Detectives

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. There are 106,580 police detectives and criminal investigators and 30,460 private detectives employed in the United States. 

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Computer Forensics Investigators, Corporate Investigators, Financial Investigators, Legal Investigators
Duties Conduct interviews and surveillance; gather evidence; solve homicides; locating missing persons and criminal suspects; examine records and write detailed reports; make arrests and take 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
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Government
  • History
  • Psychology
Experience Minimum of three to five years as a police officer
Personality Traits
  • Organized
  • Problem-Solving
  • Realistic
Skills
  • Interpersonal
  • Organizational
  • Research
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements Must be at least 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, and meet height, weight, vision, and hearing requirements
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Upper-Level Management Positions
  • Chief Detective
  • Detective
  • Police Officer

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