Detectives are almost always plainclothes investigators who gather difficult-to-obtain information on criminal activity and other subjects. They conduct interviews and surveillance, locate missing persons and criminal suspects, examine records, and write detailed reports. Some make arrests and take part in raids.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) None
Duties Conducting interviews and surveillance; gathering evidence; solving homicides; locating missing persons and criminal suspects; examining records and writing detailed reports; making arrests and taking part in raids
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • English
  • Government
  • History
Experience Minimum of three to five years as a police officer
Personality Traits
  • Organized
  • Problem-Solving
  • Realistic
  • Business Management
  • Organizational
  • Research
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements Must be at least 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, and meet meet height, weight, vision, and hearing requirements
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Senior Detective
  • Detective
  • Police Officer

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