Criminal Investigator Jobs
Are you thinking of pursuing a new career as a criminal investigator? Perhaps you already have a private investigator job but want to specialize in crime investigations. Well, for whatever reason, read on to learn more about criminal investigator jobs, the job description, and the requirements of becoming one. We will also go over the training programs and of course what salary you can expect to get paid.
We also have a criminal investigator jobs board laden with some of the best jobs for those seeking a new career path in criminal investigations. You can search for many employment opportunities working in the exciting field of crime, including entry level jobs. So, if you are a serious job seeker and want to become a CI and start a successful criminal investigator career, keep reading.
Criminal Investigator Jobs Search Board
Criminal Investigator Job Description
What is criminal investigation? Criminal investigation is a type of applied science that revolves around the assessment of facts used to initiate criminal trials. It involves data and evidence gathering, interrogations, preservation of acquired criminal evidence, and other forms of investigation.
A criminal investigator’s job is to evaluate crimes and other criminal events for official and legal purposes, working under public agencies or within private companies. For public agencies, criminal investigators usually work under local or State Law Enforcement, the Treasury Department, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Department of Defense, and the FBI. For criminal investigators working in the private sector, they work with private clients to conduct criminal investigations. The gathered results are then used to initiate criminal proceedings in court against any perpetrators.
Since criminal investigation is a collaborative process, criminal investigators generally work with other professionals to evaluate and build cases. For detailed examinations, forensic experts and mortuary staff can be summoned. For wider investigations, criminal investigators can work with police officers, lawyers and other court officials if court trials are needed.
Criminal investigators assist their clients in proving or disproving any allegations put forward by an opposing party. This is done by observations, gathering records, pursuing leads, and preserving all related information. A criminal investigator’s job is to compile and analyze collected evidence for their client that can be put to the courts.
What Does a Criminal Investigator Job Involve?
The criminal investigator job description includes examining criminal records, writing court testimonies based on gathered evidence, and investigating felony crimes. Depending on the case, they can also assist in preparing evidence for future trials.
Typically, a criminal investigator focuses on solving criminal cases backed up with sufficient evidence and leads. A criminal investigator’s job covers a wide variety of crimes ranging from violence-induced crimes like homicide to white-collar crimes such as tax evasion.
Aside from being investigators their job description also involves being called upon to serve as witnesses or represent victims of crime, and even assist people accused of crimes. However, the latter function is usually only applicable in cases when working for law firms in criminal trials as a criminal defense investigator.
What is a Typical Day in The Job of a Criminal Investigator?
A criminal investigator typically juggles office and field work on a day-to-day basis. Below is a detailed description of the daily, weekly, and monthly tasks of a criminal investigator:
Daily Tasks of a CI
Simply put, the daily tasks of a criminal investigator can be grouped into three main processes: observing, recording, evaluating.
- Observing: The observing process is where a criminal investigator’s job is to examine existing records and personally supervise the investigation, to include surveillance tasks if required. They may also conduct interrogations and interviews on any suspected subjects as well as anyone related to the criminal case.
- Recording: If any data inconsistency and unusual behavior are observed, they are compiled into a single report that explains the investigation’s findings in detail.
- Evaluating: For the last phase, the criminal investigator identifies any case issue and additional evidence needed, by analyzing law violations and filed allegations.
Weekly and Monthly Tasks of a CI
For long-term tasks, criminal investigators work and collaborate with other agencies and offices on related activities and to exchange intelligence. At this point, they investigate larger criminal cases like organized crime, financial crime, civil crimes, corruption, copyright infringement, and other violations of existing statutes.
Criminal investigators can also acquire and utilize search and arrest warrants. Collection of physical records like fingerprints, body measurements, and photographs are also completed as part of their job.
After gathering all the necessary data, the job of the criminal investigator is to prepare written accounts, sketches and diagrams, pointing out when and where the evidences were found. After completing the documentation, it will be submitted to the responsible law enforcement agency. At any instance, criminal investigators may be requested to testify for a case.
What Are The Working Hours of a Criminal Investigator?
A criminal investigator typically works for eight hours from Monday to Friday. However, since crime can happen anytime, he/she might report beyond working hours. For this reason a criminal investigator must have a close contact with the company he/she is working with for a faster response during such short notice.
For a criminal investigator starting on a new case, expect to work for longer hours since this is where data collection and field work are highly critical. In such instances, a criminal investigator might work for more than 20 hours depending on the nature of the criminal case.
What Are The Working Conditions of a Criminal Investigator Like?
A career in criminal investigation is not for the faint-hearted. At any given time, a criminal investigator may be asked to report to inhumane crime scenes and interrogate victims of serious crimes. Although the career itself looks thrilling, its work conditions and environment can be quite stressful to handle.
Who Does a Criminal Investigator Work For?
There are two types of clients that a criminal investigator works for; they either work for the victim of a crime or the person accused of a crime. A criminal investigator can work for a third-party looking into a criminal act but fundamentally they work for the victim or the accused.
- Criminals Alleged of Criminal Offense
In some cases criminal investigator’s work represents individuals accused of criminal charges – criminal defense work. They start off by identifying witnesses and gathering their statements. They will also visit the crime scene in hopes of finding other evidence that can prove their client’s case and disprove the prosecutor’s or opposing side’s case. They are also allowed to represent in court on behalf of their client.
- Victims of Crime
Criminal investigators can also work for the victims. In this case, criminal investigators must collect information that will lead to pressing criminal charges against the suspect(s).
What Skills Must a Criminal Investigator Have?
- People Skills
As with most investigator jobs people skills are important, but criminal investigators need exceptional people skills due to the nature of the work and close contact with others – often hostile or emotional people. They are also expected to work within a group (team) and must work closely with other law enforcement professionals, like police officers, forensic technicians, detectives, etc.Although criminal investigators are seen as stiff and serious, they must possess compassion and sympathy for their troubled clients. Since there are instances where they might interrogate grieving families and unstable clients, criminal investigators must have excellent people skills.
- Communication Skills
Since criminal investigators must communicate with people to gather primary evidence, they must be able to express their thoughts with clarity, knowledge, and confidence. Communication skills might take a while to practice but investing in this skill will better promote you in becoming a more competent criminal investigator and landing a better criminal investigator job.
Criminal investigators must be comfortable in taking over a scene and assigning tasks to other allied professions.
Letting emotions take over during an interrogation might do more harm than good. Remember that while it is your job to listen to these people, you must assess them in a logical way of thinking.
Criminal Investigator Job Requirements
What are the job requirements needed to qualify as a criminal investigator? Here is a step-by-step guide in obtaining the requirements and education for becoming a criminal investigator:
- Age Requirement
Check the age requirement for criminal investigators in your state. In most states, their minimum age requirement is 18 years old.
- Education Requirements: Certification and Formal Training
In most law enforcement agencies, education and field experience are required to work as a criminal investigator. Although applicants who worked as law enforcement officers have an advantage, some agencies accept applicants with High School diplomas. However, agencies with strict recruitment processes might require a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree before considering an applicant for a position.
If you’re planning on pursuing tertiary education as preparation for your career as a criminal investigator, there are three main recommended courses to choose from. These include computer science, foreign language, and criminal justice.
For applicants without experience in law enforcement and military fields, they are allowed to work as an apprentice under a licensed criminal investigator. Depending on the state’s requirements, its apprenticeship period usually lasts for two to three years. In some countries, completing the required apprenticeship period might be equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
If you want to know more about the internal recruitment process of criminal investigators in your state or country, joining a related association can be beneficial. You can also take part in a Government FLETC Criminal Investigator Training Program.
- Certification of a Clean Criminal Record
Since a criminal investigator’s main responsibility is to evaluate criminal cases, you must be free of criminal charges and will undergo a criminal background check.
- Obtaining a License to Work as a Criminal Investigator
Criminal investigator jobs in the government don’t require a license, but if you plan on becoming a criminal investigator in the private sector most States require you to obtain a private investigator’s license first. Browsing your State’s private investigator licensing website is the first step on finding out what you will need to do to become a criminal investigator and how to submit an application.
In your State’s licensing web page, they will list all of the requirements and forms needed which must be followed to the letter. Indicated as well on the website is the process for submission.
Possible license requirements on the application form include; related work history, your criminal history record, and other documents proving your credibility. Whether to approve your application or not will depend on the State’s licensing board.
- Obtain a Bond
To work as a private investigator (and by extension a criminal investigator), most State licensing requirements stipulate the necessity of having a bond. A bond is not insurance protection for the applicant (investigator). A bond is an assurance to the public that you - their hired criminal investigator - will do your job well and if in times of license violations, or violations of the law, that harms the client or their case, any monetary penalty will be covered by the bond and ensures that the client won’t suffer.
Criminal Investigator Salary and Job Outlook
Here we're going to cover the salary of a criminal investigator as well as the future prospects of this career; so you know, if you decide you want to move into it, what your chances of future success can be.
What is a Criminal Investigator’s Salary?
Based on the estimates of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, criminal investigators earn an average salary of $85,000 a year. However, the wage will vary (sometimes considerably) in relation with the type of work you take on, the type of client, the location of the work and of course experience of the CI. That being said, you can certainly earn a good salary as a criminal investigator.
What Are The Criminal Investigator Job Prospects Like?
From 2016 to 2026, it is estimated that the employment rate of criminal justice related professions (including criminal investigator jobs) in the United States will increase by 7%. However, if trying to get a criminal investigator job working for the State or local law enforcement, the annual demand for criminal investigators fluctuate due to changes in budget allocations.
Demand for well-trained and experienced criminal investigators is expected to remain strong, with robust competition for jobs with federal agencies. Those candidates who are bilingual and possess a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in criminal justice and have law enforcement and/or military experience are projected to be of the highest in demand.
As criminal investigators gain more work experience, many employees start their own businesses and become more selective with their clients. At this point of their careers they are focusing more on their own skills and interests instead of accepting any type of work. At this juncture of career, a criminal investigator can charge their own prices and be paid very well for their skills.
Why Work as a Criminal Investigator?
Aside from the bizarre cases that a criminal investigator might encounter on a regular basis, this job has a vital role in law enforcement. Criminal investigators are relied on by their clients and other allied professions in resisting or pressing criminal charges on the opposing party. Generally, many people pursue careers in criminal investigation since they can help others.
Some established criminal investigators see the job as a stable career after working in the military or for law enforcement agencies. Although they transitioned to private-client based work they can still enjoy the same tasks and responsibilities, but for a better salary. For people who have a deep passion in criminal justice, a criminal investigator job is a good lifetime career.
For the most prominent reason, many simply enjoy the fulfillment of investigating crime scenes and since there are a vast number of crimes, this career will never be repetitive or boring. For people who constantly crave an adrenaline rush, this is the perfect career for them.
Becoming a Criminal Investigator - What’s The Next Step?
Now that you’ve reached the end of this article you must be thinking of ways to take a step further towards your future career in criminal investigation. By following the tips and methods stated you can easily become a criminal investigator, making a safe and secure place for everyone. If you want to work as a CI in the private sector you will need to find out your licensing requirements. You can find out more on obtaining your PI license here.
Looking For a Criminal Investigator Job - What’s The Next Step?
If you are already a criminal investigator looking to move into the private sector or looking for work then search our jobs board for the best criminal investigator jobs in your area.