What Does a Criminal Investigator Do?
Criminal Investigators typically work for law enforcement agencies to help solve crimes and reduce illegal activity by apprehending suspects. They work closely with other Criminal Investigators, Police Officers and Forensic Scientists to solve thefts, homicides, vandalism or assaults. Their job is to research criminal activity to find patterns with current crimes and obtain credible evidence that allows them to get arrest warrants for suspects. They may also be responsible for conducting surveillance in a particular area to track their suspect’s movements or monitor criminal activity.
Criminal Investigator Skills and Qualifications
A good Criminal Investigator needs a variety of skills and qualifications that include the following:
- Good communication and interview skills. Good interview skills are vital to any investigation. A Criminal Investigator must ask clear questions to find out as much detail from the interview as possible and recognize any gaps in a story. The Criminal Investigator must also be a good listener and have the ability to read body language.
- Ability to use various forms of equipment or technology. Criminal Investigators often use technology to help in their investigations. The equipment varies according to the type of investigation.
- Thorough knowledge of the law. A Criminal Investigator needs to know the laws surrounding a case. He or she must also know what they are legally allowed to do during the research, otherwise, the evidence may be thrown out of court.
- Honesty and good ethics. A Criminal Investigator must be ethical, honest and law abiding. If a Criminal Investigator is caught lying or using unethical methods, he or she will lose credibility, perhaps lose their job or even be convicted of a crime themselves.
- Critical thinking, deductive reasoning, social perceptiveness and problem-solving skills. Piecing things together requires good problem-solving skills, especially to find out the truth about what really happened. Critical thinking allows the Criminal Investigator to look past the obvious solutions and to objectively analyze evidence.
Criminal Investigator Salary Expectations
The average salary for a Criminal Investigator with 4 to 6 years of experience is $66,508 per year. This salary estimate is based on 383 salaries anonymously submitted to Indeed by Criminal Investigator employees, users and job posts over the past 36 months.
Criminal Investigator Education and Training Requirements
Applicants for a Criminal Investigator position must have a degree in Criminal Justice or Police Science. Additionally, they need to have taken some courses in psychology, computers, English and advanced science. At a forensic crime lab, a Criminal Investigator candidate will need a major in biological sciences. Applicants for a federal-level job, usually have a master’s degree to improve their credentials.
Criminal Investigator Experience Requirements
A Criminal Investigator position calls for proven work experience. This experience may vary depending on the position offered. Experience may be varied in different investigator fields such as analyzing crime scenes or managing evidence. Make sure to include the experience requirements that are best suited to your field.
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