Police Detective Career Information, Job Outlook & Salary

Police Detective

Police Detective Career Overview

Police detectives are called upon to investigate crimes once responding officers have had a chance to do a preliminary investigation. Detectives investigate crimes hands-on by gathering facts and evidence. As a detective, you would interview witnesses and suspects, analyze information, and place individuals under arrest. Typically, you'd be a plainclothes officer specializing in a particular felony crime such as homicide.

Police Detective Education

Most detectives start out as patrol or beat officers and get promoted through the ranks because of their experience and leadership. An associate's degree or bachelor's degree in police science can help to propel your career forward. An online degree in criminal justice could also be a good fit. Many police jurisdictions require police officers to attend and successfully complete a training academy as well.

Police Detectives Employment and Job Description

Approximately 861,000 individuals worked as police detectives and officers as of 2006. Nearly 80 percent of those in police jobs work for city and local governments, although opportunities exist with federal agencies and private security firms as well. Job growth for police detectives should be about average for all careers through 2016. People with a bachelor's degree in police science may have a good chance of being hired at the local level. For federal agency jobs, detectives with law enforcement training and several years of on-the-job investigative experience will have the best opportunities.

Police Detectives Salary Range

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the following annual wages for police detectives. *Salaries will change based on such factors as location, seniority, and experience.
Low: $36,500
High: $97,870

*Bureau of Labor Statistics

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