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How does the amount of education effect your position as a criminal investigator?

The educational requirement to be an investigator is simply having a GED or a high school diploma. Is there any other education that may be needed? Any certifications?

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Robert’s Answer

If your talking about a private investigator then the certification and licensing requirements are dictated by the state you'll be working in. States all vary in their requirements. You can Google your state's requirements. Most of these answers are geared toward private investigators and in no way related to police investigators.
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Frank’s Answer

As Nic pointed out above, the basic requirements of an investigator are low in comparison to many other career fields and these standards are very subjective, depending on the individual employer. I was fortunate to get hired as a Federal Agent right out of college. The first year of the job was mainly intense law enforcement education training at the Federal Law Enforcement Center. The second year I was assigned an on-the-job senior investigator who mentored my work and applied his experience to the investigations I was assigned. During the course of my career, I took as many opportunities as possible to enhance my skills, by becoming a Certified Expert Witness, Certified Fraud Investigator and participating in many fraud training opportunities that were conducted by my agency and by other agencies.
Since law enforcement is continually evolving, it can only benefit your career to continue with further education, prior to becoming a law enforcement agent and during your career.
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Nick’s Answer

Hello Elizabeth! Yes, the basic requirements of an investigator are low in comparison to many other career fields. However, these standards are very subjective, depending on the individual employer.

Many law enforcement agencies require prior experience in order to work as an investigator. Some even require formal education. But many take the equivalent years of experience and translate those into “career education” for the position. They recognize that a tenured law enforcement officer learns many things though “on-the-job” training. Using this, they apply this to their daily assignments.

Personally, a good investigator will want to have education and training. They will have sought out and attended many professional training courses. Often, they will find an educational degree plan or certification course that helps to create a better work product and enroll in a local college or trade school that offers these courses. More and more employers are investing in their employees with tuition assistance programs, or personal development tracks, to help achieve these goals.

Criminal Justice and Criminology degree plans focus very specifically on the justice system. But other areas, such as Forensic Science and Accounting, are necessary as well. Those demands are going to depend on what type of job, where it is, and who you work for. Every situation is different.

I hope this helps understand some of the educational requirements of an investigator in the criminal justice system.
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