8 answers

what is the suggested education for special victims detective?

Updated Visalia, California

Education recommended like major.
Specific requirements needed to be a detective aside from education.
#detective #law-enforcement #special-victims #law #majors #college-majors

8 answers

Jeanette’s Answer


I recommend that you look into colleges that offer degrees in criminal justice.  Also it would be worthwhile to contact your local law enforcement agency to see if you could actually "interview" a special victims detective to find out how that individual trained for the position.  I located this site on the internet https://study.com/articles/Become_a_Special_Victims_Unit_Detective_Career_Roadmap.html.  I don't have personal knowledge about the site but it may have good information.

Jeanette recommends the following next steps:

  • Try to set up informational interview with special victims detective.
  • Conduct internet research to find out more about how to pursue a career as a Special Victim Detective.
  • Research websites of local law enforcement agencies to find out if they have information about the required training.
  • Find out if your school has pertinent career information about this field.

Brian’s Answer

Updated Austin, Texas


Great question! During my time as a detective I have met many investigators with different educational backgrounds, from music to government degrees. In my experience there is no one degree that would lend itself exclusively to criminal justice or special victims. While having a criminal justice degree helps a lot of this will be covered in whatever academy you attend. In my opinion some of the best detectives I have ever met were just naturally nosey people. If I had to point to one thing it would be having great people skills and that’s not a degree . Being able to talk to victims and suspects is key to solving cases. You can’t do this if you do the cliche TV tough cop routine, it just doesn’t work like that. My advice is that if you want to join law enforcement is to get a degree that interests you. What makes law enforcement great is having so many people with different educational backgrounds that help solve complex problems.

Claude L’s Answer

Updated Jasper, Georgia

First and foremost you have to go through police academy to become POST Certified. Some people choose to pay their way through police academy and hope to find work upon successful completion. Others, such as myself, get hired on with a local agency who agree to pay for you to go through police academy.

Once you have completed academy, you will need to start preparing yourself to become a detective in general. Understand some agencies do not have detectives at all, or if they do they are very limited in what their area is. A local metro Atlanta Sheriff's office for instant only has one type of detective and that is White Collar Crimes, everything else is handled by the local police agencies Criminal Investigation Division.

Once you are placed in Uniform Patrol ( again some sheriff's departments don't have UPD) make a point to learn how to write excellent , detailed reports. Learn how to talk to people and ask good questions. Take classes such as Criminal Procedures, Interviews and Interrogations, Crime Scene Processing etc etc.

When a spot opens up in CID, put in for it. Once you are taken in they will provide you the specialized training you will need to thrive in SVU.

Paul’s Answer

Updated West Bloomfield Township, Michigan

Hello! City and State police-work has evolved so much there is a great need for investigators to be trained in many fields. The path to becoming a detective can simply start by joining a police force and picking up training which leads to work as a detective. It is very rare for a person to become a detective without first performing duties as a uniformed officer. Simply put, there is a lot of competition among officers for these positions. If you rather attend college before joining a police force, and your ultimate goal is special victims, majoring in psychology, sociology, and/or of course criminal justice will aid you in helping attain your goals. Working as a special-victims detective is a noble endeavor, but does not happen quickly.

Knowing what I know now as an investigator I wish I had developed a "career outline" for myself which would have led me to quickly achieving career goals. If I had done this while, lets say as a senior in high school, I would completed the steps below in terms of following a career in law enforcement:

  1. Complete high school
  2. Determine if you want to join the military. Not a necessary step, but sometimes helpful.
  3. Attend college if possible. A 2-year degree does wonders.
  4. Determine what location you want to work in (in-state, out-of-state, large force, small, etc)
  5. Determine what government you want to work for (federal, state, county, city, other)
  6. Attend the academy

Remember, if you your ultimate goal is to be special victims detective be sure that whichever agency you work for has such an office.

Jim’s Answer


Would recommend a Bachelors in either sociology or psychology with a concentration with early childhood development. Get hired by a local police department and express interest in units assigned to investigate those type of crimes, and finally get promoted to a detective.

Raymond’s Answer

Updated Bayonne, New Jersey

A degree in Criminal Justice is usually the standard that police agencies requiring a degree look for, however I've found that the best education for something like a "Special Victims Detective" is the training and education you can get through your agency. Once you're a member of a police department look into the training schedules in your own agency and other police academies pertaining to "sex crimes". Express an interest to your department in that type of assignment. There are also many informative writings, articles, journals and books as well as seminars to educate you in this area. The best education though is 'OJT', on the job training and picking the brains of experienced detectives.

Raymond recommends the following next steps:

  • Research the agencies your interested in working in, see what their requirements are for becoming a Sex Crimes Detective. Read articles, literature, attend a seminar or two regarding sex crimes, educate yourself a little on the topic, if you are a college student, as a project go interview a sex crime detective in your area.
  • Apply for a position/ take a test for a police agency. Study hard.
  • Go for it.

Tika’s Answer

Updated Kennesaw, Georgia

English, Political Science, Law Enforcement, investigator, Social Worker, School Counselor, Detective and lastly Educator (K-12)

Jeanette’s Answer


Using the search "international non-profit utilizing music and musicians" on the internet calls up a host of articles about non-profits that use music and musicians.  Read as much as you can to find the causes for which you have a passion.  To get into law school you need to keep your grades as high as you can.  I went to the University of Georgia Law School and it had an excellent international law department.  I recommend that you research law schools and apply to those who have a good international law departments.

Jeanette recommends the following next steps:

  • Research on the internet and elsewhere to find out about international non-profits that use music and musicians.
  • Do some soul searching to determine those causes that you are most interested in serving.
  • Devote yourself to getting high grades in your undergraduate studies.
  • Apply to law schools that have a good international law department.
  • Do volunteer work in organizations that serve the causes that you are interested in and develop contacts who may assist you in your search for a career in a non-profit.