How To Land Your Dream Job As Criminal Investigator

Have you always wanted to be a criminal investigator? The field is full of interesting things, from crime scenes to police stations. 

If you’re interested in becoming a professional detective, this job can be extremely rewarding as well as exciting and challenging. In order to land your dream job as a criminal investigator, however, there are some steps that you need to take.

Understanding the steps to become a criminal investigator
Developing relevant skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving
Pursuing a degree in criminal justice or a related field
Gaining practical experience through internships or entry-level positions
Researching job prospects and competition in the field
Exploring opportunities for advancement and specialization
Networking with professionals in the criminal justice industry
Staying updated on current trends and technologies in criminal investigation
Preparing for rigorous background checks and physical fitness requirements
Seeking guidance from mentors or professionals in the field

1. Get A Degree In Criminal Justice Or Similar Discipline

As you may know, a criminal justice degree is a good start but it’s not the only option. If you’re willing to put in some extra effort, there are other options that might be better suited to your specific interests and experiences.

An associate’s degree (or certificate) in forensic science will give you an excellent foundation for further study and careers as a crime scene investigator, medical examiner or crime scene reconstructionist. 

A bachelor’s degree in forensic science can also provide a solid foundation for many other jobs including private investigator, security guard and more.

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2. Consider Specializing Your Degree Even Further

There are a number of specializations that you can choose from, including:

Cybercrime investigation. This is a growing field as technology continues to evolve and become more complex. A cybercrime investigator will work with devices such as computers and smartphones to gather evidence in investigations related to cybercrimes.

Forensic accounting. Financial fraud is serious business, so an accountant who specializes in forensic accounting can help determine whether or not there has been financial misconduct at a company or organization. 

They may also help recover money lost due to mismanagement or embezzlement by another party within an organization like this one!

Fraud investigation and prevention specialist (FIP). These professionals often work for financial institutions like banks or credit unions.

Where they investigate suspicious activity involving money transfers between clients’ accounts before reporting their findings back up through management channels.”

3. Get A Graduate Degree

A graduate degree is a great way to show that you’re committed to the field, as well as giving you an edge when it comes time to look for employment. 

Criminal investigators typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or forensic science, though a master’s degree will be helpful if you want to work in a higher-level position, such as working in law enforcement or investigating environmental crimes.

Getting your master’s can also help open doors for job opportunities that may not be available otherwise because of your lack of experience. If you’re looking for work outside of your current city, doing so with a master’s degree could make all the difference!

4. Take Advantage Of Undergraduate Internship Programs

Take advantage of undergraduate internship programs. Internships can help you learn more about the field, find out if it’s a good fit for you, and even get a foot in the door with an employer. 

They’ll also build your resume, network and overall experience. Plus, many employers prefer to hire interns who have already proven themselves to be hard workers (and students).

If you’re not sure where to look for internships as a criminal investigator, here are some suggestions:

  • Ask your professors if they know anyone who could use extra help at work or if they might be able to put in a good word with someone they know
  • Search job boards like Indeed or Monster
  • Go through company websites directly

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5. Avoid Any Criminal Record

As a criminal investigator, your job is to detect crime. That means you must have no record of committing it yourself. To be an effective detective, you should have no criminal history no misdemeanor or felony charges on your record, and certainly not any convictions. 

This doesn’t mean that if you were arrested in college for underage drinking or shoplifting (or even if you were convicted), then years later when applying for a job as an investigator they won’t ask about it. 

It just means that they won’t automatically disqualify you because of something so minor in the past.

A criminal background will not necessarily prevent someone from becoming an investigator; it just depends on what kind of investigation they want to pursue. 

For example, if someone wants to get into insurance fraud investigation or embezzlement detection as their specialty area within this field (and there are many different specialties).

Having prior experience as someone who has committed these types of crimes could actually prove beneficial for them because they would know how criminals think and act when trying to get away with something illegal!

6. Be Prepared For Psychological Testing

The interview is the final step in the hiring process, but it’s not the only one. The background check, drug test and physical test are also important parts of the application process.

Here’s a rundown on what you can expect from each:

Psychological Testing

As part of your application process, you may be required to take a psychological test to assess your cognitive abilities and personality traits. 

These tests are designed to determine whether or not you’ll be able to handle some of the challenges associated with being an investigator (and life in general). 

They include questions like “I feel that I am very effective at my job” and “I enjoy working alone.” Your answers will provide insight into how well suited you are for this position. 

You should prepare by reflecting on what motivates and inspires you during times when things get tough at work – these kinds of questions allow employers get an idea of who they’re dealing with before they even meet them face-to-face!

7. Get Experience In The Field If Possible

Now that you’re on your way to becoming a criminal investigator, it is important to get as much experience in the field as possible. You should make sure that any experience you do get is relevant and useful. 

If you can get an internship or volunteer position with a law enforcement agency, that would be ideal! It will help you get a real feel for what it’s like being an investigator while also making yourself more competitive when applying for full-time positions later on.

If internships aren’t possible right now (maybe because they’re not offered at your school), don’t worry there are plenty of other ways to gain experience:

Volunteer at local non-profits or organizations related to law enforcement work or criminal justice policymaking. Apply for summer jobs with security firms. Get involved with community outreach initiatives (like neighborhood watch groups).

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8. Stay Informed Of Current Trends In The Field Of Criminal Investigations

As a criminal investigator, you should make it a point to stay informed of current trends in the field of criminal investigations. This means knowing about new technologies, new laws and regulations, new trends in the field and so on.

Here are some examples of what you should be aware of:

  • New studies and research findings that show how criminals can be caught using certain methods.
  • New findings regarding forensic evidence (fingerprints, DNA samples) that could help prove someone’s innocence or guilt.

Changes in law enforcement agencies like when they decide to use satellite imagery instead of ground surveillance teams for investigations due to budget constraints or other reasons such as safety concerns for officers involved in dangerous operations like raids at drug dens etcetera).

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9. Develop Good Questions To Ask During An Interview

As you learn more about the company and the job, you will have the opportunity to ask questions. Here are some that you may want to consider:

  • What is the culture like?
  • What training and development opportunities are offered?
  • What benefits and perks are included in this position?
  • What goals does this company have for itself (or its employees)?
  • Does it offer a good work-life balance for its employees?
  • How does this position fit into your career path with this organization?

10. Seek Out Criminal Investigation Positions Through Job Listing Services

Job listing services are a great way to find out about potential criminal investigator positions. These services are usually provided by local colleges, police departments and government offices. 

You can also inquire with your local government if they have a job listing service specifically for their employees.

Seek Out Criminal Investigation Positions Through Job Listing Services

You may be able to find open criminal investigator positions through job listing services offered by your local college, police department or government office. 

Talk to your professors about available opportunities in their field of study as well as any other options that could lead you toward the career path you want for yourself as an investigator.

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Hopefully, by now you have a good idea of how to land your dream job as a criminal investigator. Whether you’re looking for an entry-level position or something more advanced, there are many options available. 

The first and most important step is to get yourself prepared for the application process by getting certified in one of the areas mentioned above or by taking some classes at your local community college. 

Once you have those skills under your belt, it will be easier for employers to see that you have what it takes to succeed at their company!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources that you may find helpful in your pursuit of a dream job as a criminal investigator:

My Dream Job: To Become a Crime Investigator: This essay discusses the author’s aspirations to become a crime investigator and provides insights into their career goals and motivations.

My Dream Career of a Criminal Investigator: In this essay, the author shares their personal journey and dream of pursuing a career as a criminal investigator, highlighting the qualities and skills required for success in this field.

How to Become a Criminal Investigator: Forbes provides a comprehensive guide on the steps and considerations involved in becoming a criminal investigator, including education, skills, and job prospects in the field.


What qualifications do I need to become a criminal investigator?

To become a criminal investigator, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Some agencies may require additional qualifications or specialized training.

What skills are important for a career in criminal investigation?

Key skills for a career in criminal investigation include critical thinking, attention to detail, problem-solving, analytical skills, communication skills, and the ability to work well under pressure.

How do I gain practical experience as a criminal investigator?

Gaining practical experience can be accomplished through internships, volunteering, or entry-level positions in law enforcement agencies or related fields. Additionally, participating in crime scene simulations and research projects can provide valuable hands-on experience.

What are the job prospects for criminal investigators?

Job prospects for criminal investigators can vary depending on factors such as location and agency. Generally, there is expected to be strong competition for positions in this field, and candidates with higher education and relevant experience may have an advantage.

Are there opportunities for advancement in a career as a criminal investigator?

Yes, there are opportunities for advancement in a career as a criminal investigator. With experience and a demonstrated track record, individuals may progress to higher-ranking positions, such as supervisory roles or specialized investigative units.