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What steps should I do to become a detective ?

Which schools should I go to and which degree to get

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Subject: Career question for you


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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Iyiana,

Education and Training to Become a Detective

To become a detective, you will need to follow a specific educational and training path. Here are the steps you should take:

1. Obtain a High School Diploma or GED: The first step in becoming a detective is to complete your high school education. This is a basic requirement for most law enforcement agencies.

2. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree: While not always mandatory, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, criminology, or a related field can significantly enhance your prospects of becoming a detective. Many law enforcement agencies prefer candidates with higher education.

3. Gain Law Enforcement Experience: Before becoming a detective, you will typically need to gain experience as a police officer or in another law enforcement role. This experience provides valuable insight into investigative procedures and the criminal justice system.

4. Complete Police Academy Training: If you decide to pursue a career in law enforcement, you will need to attend and graduate from a police academy. This training covers various aspects of law enforcement, including firearms training, self-defense techniques, and legal procedures.

5. Specialized Training for Detectives: Once you have gained experience as a police officer, you may have the opportunity to undergo specialized training for detectives. This training often includes courses on criminal investigation techniques, evidence collection, forensic science, and interrogation methods.

6. Continuing Education and Professional Development: Throughout your career as a detective, it’s essential to engage in continuing education and professional development opportunities to stay updated on the latest investigative methods, technologies, and legal developments.

Recommended Schools and Degrees

Several universities and colleges offer programs that can prepare you for a career in law enforcement and detective work. Some of the top schools known for their criminal justice programs include:

John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Located in New York City, John Jay College offers various undergraduate and graduate programs in criminal justice, forensic psychology, and related fields.

University of Maryland Global Campus: This institution provides online programs in criminal justice and investigative forensics, allowing flexibility for working professionals seeking to advance their careers in law enforcement.

Michigan State University: Known for its strong criminal justice program, Michigan State University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees tailored to individuals interested in pursuing careers in law enforcement and detective work.

When considering which degree to pursue, options such as a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice or Criminology are popular choices among aspiring detectives. Additionally, some universities offer specialized programs focusing specifically on investigative techniques and forensic science.

By following these steps and obtaining the necessary education and training, you can work towards achieving your goal of becoming a detective.

Top 3 Authoritative Sources Used:

FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation: The FBI’s official website provides comprehensive information on the requirements and qualifications for becoming a detective or special agent within the bureau. It offers insights into the educational background and experience needed for investigative roles.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): The BLS website offers detailed data on the educational requirements for various law enforcement careers, including detectives and criminal investigators. It provides valuable statistics on job outlook and median pay for these professions.

National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS): NCJRS is a federally funded resource offering research-based information on criminal justice topics. It provides insights into the educational pathways relevant to careers in law enforcement and detective work.

Thank you comment icon Thanks, can't wait to put this advice into action! iyiana
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Michelle’s Answer

Hello, Iyiana !

What an exciting career choice you have expressed. In order to be a Police Detective, you can major in Criminal Justice or Administration of Justice with a Bachelors Degree. I suggest that so that you will rank high on employment applications and not have to take more time at the Police Academy taking courses you've already taken. Than, after you obtain your Bachelors Degree, enroll at the Police Academy. You will have to work as a police officer for a few years and keep informed as to when the tests for Detective will be given and take the test to become a Police Detective.

To become a licensed private detective (investigator) in the State of Texas, you will need to be licensed. I have left some links for you to read about the various requirements and conditions on what you'll need to do to be a private detective.

There are several types of detectives so you may be thinking about which type you want to become. Some are : Homicide, Police, Forensic, Computer Crime, Narcotics, Cold Case, Undercover, Private, Missing Persons, and Fraud. I would suggest reading up on all the types of detective work and that may guide you to which next step to take. I have left informative links for you below to get you started.

I hope that this was helpful and I wish you well moving forward with your studies !

Michelle recommends the following next steps:

Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! iyiana
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome, Iyiana ! Michelle M.
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Rafael’s Answer

To become a detective, start by pursuing a degree in criminal justice or a related field to gain a strong educational foundation. Gain practical experience by working as a police officer or in law enforcement, developing essential skills along the way. Specialize in a specific area of investigation and seek out opportunities for advanced training and certifications. When it comes to schools, research reputable institutions that offer criminal justice programs. Remember, becoming a detective is an exciting and rewarding career path that allows you to make a difference in your community!