By: Joey Barrera

Career Description

Police Detectives and criminal investigators work to apprehend lawbreakers, investigate criminal cases and solves crimes. They may work for local, state or federal agencies.


Police detectives make considerably more than the $45,790 annual  wage earned by the average U.S. worker. Police detectives earned a average annual wage of $77,860 or a mean hourly wage of $37.43, according to May 2012 BLS salary data. The midway point between the highest and lowest salaries was $74,300. On the other hand, private detectives earn significantly less with an average annual wage of $50,780, an average hourly wage of $24.42, and a median annual wage of $45,740, which is closer to the national average.

Useful Skills

Complex Problem Solving -- Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making -- Considering the costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Social Perceptiveness -- Being aware of others reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Knowing a foreign language is an asset in many federal agencies and in certain geographical regions.

Education Requirements

Police and detective applicants must have at least a high school education or GED and be a graduate of their agency’s training academy. Many agencies and some police departments require some college coursework or a college degree.

Challenges and Future Outlook

Applicants usually have training as a recruit before becoming an officer. In state and large local police departments, recruits get training in their agency's police academy. In small agencies, recruits often attend a regional or state academy. Training includes classroom instruction in constitutional law, civil rights, state laws and local ordinances, and police ethics. Recruits also receive training and supervised experience in areas such as patrol, traffic control, use of firearms, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response.Detectives normally begin their career as police officers before being promoted to detective.

The BLS or Bureau Of Labor Statistics reported in 2012 that there where about 780,000 people who had a career in this field.

This type of career has very little to no chance of dying away due to the rising crime rates.


Typical benefits for detectives include vacation and sick leave along with medical and life insurance. Benefits vary by jurisdiction and branch of employment. Beneficiaries receive death benefits through the Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program if a state, local or federal law enforcement officer dies in the line of duty. The Public Safety Officers' Benefits Program also offers disability benefits to officers disabled in the line of duty. Spouses and children of deceased or disabled law enforcement officers receive education benefits.

Similar Careers  

Forensics,Police Officers,Game Warden,Border Patrol,Ballistics specialist, the are a few other careers in this field.

Why I Picked This Career

I chose to do my project over this career because i always had a interest in it. Once i heard the High School has Criminal Justice classes i decided to take them. As of now I am in Principles of Law Enforcement, allowing me to take all the other Criminal Justice coarse's  including Forensics.

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