dcsimg



Schools in the USA
Back to Career Search     

Police Investigator


Description

There are few careers out there that sound as intriguing, exciting, and dangerous as that of detective, or police investigator. Of all the movies and television shows that get made about the police, most of them deal with the investigators, those police officers who track down murderers, thieves, drug and prostitution rings and other offenders. They usually work in a detective department, like the sexual assault squad or the cold case squad, interviewing witnesses and suspects. Some police detectives, called forensic identification specialists, work behind the scenes in laboratories, using chemicals and dyes and tests to try and figure out how and a crime was committed using evidence found at the scene.

Investigators can provide information to other officers and prosecutors regarding firearms dealing, immigration enforcement, Internet abuse, fraud, missing persons investigations, as well as do undercover work to track information, evidence, and criminals.

Quite a lot of time is spent in the police precinct, completing paperwork. Police officers need to document each action they take in a criminal investigation, or any routine outreach they are involved in. This is important because other officers may deal with the same situation later, and want to know what action was taken previously. In a criminal investigation, detectives, lawyers, and judges will need to know details for court proceedings, and a police officer may be required to testify months or even years later - therefore, accurate notes are crucial.

Usually, investigators work in two-person investigative teams. Depending on their unit or division, they will travel the communities, answering calls from regular officers who have come across mysterious crime scenes, or following up tips and complaints made by citizens. Investigators work with other police, lawyers, and the government in order to protect all citizens and get justice for others.
 
View Schools for this Career: 
         Related Careers
arrow Air Weapons Control Officer
arrow Ambassador
arrow Artillery Officer
arrow [ view all related careers ]



Program Spotlight
Matching School Ad
Ashford University
You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.
Programs Offered:
  • BA/Law Enforcement Administration
  • MS/Criminal Justice - Forensic Science
  • BA/Social and Criminal Justice - Criminal Investigations
  • And more...

 

 



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
$31,010
 
Median Salary:
$51,410
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
$80,380

  Interests and Skills  
Interested in a job in law enforcement? These individuals must be keen observers who notice details, good communicators who are able to speak with and listen to children, panicked victims, and suspects. They must be calm, and able to ask questions without frightening or alienating the person they are interviewing. A good understanding of the law and a desire to see justice done properly are important qualities. They should be interested in problem-solving, conflict resolution, and negotiation and have an interest in working with the community to stop criminal cycles. Honesty, maturity, integrity, and a non-sexist, culturally open attitude are tremendous assets to a successful police officer. Computer skills are also required.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Lead, conduct, or support investigations
  • Look into mysterious deaths and disappearances
  • Investigate organizations involved in the trafficking and importation of drugs
  • Monitor the activities of high-risk parolees and career criminals
  • Investigate illegal gambling, theft and other illegal activities
  • Analyze evidence
  • Support other law enforcement agencies in planning and conducting specialized investigations
  • Keep reports of all activities
  • An investigator will not spend every day looking at dead bodies and tracking organized crime bosses. More likely, the day will be spent in the police department, researching past cases, documenting recent events, and meeting with other investigators. When crimes and suspects are under investigation investigators will be traveling throughout the city, following up tips or ideas, tracking down witnesses and informants.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Police investigators are employed by police forces. Those working in smaller towns may act as both a regular officer and as an investigator.

  Long Term Career Potential  
As a trained police officer, a police investigator can always stay with the force, moving up the ranks to supervisory roles within the department. There is also the possibility or joining another type of police or investigation unit, like forensics or highway police. And then there is always the possibility of leaving the field altogether and becoming a consultant for movies and TV, a private investigator, or a security consultant.
 

  Educational Paths  
Police investigators must first become regular officers. To do this, one must apply to a police force. While it is not required, some level of postsecondary education may enhance an applicant's chances of gaining employment with a police force. Aspiring police investigators may choose to attend a community college to obtain diploma in law enforcement or police foundations, or may decide to obtain university degree.

The length of the training program to become an officer will vary depending according to the type of police force.

Once employed with a police force, officers can be promoted to an investigative position after gaining experience.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

Featured Schools

Matching School Ads
Ashford University
You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.
Programs Offered:
  • BA/Law Enforcement Administration
  • MS/Criminal Justice - Forensic Science
  • BA/Social and Criminal Justice - Criminal Investigations
  • And more...

 
New England College

Discover the Difference a Community of Support Makes in Your Educational Journey. From Application to Graduation, the Support You Need to Achieve Your Goals. 100% Online.

Programs Offered:
  • BA in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement
  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • AA in Criminal Justice
  • And more...

 
American InterContinental University Online

You’re serious about success. With your busy schedule and the desire to move your career forward, you can earn an accredited associate, bachelors or master’s degree at a pace that works for you anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

At AIU, the Serious U, you can get started to get ahead.

Programs Offered:
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Law Enforcement
  • Bachelor's (BSCJ) - Generalist

 
Saint Joseph's University

Founded by the Society of Jesus in 1851, Saint Joseph's University (SJU) has been developing the minds and abilities of men and women in a challenging academic environment steeped in the enriching Jesuit tradition of cura personalis (care of the entire person).

Programs Offered:
  • MS in Criminal - Federal Law Enforcement Concentration
  • MS in Criminal Justice - Criminal Justice
  • MS in Criminal Justice - Behavior Analysis Concentration

 
Post University Online

At Post University, we believe you shouldn’t have to put your life on hold to further your education.

Programs Offered:
  • B.S. in Criminal Justice
  • A.S. in Criminal Justice
  • B.S. in Human Services / Criminal Justice

 
Argosy University

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice (BS) (Online)

 
University of Cincinnati Online
Work toward your degree online with University of Cincinnati Online.
Programs Offered:
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice

 
Brightwood College

About Brightwood College

Brightwood College offers accelerated programs that combine flexible schedules and professional instruction to create a rewarding learning experience for individuals focused on gaining the skills for specific careers. Brightwood College is owned and operated by Education Corporation of America.

Programs Offered:
  • Criminal Justice

 
Keiser University Graduate School

For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Programs Offered:
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

 
Florida Tech

See What’s Possible When You Earn a Degree at Florida Tech 100% Online

Programs Offered:
  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice

 
Matching School Ads
  Universities and Colleges
Clarkson UniversityColorado School of MinesDalhousie University
Oral Roberts UniversityPenn State HarrisburgTemple University
The University of HoustonThompson Rivers UniversityUNB Saint John
University of AlabamaUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of British Columbia
University of IowaUniversity of New BrunswickUniversity of Oregon
University of OttawaYork University
Agriculture and Bio-resources | Allied Health and Health Sciences | Applied Business Technology | Architecture
Business Administration | Computer Science | Cosmetology and Esthetics | Culinary, Travel &Hospitality | Dance 
Engineering Technology & Applied Technology |Engineering | Film | Fine Arts and Design | Humanities and Liberal ArtsJustice and Security
Music
| Natural and Applied Sciences | Naturopathic and Holistic MedicineNursingPublic Administration & PolicyReligious and Theological Studies
Sport Sciences and Physical Education | Teacher Education | Theatre
Articles | College News | Videos | Feedback | Career Search
Home | About Us | Contact Us | Faq | Terms of Use | Policy Statement | Site Map | Cities Site Map

Copyright 2003- 2016 QuinStreet, Inc. All Rights Reserved.