanced jobs.
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Criminal investigation is an exciting career for those who employ deductive reasoning and enjoy the thrill of discovering the unknown. This career attracts some of the best salaries and offers a perfect platform for reducing crime and upholding justice, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The items discussed above will give you some helpful tips on how to become a criminal investigator and succeed in your profession.