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What is a Criminal Investigator?

Have you binge-watched CSI or any one of the crime investigation series offered on TV? Has your interest in solving crimes risen to new heights based on the work shown in these hit television series, and you already know how to be a criminal investigator? Or what education is needed to become a criminal investigator? If so, great.

But if you do not have the answer to these questions that ask how to become a detective or criminal investigator, then you are likely to want to know the answers to following questions – 

  • What is a criminal investigator?
  • What is a criminal investigator’s job?
  • What does a criminal investigator do professionally?
  • What is the job outlook for a criminal investigator over the next ten years?
  • What education is needed to become a criminal investigator or private detective?
  • What degree do I need to be a criminal investigator or a crime scene investigator?

Additional questions regarding a career in crime scene investigation would include – 

  • How do I learn how to become a criminal investigator?
  • What do detectives and criminal investigators do on a daily basis?
  • How do I learn how to become a detective or criminal investigator?
  • What are the detectives and criminal investigator education requirements?
  • What are the first steps to start a criminal investigation career?
  • What is the average salary for a criminal investigator?

The above-noted are all valid inquiries regarding a career as a criminal investigator. Read on further to learn the answers to these questions, and more.

What do Criminal Investigators do?

The first step in considering how to be a criminal investigator begins with understanding – What does a criminal investigator do? If you have seriously thought about how to be a criminal investigator, or of a criminal investigation career, it is important to know that a criminal investigator is responsible for investigating different acts and events classified as criminal behavior. These actions include the investigation of –

  • Sexual Assaults
  • Physical Assaults
  • Homicides
  • Burglaries
  • Home Invasions, to name a few

What does a Criminal Investigator do to Solve Crimes?

As a crime professional, a crime scene investigator collects forensic evidence that is used by police officers and detectives in solving crimes.  A criminal investigator interviews witnesses, suspects and speaks to informants to –

  • Discover important leads that develop into crime theories regarding the events
  • Determine the timeframe of the crime and the events that led up to it
  • Document the scene of the crime appropriately
  • Ascertain clues that are important to solving the crime
  • Transport evidence according to the protocol

How to Become a Criminal Investigator – Detective and Criminal Investigator Education Requirements

Have you asked yourself – What degree do I need to be a criminal investigator?

Generally speaking, a criminal investigator (also known as a crime scene investigator) enters the profession with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree – the field of criminal justice or criminal law is preferred.

Next, to answer the question, just what do criminal investigators do? – it is important to find work entry-level work and gain some on-the-job experience by working alongside crime scene professionals doing real-world criminal investigation work. 

How to Become a Criminal Investigator with Certification?

Once you have learned just what is a criminal investigator and their job responsibilities, the next step in learning how to become a criminal investigator is to obtain additional certifications. Certifications for criminal investigators are offered by the ABC – the American Board of Criminalistics and the IAI – the International Association for Identification.

What is the Job Outlook for a Criminal Investigator?

In 2018, there were 33,000 criminal investigators and private detectives working in the United States. According to the statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is anticipated that the job market for criminal investigators and private detectives will grow at 8% through 2028, which is faster than the overall job market’s average growth for the same time.

What is the Average Salary for a Criminal Investigator?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes a criminal investigator in several categories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics divides the criminal investigation field into broad categories – Police & Detectives and Forensic Science Technicians. Each category’s median salary for the calendar year 2018, is noted below –

Police & Detectives – A median salary for 2018 of $63,380 per year; this equates to $30.47 per hour. 

Forensic Science Technicians – A median salary for 2018 of $58,230 per year; this equates to $27.99 per hour.

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Top 10 Bachelor Level Criminal Justice Jobs

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Criminaljusticedegreehub.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured programs and school search results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other information published on this site.