How Many Years Does It Take To Be A Detective ? Detailed Answer By CJ

Criminal Justice Career Guides

How Many Years Does It Take To Be A Detective ?

The term detective and investigator have been used interchangeably. The detectors are usually employed by federal, state or local law enforcement agencies. The job of a detective is very different in nature as compared to other jobs of criminal justice. The detectives are often called on the crime scenes to examine the crime scene and collect useful evidence from it.

Apart from this, a detective has to keep an eye on the suspects and monitor their activities in order to collect information about them. In other terms, surveillance of a person is the duty of a detective. Being a detective, you would also be called for interviewing the suspects, conducting raids and examine records involved in a particular case.

Although this profession has higher risks of injury and encounter with the criminals, the reward for serving the society for serving to eliminate the crime from it is higher. The detectives are expected to work in full shift with paid overtimes. The weekends of the detectives are also sometimes occupied, especially if you are on lower ranks or you have just joined a law enforcement agency.

Have you ever been in a situation where you are thinking very differently from your friends by being more suspicious about any incident? Or have you fantasized of becoming those detective characters that you had seen in the serials? If that is the case, the job of a detective is ideal for you as you have to the ability to think out of the box in most of the situations.

What Does It Take To Become A Detective?

We all know that everything requires passion, and same is the case with becoming a detective, the first thing you need to have is passion. The obsession of becoming a detective will lead you to the right educational school and degree from where you will learn about various theoretical concepts. Once you have those concepts, you are eligible for becoming a detective.

So, the most basic requirement for becoming a detective is to have a high school diploma. Well, the educational qualification depends on the position for which you aim and the law enforcement agency in which you get the job. If you have relevant experience in the field of criminal justice, that would be a huge plus point because most employers are looking for individuals who have some type of experience in the field.

The second thing that is taken to become a detective is sound physical health. Being a detective, you will encounter many situations where you need to have sound physical health for handling the criminals. Therefore, if you are in college and you are planning to become a detective, you can think of joining your nearest gym and start 2-3 days of training per week.


Other skills that you will need for becoming a detective are:

· Leadership skills

· Verbal and written communication skills

· Multi-tasking

· Basic skills of computer

· Experience of using various software’s such as crime management systems

· Experience of handling equipment and techniques used for surveillance.

Steps To Becoming A Detective

If you have made your mind to become a detective, you must know the right steps which will lead you towards your destination. There are four steps to becoming a detective.

  • Earn a college degree

The path that leads you to become a detective is through the police. The highly competitive employees of police departments are being given the duty of detective. A high school diploma or a college degree would be sufficient to become a detective. However, associate and bachelors’ degree program in law enforcement or criminal justice will increase your chances of joining the higher ranks.

If you are planning to become a detective in the urban centers where one can find foreigners here and there, you are highly advised to get your hands on a foreign language. Foreigners are always being doubted by the governments and law enforcement agencies for espionage, therefore, to ensure that they are not harmful to the state, the law enforcement agencies are in constant search of people who firm grip on any of the foreign language.

So, if you have this skill, congratulations, your chances of employment are higher, and if you don’t have it, there’s nothing to worry about, you still have the penalty of time for learning this handy skill.

The detectives are being recruited from the police departments, and they are fulfilling all the training requirements of the police department. To be hired in the police department, an individual must be at least 21 years and pass the background check and polygraph screening.

After these tests, the individuals have to pass the medical examination and drug test, and they are selected for the training program of the police. The training requirements are different for each police department, but usually, the training is focused on building the academic concepts and physical fitness of the trainees.

As far as the academics are concerned, the trainees are being taught about the theoretical concepts which they will be using throughout their service. On the other hand, physical training emphasizes on building the muscles capabilities of the trainees so that they endure themselves and use their muscles whenever it is necessary.

  • Develop skills and fitness

The most useful skill for a detective is the ability to pay attention to every single detail. Being a detective, you will come across many occasions where you will be required to analyze a crime scene with minor details. This demands the detective to have keen observational skills and the ability to pay attention to every single detail.

Secondly, physical health is a must for every detective because of the unpredictability of the nature of the job. For example, while doing surveillance, you might come across a situation where you will have to use force for your survival. Therefore, sound physical health is a must for every detective. If you are planning to become a detective, you are advised to start working on your physical health.

  • Build work experience

Usually, the officers and soldiers from the police department are being taken as detectives; therefore, the aspiring candidate must show his interest in becoming a detective and communicate it with the senior police officers.

Usually, an experience of three years in the police department is required to become a detective. The deployment of a person as a detective depends upon his career history, scores in evaluation exams and his/her performance as a police officer.

How to Become A Private Investigator Salary Career 2020 FULL GUIDE


What Kind Of Training Is Required To Become A Detective?

To become a detective, you need to have the right experience and training. The promotional ladder in the police department is defined, and every police officer will be promoted after fulfilling the requirements.

The police officers are first promoted within their departments for up to three years. Once they gained the experience, they will go through the written examination before they can become detectives.

After being selected for the job of detective you will be going through detectives training program during which you will learn the surveillance techniques, the methods of interrogation and standard operating procedures to work with informants.

How Many Years Does It Take To Be A Detective

The aspiring individuals will first have to join a police department from which they will be transferred and become detectives. So, the path to becoming a detective is through any of the police departments.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Police Detective

Typically it takes six months or a year of training to join the police department. Once you have joined the police department and attended the training program, you will have to serve in the department for three to five years so that you can gain the experience. 

After getting the experience of the police department, you can become a detective and do the job assigned to you.

To make it more understandable for you, we have discussed these steps in the detail.

How many years of college to be a detective

·         Education of 2-4 years: For getting into the police department, you will need to have at least a high school, an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree. The police department is most likely to hire a literate person rather than an illiterate one.

·          Get hired as an officer: Once you have the educational degree, you need to apply for the announced jobs in a police department. This will take around two to three months, and then your tests will begin (physical examination, medical examination, background check, etc.). This might take up to 4 months. After these procedural steps, you will join the training academy, which might take up to 12 months.

·         Gain experience as a police officer ( 3-5 years): once you get into the position of the police officer, you must serve for at least three years in your respective police department to gain the experience. After getting the relevant experience, you will apply for becoming a detective.

How Much Do Detectives Make?

The figures given by the bureau of labor statistics show that the police detectives are making much more than the private detectives. We shall discuss the salaries of private detectives first, and then we will discuss the salaries of police detectives.

Salaries Of Private Detectives

· 10th percentiles of the private detectives have $29,130 average yearly salaries

· 25th percentiles of the private detectives have $ 37,060 average yearly salaries

· 50th percentiles of the detectives have $50,090 average yearly salaries

· 75th percentiles of the private detectives have  $68,400 average yearly salaries

· 90th percentiles of the private detectives have $89,200 average yearly salaries.

Salaries Of The Police Detective

· 10th percentiles of the police detective have $43,800 average yearly salaries.

· 25th percentiles of the police detective have $,57,560 average yearly salaries

· 50th percentiles of the police detectives have $ 81,920  average yearly salaries

· 75th percentiles of the police detectives have $ 107,000 average yearly salaries

· 25th percentiles of the private detective have $ 37,060 average yearly salaries

· 90th percentile of the police detective has $ 138,860 average yearly salaries

Private Detective – Investigator Salaries By State – How Much Does A Private Investigator Make

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