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The Career Path of a Police Detective

written by: vrodbaz•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 9/20/2010

The career path of a police detective is simplified when you have educational and career goals in mind. Follow these helpful steps to find the right path towards academic and career achievement.

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    Why Become a Police Detective?

    Do you enjoy solving riddles? Are you always in search of answers that many people do not know the answers to? Do you like solving mysteries? Do you enjoy living on the edge? If you answered yes, to at least one of these questions, you might be interested in learning what you can do to pursue a career path of a police detective.

    When you are interested in pursuing a career as a police detective, the first thing you will want to do is find out what you need to do to make your vision a reality. Since you already have a general interest in pursuing this particular career, you have found your passion, which is one of the most important elements of enjoying your job. The next step is to follow the steps necessary to put you on the right path towards achieving your dream career.

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    Steps You Should Take to Prepare You for a Career as a Police Detective

    Once you graduate from high school, you should think about enrolling in college. Take a variety of courses, such as logical thinking, criminal behavioral and tech courses. According to the fact sheet on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, “Courses in criminal justice and police science are helpful to aspiring detectives and investigators." These courses will help you gain the fundamental skills needed to become a well-trained investigator.

    While you are in college attending classes, you may want to think about volunteering at a variety of different criminal justice organizations. Not only does this help you to develop important people skills while working with a variety of people, but you can also learn valuable skills from trained veterans in the field.

    You can even begin working in loss prevention at a retail store. This will help you obtain a better understanding of what this type of career entails. Each retailer has their own educational and professional requirements, so you will want to check and see what these qualifications are and pursue these endeavors.

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    What Field of Investigation Interests You?

    Since there are many different fields of investigation, you will also want to determine what field you are interested in pursuing. Are you interested in forensic investigation, financial investigation, legal investigation, etc? Once you know which field you are interested in pursuing, you will want to find college programs specifically designed to give you the knowledge, skills and education needed to prepare you for this very intense career.

    You should also keep in mind that working as a police detective has its advantages and its downsides. According to the factsheet on "Police and Detectives," accessed from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, police and detective work is not only very stressful at times, but can also be very dangerous. You will have to deal with criminals who break the law. You will also find yourself in a variety of threatening situations. Police and detectives also suffer the highest rate of on the job injury and illness. You have to think to yourself, are you willing to put your life on the line?

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    Accreditation, Attendance and Cost of Becoming a Police Investigator

    Make sure the United States Department of Education has accredited the college you are attending. You can find accredited degree programs throughout the United States by typing in the degree and finding a reputable school that will meet your needs as well as the educational requirements needed by the DOE.

    Usually courses can be taken throughout the day; however, it depends on what college you attend. If you are attending school full-time, you can complete your undergraduate Bachelor’s degree in about two-years. If you attend part time, it will take you twice as long.

    The cost of an undergraduate degree to become an investigator varies across the United States. It also depends on what college you attend. On average, the cost of an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice is between $6,000 and $30,000.

    In order to make sure you are following the right career path, keep track of your progress and make it a well-trained habit to make sure you are accomplishing your goals in a timely manner. By following these helpful tips, you will be taking the right career path of a police detective.

    Sources

    http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos157.htm#training

    http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html

    http://education-portal.com/articles/Top_Schools_for_Criminal_Justice,_Law_Enforcement,_and_Corrections_Programs.html