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Do you get satisfaction from putting together a difficult puzzle? You might get the same feeling from solving a complex case.

Whether you're considering a career as an investigator or just curious about the job, this is the Byte for you!

Who are detectives?

They usually work in law enforcement bodies from the local level to the federal level.

They are also known as...

  • Investigators

  • Police Detectives

  • Private Investigators ("PI")

Detectives can focus on different specializations such as...

  • Homicide

  • Special Victims Crime

  • Cyber Crime

  • Financial Crime

  • Gang-related Crime

  • Robbery

  • Undercover Investigation

Where Can You Get Work As A Detective?

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Police Force

  • Start work as a police officer, then pass an exam to earn a promotion as a detective.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine officers arresting a suspect and shaking hands

Private Company

  • Become a PI for a private company that specializes in investigation work.

  • PI's can help gather evidence of spousal infidelity, find missing people, and expose insurance fraud.

  • Provide bodyguard services and perform background checks

    Sherlock Holmes making a realization

The Day To Day Work

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Solving case can take a few hours to many years and is usually spent analyzing documents, photographs, and files. They may also:

  • Conduct interviews with witnesses or suspects; examine records

  • Collect and document evidence

  • Write and edit reports

  • Observe the activity of subjects

  • Secure crime scenes

  • Get arrest warrants

  • Participate in the apprehension of criminals

You may think the job is this...

Detective looking at a wall of suspects

But it's probably a lot of this...

One of the Incredibles typing on a computer

The work may feel tedious, but the job can be rewarding because you are solving crimes and bringing resolution to victims!

The Average Pay In The United States And Canada

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  • 🇺🇸 $86,030 in the United States  

  • 🇨🇦 $63,500 in Canada

Qualifications?

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  • Take the police detective test required in your area — many PI's are also former police officers

  • Get a PI license — this will depend on the local credentialing requirements

  • Degree in criminal justice, criminology, sociology, or a related discipline — while not required, it may assist in higher salary or career development

Are You The Right Fit?

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What would make someone love it?

  • You're curious. You always ask why something happened. This is helpful in identifying the motive of the crime.

  • You're patient and you don't mind tedious work. The job requires a lot of reading/analyzing information and filing detailed reports.

  • You can act quickly. You may encounter a situation where someone's life is at risk.

What would make someone hate the role?

  • You like clear "right" and "wrong" answers. Some investigations won't ever be concluded due to a lack of evidence.

  • You don't enjoy talking to others. Detectives may conduct interviewing witnesses, victims, and potential criminals, to gather information.

Take Action

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Does it sound like you want to be a detective?

YES!! You can gather more info by...

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This Byte has been authored by

YK

Yuka Kubota

Research Manager