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Police Detective

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Career Overview

Have you ever watched Law & Order and found yourself trying to crack the case with the detectives? Perhaps becoming a police detective is something you should explore. Police detectives work as investigators. As a detective, you will study cases to determine the causes and people responsible for the crime.Detectives interview witnesses and suspects, gather evidence, create reports for data they collect, and arrest criminals. Some police detectives participate in court cases to help convict suspects. Often glamorized by Hollywood, this job can be very physically and mentally draining but ultimately rewarding.

Salaries and Job Outlook*

2013 Median Annual Pay
Number of Jobs in 2013
Projected Growth Rate
National
$87,910
104,860
6.6 %
Virginia
$86,370
2,670
 

Education and Training

Degrees Required:
Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice or related field

At a minimum, you must have a high school diploma or GED. Some precincts and federal positions also require a bachelor's degree. The best degrees to pursue for this job include criminology, criminal justice, psychology, and human service. Classes should sharpen your leadership and problem-solving skills.Potential police detectives should have strong writing skills and work well on teams. The best candidates for police detective positions will also be adept at conducting research and analyzing evidence to reach conclusions.

 
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Valued Traits & Abilities

Patience
Communication Skills
Problem-Solving Skills

Work Environment

As a police detective, you will be working in multiple locations. Many times you will be reporting to the scene of the crime, studying every clue you can find and collecting the evidence. You will be interviewing a person in the area or anyone who comes forward with information about the crime. This job will certainly keep you on your feet as you will constantly collect evidence, interview suspects, and following potential leads. (Leads are any pieces of information that could lead you to answers about the crime and who did it.)

* Source: BLS Data - 2013