White-Collar Crime Investigator Jobs

It may be most common to associate white-collar criminal investigation positions with law enforcement, but there are also careers in the fields of science, finance, communications and education that relate to investigating white-collar crimes.

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Career Options for White-Collar Criminal Investigators

White-collar crimes include fraud, embezzlement and identify theft, and the objective of a white-collar crime is to profit financially. The criminals who commit these crimes do not mug people or rob them at gunpoint, but may use deception or scams. Below are some career options for those interested in investigating or stopping these kinds of crimes.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Private Detectives and Investigators $48,190 5%
Forensic Science Technicians $56,750 27%
Police and Detectives $61,600 4%
Insurance Investigators $63,680 (for all claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators) 3% (for claims adjusters, examiners, and investigators)
Fraud Examiners, Investigators and Analysts $69,470 (for financial specialists, all other) 5% (for financial specialists, all other)
Postsecondary Criminal Justice Teachers $59,590 21%
Writers and Authors $61,240 2%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for White-Collar Criminal Investigators

Private Detectives and Investigators

A high school diploma is minimum education required to become a private detective or investigator, though those who focus financial or computer crimes may need to have a bachelor's degree in accounting, computer science or other related field. Most of the people in this field also have prior experience working in law enforcement or the military. In most places, private detectives and investigators must be licensed; requirements vary by state. Private detectives and investigators are hired to investigate a variety of issues, and these may include white-collar financial issues or computer crimes.

Forensic Science Technicians

Forensic science technicians spend their careers investigating crimes. Forensic computer examiners are forensic science technicians who concentrate on investigating computer crimes, such as identity theft. These professionals may be involved in obtaining evidence that can be used to apprehend white-collar criminals. Forensic science technicians prepare for their career by earning a bachelor's degree in forensic science, or a comparable major, and by completing on-the-job training.

Police and Detectives

Police and detectives do not necessary need to have a degree, although it may be an asset and is usually required to pursue a career with a federal law enforcement agency, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation; local or state police departments may hire applicants who complete police academy training programs. Police and detectives help ensure laws are followed and that lawbreakers are identified and arrested. Some police, detectives and federal agents investigate specific types of white-collar crime exclusively, or they may investigate white-collar crimes such as fraud as part of their regular duties.

Insurance Investigators

Insurance investigators typically investigate suspicious claims for insurance companies or the government. They help identify insurance fraud, which means that they may investigate white-collar crime as part of their regular duties. Their duties can include monitoring claimants and interviewing witnesses. Those interested in this profession may be able to find entry-level work with a high school diploma, but a bachelor's degree may increase job prospects and opportunities for advancement.

Fraud Examiners, Investigators and Analysts

Fraud examiners, investigators and analysts investigate this specific white-collar crime professionally. Their work involves reviewing financial information to identify evidence of fraud and interviewing those who may have knowledge of a crime or be involved in committing fraud. Most of the people who work in this field have a bachelor's degree, and on-the-job training is also required. Since they have to review a lot of financial information, it helps if they have good math skills and are familiar with financial laws and regulations.

Postsecondary Criminal Justice Teachers

Postsecondary criminal justice teachers instruct students in topics related to criminal justice. This can include how to investigate crimes, including white-collar crimes. Postsecondary teachers often do research related to the subjects they teach, so those interested in white-collar crime and education can use their investigative skills in their research and write about their findings. Most postsecondary institutions require their teaching staff to have a doctoral degree, although it may be possible to start out in this field with a master's degree.

Writers and Authors

Writers and authors specialize in communicating through writing. It's common for these professionals to need a bachelor's degree, particularly if they want to be employed full time instead of working as a freelance writer or author. Some writers and authors spend their careers focusing on specific topics, and those who are interested in white-collar crime may write about investigations of such crimes. In some cases, they may investigate crimes that haven't been solved and write about their findings.

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