A criminal investigator is responsible for examining crime scenes and following evidence to bring justice to criminal offenders. Aspiring investigators can pursue a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. It's important to note that criminal investigators typically start out as police officers, and nearly all officers go through a police training academy in order to prepare for the job. While a high school diploma is usually required for academy applicants, a degree isn't always necessary. The program usually takes four years to complete.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Corrections Admin
- Corrections, Probation, and Parole
- Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
- Criminal Science
- Forensic Science
- Juvenile Corrections
- Law Enforcement Administration
- Police Science and Law Enforcement
- Securities Services Mgmt
- Security and Theft Prevention Services
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Investigation
In addition to liberal arts courses, students take courses in criminology, laws and criminal justice ethics. Hands-on application in criminal investigations may be acquired through an internship working in the criminal justice field. Typical courses include:
- Introduction to criminal justice
- Criminological theories
- Judicial processes
- Police and safety
- Constitutional criminal procedure
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a slower-than-average job growth rate of 4% for police and detectives, including criminal investigators, from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Criminal justice graduates are qualified for positions in local government agencies, the federal government and private organizations. The BLS indicated a median annual wage of $77,210 for detectives and criminal investigators in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Individuals interested in gaining an advanced education in criminal investigation can complete a Master of Science in Criminal Justice or a Master of Science in Forensic Investigation. These programs provide advanced training in the investigative methods and leadership skills needed for management and supervision positions in police departments and criminal justice agencies.
Most detectives and criminal investigators start their career by graduating from a police academy and then going to a four-year bachelor's degree program. A Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree program teaches future detectives and criminal investigators about criminal law, ethics, police regulations and court systems.