Don’t you think detectives look so cool in movies and fiction? They are always so brilliant and calm, finding little give-away details that everyone misses. Their life is thrilling and fascinating. Isn’t it why many of us look up to them as a kid? Have you ever thought of becoming a detective yourself? How much do detectives make?
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Why You Should Consider A Detective Career
Those with a strong passion for solving puzzles and exploring the unknown might find most traditional careers like watching grass grow. Are you looking for a job that can invigorate your creative and curious nature? Then a career as a detective might be the one.
By definition, detectives are heroes who commit to uncover the truth and bring people to justice. They do their job by investigating matters handed to them. What and how a detective investigates depends on their position in the field. For example, there are two primary jobs: private detectives and public detectives.
- Public detectives (police detectives) work in governmental law enforcement agencies and solve crimes within the police.
- Private investigators handle cases their clients require. It is often about collecting information about certain institutions or individuals. A big difference is private investigators are not authorized to arrest or apprehend their suspects.
Of course, to serve the community is a reason to become a detective. However, everyone needs money to pay their bills. You must be wondering: “How much do detectives make?”
How Much Do Detectives Make?
In the United States, an average detective makes about $83,170 per year. That is roughly $20.000 higher than the median wage (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), making detective one of the high-paid jobs in the United States. On the contrary, an average private investigator receives an annual salary of only $57.100. This amount is $6.000 higher than the median wage. It can mainly attribute to their varying clients and irregular flow of works. However, it is still possible for a private investigator to make $90.000 or higher if they are well-established.
The answer to “How much does a detective make?” also depends on their seniority.
|Average annual payment
Detectives’ pay based on seniority – Source: careerexplorer
One more selling point to become a detective is that they don’t have to wear uniforms, though wearing concealed firearms is obligated. So “what do detectives wear?” you may ask. The answer is detectives can wear anything that they find fit for their task, perhaps something to help them blend in or gain trust. Most detectives wear suits and casual clothes depending on the weather.
How Can You Become A Detective?
There are certain things to prepare before one embarking on this path of investigation.
There are certain things to prepare – Source: Marcus Winkler
In every state, the minimum requirement to be a detective is a high-school diploma or GED. However, for some high positions, governmental agencies will require a college degree. The degree can be in criminology, sociology, criminal justice, or a discipline related to the job.
Below is the list of the top 10 colleges for criminal justice in the United States:
|University of Pennsylvania
|1450 – 1560
|University of California – Irvine
|1170 – 1420
|CUNY John Jay College of Criminal justice
|980 – 1130
|Florida State University
|1200 – 1340
|1390 – 1540
|University of Miami
|1270 – 1440
|University of Florida
|1310 – 2470
|Texas Christian University
|1150 – 1350
|1040 – 1260
|Monroe College – Bronx/New Rochelle
|960 – 1100
Top 10 colleges for criminal justice in the US – Source: niche.com
To be a police detective, applicants must be U.S citizens and be 21 years or older at the time of application. They also need to pass a blood test and toxic screening to prove that they are negative from drugs and similar substances. After that, recruits will take part in a training course held by their agency or department. These courses usually take from six to eight months. Recruits will train in firearm use, self-defense, patrol procedures, traffic control, report-writing, ethics, CPR, first aid, and emergency response.
Shooting Range training for future detectives – Source: STNGR Industries
Skills & Personality Traits
Because detectives often find themselves in volatile situations, they must have a sharp mind and a calm attitude. Successful detectives usually have virtues like curiosity, attentivity to detail, and perseverance. Moreover, detectives have to equip some skills such as:
- Communication skills: Detectives collect clues by talking to witnesses, victims, and suspects. A detective has to pay attention to both verbal and nonverbal details to detect any sign of dishonesty.
- Decision-making skills: Detectives must be decisive because just a bit of hesitation can cost them an important clue or make time for the criminal to hide.
- Resourcefulness: A detective must always follow strict procedures. However, suppose detectives know how to use the resources they have at hand. In that case, it gives an advantage to the investigating process.
Detective job requires meticulousness – Sources: Agence Olloweb
In most cases, a detective or even an agent started working as a police officer before becoming a detective. That is because police detectives applicants often have to take a few years to get promoted to the position. To qualify for licensure, they must have had a law degree and 4,000 hours of experience or an associate degree plus 5,000 hours of experience. Having 6,000 hours of paid investigative work experience also grant people a chance to become a detective, according to California’s Bureau of Security and Investigate Service report 2020.
Most detectives start working as police officers – Source: Erick Mclean
Where To Find Jobs
The easiest way to become a police detective, as mentioned, is through promotion in a standard National police agency. Ideally, start as a police officer in your area, and express your interest in becoming a detective to the superiors.
As for those who want to be a private detective, many open positions are hiring online at all times since this career is high in demand. In particular, some of the most popular private investigators agencies in the United States are:
- BCI Business Compliance & Investigators
- Gold Shield Security & Investigation
- New York Intelligence Agency
- Sherlock Investigations
- John Cutter InvestigationsCPI Investigations
- New York City Private Investigator
- Global Threat Solutions
- Spy Store
All in all, working as a detective could be challenging and rewarding as well. At the end of each case, there will be a deep satisfaction and motivation for you to keep on the work of proving what’s right and protecting others.
If being a detective is your dream, then fear not to work hard to follow that path. Hopefully, all the hard work will pay off.
If you are not so sure, check out our articles in Job overview and find your dream job right now.
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