Detective and Criminal Investigation Job Description

Detective and Criminal Investigation Job Description and Salary Information

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Although the work of a police detective or criminal investigator isn’t always as fascinating as you might imagine or believe, this line of work does have its perks. Instead of patrol cops, detectives spend their days investigating crimes that have already occurred rather than actively patrolling to deter criminals. Additionally, they look for and capture criminals.

Many sectors employ detectives and criminal investigators, from government and law enforcement to insurance and technology. Additionally, detectives and criminal investigators with their job descriptions can work independently, particularly in the background investigation industry.

Detectives and criminal investigators description need a high school diploma, a college degree, or a degree in addition to specialized law enforcement training, depending on their role. The finest job possibilities will go to those most qualified at regional, national, and local law enforcement organizations and businesses and firms in the public sector. On the other hand, applying for positions with state and federal agencies might take a lot of work. Being bilingual and having a college degree in police science or military police training are benefits for these roles.

In this article, you will get to know all about the detective and criminal investigator job description.


Detective and Criminal Investigation Job Description

What Do Criminal Investigators and Detectives Do?

Criminal investigators and detectives perform comparable tasks, and the phrases are occasionally used synonymously. Depending on the circumstance, both professions center on safeguarding others’ lives and property. However, detectives and criminal investigators often have very different professions, with the main distinction being the types of crimes they look into.

Below are some of the detective and criminal investigation job descriptions:

  • Detectives and criminal investigators employ comparable methods to solve crimes, whether they deal with fraud or crime. Investigating leads, speaking with witnesses, seeing crime scenes, and looking over various types of damning evidence is a few of them. As a result, detectives are crucial to the prosecution of murderers during homicide investigations as well as to the identification of missing persons.


  • A detective’s primary responsibility is gathering information, acquiring evidence, reviewing documents, questioning witnesses, interviewing suspects, and exploring every facet of a criminal case to come up with a solution. This can entail engaging in stake-outs or even following suspects to watch their behavior.
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  • Detectives are given cases either randomly or following their experience and rank. For instance, the department chief may give the case of homicide to the detectives who have the finest track records of solving crimes. A detective might finally be let go from a case if it doesn’t appear possible to pursue it further because only some cases are solved. If not, detectives will keep investigating a case until it is closed or a suspect is apprehended.

       What is a Criminal Investigator?

  • A criminal investigator frequently deals with various crimes, from terrorism to fraud and theft. Criminal investigators work to accomplish this by safeguarding both people and private or public property.


  • Criminal investigators can work for local, state, and even national law enforcement organizations, but they can also find employment in the private sector. Insurance companies may employ them to assess the veracity of claims, or they may collaborate with businesses and tech firms to safeguard tangible and intangible assets. Criminal investigators may also work independently, handling cases for individual clients.


  • Criminal investigators gather information, interview witnesses, and offer expert testimony in court, much as detectives do. However, criminal investigators might not have the authority to make arrests unless a law enforcement organization employs them.

       Detective and criminal investigator responsibilities

Where you work will affect the duties of a detective or criminal investigator. As a detective for a local, state, or

federal law enforcement organization, you’ll likely deal with homicides and reports of missing people more

frequently. If you work as a criminal investigator, you might collaborate with law enforcement on cases involving

these crimes, theft, phony insurance claims, breaches of cyber security, or terrorist activities.

Similarly, suppose you work for a government organization like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.). In that

case, you might be involved in investigations into kidnapping, terrorism, and other crimes that threaten the country.

Agents of the F.B.I. may review financial information, look into white-collar crimes, carry out surveillance, or work

undercover operations. Public corruption, organized crime, bank robberies, financial crime, terrorism, espionage,

kidnapping, cybercrime, and drug trafficking are the illegal activities that the F.B.I. looks into.

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Criminal detectives and investigators must maintain thorough, up-to-date records of every investigation since they

can testify in court. These reports and first-person testimonies could offer the crucial proof required to bring a

criminal case to a successful conclusion.

  Education, Coaching, and Certification

Departmental recruiting standards can differ significantly.
• Education: While some employers only accept applicants with a high school diploma, others insist on associate or college degrees. Some selective organizations may require even a bachelor’s degree. The most popular degrees are in criminal justice and criminology.
• Certification: Obtaining law enforcement certification from your state’s standards and training commission or the Peace Officers Standards and Coaching: Training organization will be essential in addition to any degree requirements (P.O.S.T.). State-by-state variations in P.O.S.T. certification requirements are common, but most call for a set amount of academy training hours and a state certification test.

         Detective and criminal investigator abilities

  • People skills: Detectives and criminal investigators should be able to treat those who aren’t always acting appropriately with compassion. You’ll discover that you frequently have to deal with bereaved families and collaborate closely with other criminal justice and law enforcement members, such as forensic science technicians.
  • Communication abilities: You should be at ease conversing with witnesses and suspects. Be prepared to give brief, straightforward responses to queries.
  •  Initiative: You should feel at ease taking charge of a crime scene, leading investigations, and instructing other officers.
  • Self-control: To deal with people accused of committing violent crimes, you must be able to restrain your emotions.

          Detective and Criminal Investigator Job Risks

Detectives and criminal investigators frequently deal with upsetting scenarios involving assault, murder, and accidental death while spending a lot of time at crime scenes. Additionally, they frequently deal with aggressive offenders in dangerous circumstances. Additionally, they must be equipped to communicate with those going through severe bodily or mental pain due to traumatic occurrences, including fatalities.
Working as a detective or criminal investigator can be risky, physically taxing, and stressful. It can harm one’s mental health, general well-being, and physical risks. Detectives and criminal investigators require specialized training to deal with these difficult situations. Additionally, law enforcement organizations often provide their staff members with various medical and mental health resources whenever they require them.

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         Salary of a detective or criminal investigator

This pay, however, can differ significantly based on the line of work, prerequisites, background, and region. Homicide detectives make an average yearly pay of $75,800 as of February 2022; the lowest 10 percent make less than $50,000, and the wealthiest 10 percent make more than $111,000 annually.

The median annual pay for fraud detectors and criminal investigators is approximately $64,100 (as of May 2022), with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $41,000 and the highest 10 percent earning almost $95,000.
Some law enforcement organizations also pay more detectives with college degrees or bilingualism. As for additional income, many law enforcement organizations offer generous benefits and the chance to retire sooner than usual.


Investigations are among the most rewarding and exciting occupations in criminology, but they are also among the most stressful. Detectives frequently respond to grisly scenes where they must address people who have suffered violent deaths or catastrophic injuries.
As long as you know the obligations involved, a career as a detective or criminal investigator can be lucrative. The good news is that job prospects are bright in criminal investigation, although it demands highly specialized training. Over the next ten years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 67,100 new law enforcement job vacancies for police and detectives. That number doesn’t even include jobs in the private sector. Despite its demanding nature, the field of criminal investigation will always be in demand, with both public and private sector organizations keen to hire fresh candidates each year.

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