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What degree do I need to be a detective?

A police detective is involved in investigating and solving any number of crimes. From simple burglary to homicide to computer crime, a detective will work on a great number of cases during their careers. This is a job that entails a great deal of flexibility and willingness to learn.

Steps To Becoming a Police Detective

Most police detectives start out as regular law enforcement officers and earn their badges through good police work. To succeed in this route a prospective detective must first become an officer. This means that you must research your chosen area.

Each police department often has its own guidelines for hiring. Most require, at minimum, a high school degree to become an officer. To eventually become a detective, you may want to have an associates or bachelors degree in criminal justice or a related field. You must also be able to pass a physical test. Police Academy training will last around a year before you are on the streets. Once you are an officer, perform well. You will make detective when you are ready.

The Educational Route

In some specialized fields of investigation, a detective is created freshly out of school. Degrees in forensics, blood splatter technology and other technical fields require more education before entering the field as an officer of the law. These positions can be quite competitive. A good education is key. Even with a great educational background, an applicant must be willing to work their way up the ranks to reach detective.

Skills and Education

Generally, a detective will need to have an associates or bachelors degree from an accredited college in a relevant field. This means an education in criminal justice, civics, law or a similar field. But a detective will need more than just a good education. They must possess or learn a number of skills. They will need great written and oral communication skills. They must have an eye for detail under pressure. They will need to be able to prioritize while possessing great critical thinking skills. They must be personable and able to work with witnesses and victims. They should also be willing to continually learn new skills as investigation techniques are continually evolving.


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