How Long Does it take to Become a Detective(Read 17 Ways)

How long does it take to become a detective: Are you ready to become a detective or start a career in private investigation? Detective work can be exciting, but it also requires discipline, perseverance, and long hours spent following leads and waiting for developments. Here, we’ll review the requirements for the two main types of detectives: police detectives and private detectives. If you want to fight crime and solve cases, read our guide on how to prepare for your future as a detective.

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How long does it take to become a detective

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1. Things You Should Know

  • To get training as a detective, get education in a field related to police work.
  • Stay in great physical shape to handle the demands of detective work.
  • Develop amazing people skills so you can interview others and follow leads.
  • Get additional certifications, like one in forensics, to get assigned more cases.

2. What does a detective do?

A detective researches and finds evidence to help solve criminal cases. They may need to respond to emergency calls at any hour of the day and arrest suspects. Detectives can also gather evidence from the scene of a crime and process it to use in a criminal case. They communicate with a variety of people including other law enforcement, emergency personnel and the public.

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How long does it take to become a detective

3. Other duties detectives may perform include:

  • Using computers to issue warrants for suspects

  • Interviewing witnesses and suspects to gather crucial information for the case

  • Participating in raids at private homes or companies to apprehend suspects

  • Keeping detailed research notes and present them in court when necessary

4. Detective requirements

Detectives must have training and skills before applying.

5. Education

All detectives will need to have at least a high school diploma. However, many employers require a degree in law enforcement or criminal justice. This degree can be a two-year associate degree from a community college or a four-year bachelor’s degree from a university. Candidates should take classes in criminal procedure, criminal law and judicial function to increase their education.

Completing a foreign language class, such as Spanish, can be helpful for candidates. They may need to interrogate witnesses who do not speak English, so knowing another language is useful for detectives.

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How long does it take to become a detective

6. Training

Detectives may attend a training academy where they learn about police ethics and complete several classes in civil rights and local laws. Attendees will also practice their skills in self-defense, firearms and emergency response. Candidates who want to work as federal law enforcement agents will need to attend the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center or the U.S. Marine Corps Base. They must be a United States citizen and 21 years old to apply for any training.

Most detectives work as police officers for several years until the department promotes them. Those who want to work as special agents for the FBI need to have a minimum of three years of field experience.

7. Certifications

Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field. Some of these certifications may include the following:

  • Pass a physical test: Detectives must prove they are physically fit by passing a fitness test which will likely require them to climb a fence or sprint certain distances.

  • Complete a psychological evaluation: All candidates must have a psychologist evaluate them and deem them mentally capable of working in the field.

  • Pass a drug test: A detective may not take drugs and will need to pass a drug screening. They may also receive random drug tests during their career.

  • Complete a background check: All candidates are subject to a background check to ensure they have no criminal record.

How long does it take to become a detective

8. Skills

A detective will need many skills to perform their job, which commonly include the following:

9. Attention to detail

Detectives must spend hours researching a case and looking for clues to help solve it. They should be detail-oriented to find vital information when pursuing a case. A detective must also pay attention when conversing with witnesses and decide what information is important.

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10. Physical endurance

A detective is often on their feet for long periods while they investigate cases. They may need to walk for hours at a time when looking for a suspect and sprint when chasing people. Detectives must also be physically strong so they can apprehend a suspect.

11. Communication skills

Detectives may talk to a variety of people each day, including other police officers, judges and the public. They should know how to effectively communicate with witnesses hesitant to give essential information. This skill can help them get the knowledge they need to solve a case.

How long does it take to become a detective

12. Patience

A case may take months, if not longer, to progress, and some cases will go unsolved. Detectives should have patience while they wait to receive information. They may also wait outside a suspect’s house for multiple hours to see if they are home.

13. Ethics

A detective should be ethical and show fairness and justice to everyone involved in a case. This includes treating potential suspects well no matter how challenging the situation is.

14. Understand the law

Detectives must know local regulations as well as state and federal laws. They should follow these procedures correctly in every situation. It is also important for them to understand their jurisdiction and know what areas they cannot work in.

How long does it take to become a detective

15. Detective work environment

Detectives can work in private or state sectors. They do not have a set schedule and will need to be flexible each day. A detective often works long hours and must travel to crime scenes with little or no notice. There are no specific start or end times for a detective, and they often work late at night. They work full-time hours and often need to work overtime.

The work environment for a detective can be physically and emotionally challenging. They must always be ready to encounter dangerous suspects and may need to make quick decisions in a situation. Detectives can get hurt at accident scenes or while working with violent people.

This can be a physically demanding job. Besides standing and running, detectives may also spend several hours sitting while they research a case. Some detectives will often travel, such as FBI agents and Secret Service members. A detective can work both indoors and outdoors, depending on where the crime scene is.

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How to become a detective

If you would like to become a detective, consider following these steps:

16. Graduate from high school

All candidates must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Many employers will prefer a criminal justice degree, so aspiring detectives should complete this schooling before applying for a position in the field.

17. Complete police training academy

Many candidates will need to complete the police training academy to become a police officer before their employer promotes them to a detective. They will learn important job skills, such as how to use a firearm besides becoming physically fit for the exams.

How long does it take to become a detective

18. Gain experience as a police officer

Many detectives must work as a police officer for at least three to five years before an employer will consider them for a promotion. They should continue to perform well on physical tests If a detective wishes to work in a specialty field, they can ask for a transfer to begin gaining experience.

19. Pass all required tests

There are a variety of tests candidates must take before becoming detectives. This includes passing a background check, completing a drug test, passing a physical fitness test and undergoing a psychological exam.

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