great meter

Great

Our one-of-kind Opportunity Meter rates jobs based on salary, current openings and future demand to help you choose the career that is best for you.
/

What Does a Criminal Investigator Do?

Criminal investigators play an integral role in the justice system. They gather facts and collect evidence to help solve cases.

Criminal investigators may work for a city or county police department, the state, the FBI or another federal law enforcement agency. Their roles vary depending on federal, state or local laws. They may also be specialists, focusing on forensic science or a specific type of crime.

Some investigators track down information on computers, while others spend more time in the field. Criminal investigators use the information they gain through their daily work to prepare criminal complaints and testify in court.

Criminal investigative work often involves nights and weekends. This career is rewarding and satisfying, but it can also be stressful because of the situations investigators encounter at crime scenes. 

great meter

Great

Our one-of-kind Opportunity Meter rates jobs based on salary, current openings and future demand to help you choose the career that is best for you.
/
$ 41,000 - $ 139,000
$ 83,000
7,600+
A criminal investigator takes photos at a crime scene
To a criminal investigator, even the smallest piece of evidence matters. (Credit: Hajrudin Hodzic/Shutterstock)
A Day In the Life
Image
Donald Martin, criminal investigator ambassador, with former student Santiago
A Day In the Life

Donald Martin got into police work because an officer intervened in his life when he was a teen and challenged him to do better. 

He recognizes what a difference that intervention meant to him, so now he gives back in a different way — by teaching  criminal investigators and police officers. 

He's quick to say the job isn't much like what you see on TV — "kicking in doors, search warrants, high-speed chases" — it's more about getting the details right, says Donald.

Find out what else he has to say about being a criminal investigator.

Job Responsibilities
  • Collect evidence at crime scenes
  • Interview witnesses
  • Analyze evidence and do further research
  • Observe suspects
  • Write detailed case reports, and file and maintain records
  • Obtain warrants and participate in the arrest of suspects
  • Testify in court
Education + Training

Most criminal investigators and detectives earn an associate degree in criminal justice or law enforcement, and some earn a bachelor’s degree. Most graduate from a police training academy and work as police officers to gain law enforcement experience. A promotion is often required to become a criminal investigator.

There are many different age and training requirements for city, state and federal jobs.  Most require candidates to be 21 years old and a U.S. citizen with a valid driver’s license and no felony convictions.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Have strong critical thinking skills
  • Have good decision-making skills
  • Have empathy and the ability to understand the perspectives of many types of people
  • Are trustworthy and have high ethical standards

Criminal Investigator Training in Your Area

Coordinates

Criminal Justice Certificate

Neosho County Community College
Chanute (42.2 Miles)

Police Science, A.A.S.

Wichita State University Tech WSU Tech
Wichita (94.8 Miles)

Police Science Certificate

Wichita State University Tech WSU Tech
Wichita (94.8 Miles)

Forensic Science Certificate

NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville (99.2 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A.A.

Ozarks Technical Community College
Springfield (134.2 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A.A.

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

A.A.S. Criminal Justice - Police Science

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Police Science Certificate

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A.A.

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Kansas City (149.7 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A.A.

Metropolitan Community College (MO)
Independence (156.7 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A.A.

State Fair Community College
Sedalia (173.4 Miles)

Criminal Justice, A.A.S.

State Fair Community College
Sedalia (173.4 Miles)

Find Criminal Investigator Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Senior Service Agent

FedEx
Springdale ( 107.6 ) Miles
Posted 6 months 2 weeks ago

Senior Service Agent

FedEx
Springdale ( 107.6 ) Miles
Posted 6 months 3 weeks ago

Agent - Civil Rights Enforcement

State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City ( 145.6 ) Miles
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago

Special Agent I - II

State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City ( 145.6 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 2 weeks ago

Civil Rights Investigator 4248

State of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City ( 145.6 ) Miles
Posted 2 weeks 1 day ago

Senior Service Agent

FedEx Cross Border
Fort Smith ( 146.4 ) Miles
Posted 6 months ago

Senior Service Agent

FedEx
Fort Smith ( 146.4 ) Miles
Posted 6 months 1 week ago

Senior Service Agent

FedEx
Fort Smith ( 146.4 ) Miles
Posted 3 months 4 weeks ago