An economic crime investigator is a type of detective that focuses on fraud, particularly on the corporate level. Because of the important nature of their work, they are likely to earn slightly more than the average detective. They usually hold a degree in accounting or another relevant field and may need to meet state licensing requirements.
Economic crime investigators may work in one of several fields including forensics, information systems, and security. Investigators who focus on 'white collar' crimes may work for the government, financial institutions, law enforcement, retail merchandising, or may be self-employed. Many investigators of economic crime have a background in finance and hold bachelor's degrees in accounting or a related field. This career typically falls under the category of private investigator and may require professionals to be licensed.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Licensing, requirements vary by state|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||5% (all private detectives)|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$45,610 (all private detectives)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
According to the BLS, private detectives and investigators working for local government agencies earned a mean salary of $58,410 in 2015. The highest-paid investigators worked in the navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing industry and earned a mean salary of $84,960 in 2015.
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Economic Crime Investigator Education and Qualifications
Depending on the field and employer, most economic crime investigators are required to have a bachelor's degree in a field such as police science, forensic science, or criminal justice. Courses or a concentration specifically targeting economic crimes might be possible within a criminal justice major. Sociology and law classes are also applicable to economic crime.
For those pursuing a career in corporate investigation, a degree in accounting provides a foundation for finding a job. Similarly, for those pursuing a career in computer forensics, a degree in information systems in place of criminal justice is favorable because one can learn the accompanying skill set on the job. Because so many of the skills are learned at work, internships and experience in the field of investigation are desirable.
The government operates the largest network of investigators. Investigators work for the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Treasury, and other government agencies. Corporations also employ economic crime investigators.
According to the BLS, jobs in the private investigation field are expected to grow 5% from 2014-2024, about the average pace for all occupations. Due to technological advances, investigative jobs are expected to grow in the fields pertaining to spamming, identity theft, information security, and copyrighted downloading.
Although this occupation can expect fairly steady growth over the next decade, job applicants in this field are likely to face a fairly competitive market. Holding a bachelor's degree in a related field and having related work experience can help jobseekers stand out from the crowd.