you will need to meet stringent requirements if you aspire to enter into this career. to begin with, applicants have to meet the basic eligibility criteria. they must be at least 21 years old, be u.s. citizens, and have a driver's license. educational requirements vary by employment industry. a high school diploma or a ged is often the minimum prerequisite. a higher education and training related to law enforcement and criminal justice is highly encouraged as college graduates in these areas have the desired knowledge of criminology, legal analysis, corrections, law enforcement, forensic science, forensic psychology, justice administration, and security.
the selection process is quite competitive. candidates must attain specific physical qualifications and successfully pass physical exams of hearing, vision, strength, and agility. previous military and work experience is highly preferred. applicants will have to take a series of interviews. they are also required to take written tests, pass a lie detector, and submit to drug tests. they could be disqualified if they have ever been convicted of felony. generally candidates start off their careers from the positions of police officer, and later are promoted to the position of detective. they will have to graduate from their agency's training academy before they can start work. they often specialize in one type of crime like fraud or homicide.
what do detectives do?
detectives are involved in investigating crimes and collecting related facts and evidence. they perform interviews with witnesses, conduct surveillance, observe the activities of suspects, and examine records. based on their findings, they will have to write detailed reports and fill out required forms for an investigation. when cases go to court, detectives may be called upon to testify. they also have the authority to participate in raids and arrest suspects.
what is the employment outlook?
according to the us bureau of labor statistics, the employment of detectives is expected to grow slower than the average of all occupations, and is estimated to grow around 7 percent from 2010 to 2020. the work environment of detectives is often physically challenging and stressful. it is also dangerous as they have a rate of injuries and illness that is higher than the national average. the median annual wages for this occupation was $68,820 in may 2010. detectives are hired by federal, state, and local agencies. employment prospects improve considerably if you have knowledge of a foreign language.
many schools offer online programs in disciplines that are of interest to prospective detectives. online programs allow students to set up flexible schedules to take classes and complete coursework. it is often difficult for students who have a career or family responsibilities to attend on-campus courses if they are not offered in nearby areas. with online learning, you do not have to compromise on the quality of education. you are given 24-hour access to the online resources. you are able to read and review lectures at your own pace. this advantage motivates law enforcement officials to take on supplementary courses to gain more knowledge. continuing education and building up resumes often pays off as these law enforcement officials have a better chance for opportunities like promotions and inter-agency transfers.