How to Become a Criminal Investigator

Investigator taking photos

Watching those crime shows on television might have fired up your enthusiasm to enroll in a criminal investigation training program. You probably know that it is not as glamorous or exciting as they make it seem, but it is still a noble profession.

It also pays well if you have the qualifications for it. The pay range in the US is from $37,649 to $108,767 a year. This depends on the location, the job, and your training. You also get some great medical and dental benefits on top of all that.

If you are interested in becoming a criminal investigator, here is some basic information you need to know.

Basic Requirements

You have to be a US citizen and at least 21 years old to apply for a criminal investigator position. In some cases, you may also need a valid driver’s license. If you have any serious or violent crimes on your record, you are almost certainly not getting work as a crime investigator.


You do not need to study criminal investigation to become an investigator. All you need is a high school diploma or, in cases such as working for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a bachelor’s degree.

However, if you have no special knowledge or skills for the job, you have to start at the lowest rung. This usually means doing routine work such as filing, doing paperwork, and organizing evidence for other people to use. It also usually means lower pay.

If you already have had some type of criminal investigation training, you might not need to start from the bottom.


If you only want to investigate crime in any capacity, you will not need any special training. You will pick up what you need to know on the job. However, if you want to be a crime scene investigator or a detective, you will need special training in the sciences or the law.

Fortunately, you may choose to get more training while working in the criminal system to improve your job prospects. Many institutions offer online training for those who cannot attend conventional training programs.

A criminal investigation training program is a good way to go far in your job in law enforcement. It can help you achieve higher pay, better positions, and a more rewarding career.