Becoming a Criminal Investigator: Requirements For Certification

A CSI agent investigating a crime sceneThe job of a criminal investigator requires great skills and special training in surveying crime scenes. The investigator collects evidence and analyzes the information gathered from the scene.

The popularity of TV shows like CSI has led to a growing number of people wanting to obtain a criminal investigator certification. But there is a lot more to being an investigator than what the TV shows depict.

Here are some important pieces of information about the job:

Required Education and Skills

Aspiring investigators must be able to process and analyze information during investigations. They learn how to identify and use different types of evidence from certification programs. They also learn the proper way of processing a crime scene and identifying the psychological profiles of criminals.

Criminal Investigation Training Programs

A certificate program assesses a student’s knowledge of the investigative procedure, case presentation, and case management. There are two ways to get certified, depending on the certifying body:

  • Complete a series of modules to earn the required number of hours
  • Pass a written exam

The topics covered in a training program or written exam include:

  • Homicide
  • Evidence
  • Interviews and interrogation techniques
  • Trial
  • Testimony
  • Case reporting

Job Prospects for a Certified Criminal Investigator

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, investigators and private detectives can expect steady job growth for the next five to 10 years. This growth is due to the growing security concerns today. The rise in online criminal activities contributes to the increase in demand for the job as well. In 2015, the BLS reported that the average annual salary of investigators and private detectives was around $53,000.

Licensing and Continuing Education

A criminal investigator must have a license to work in the state. Those who need to carry arms must also follow the regulations set by the state and local authorities.

A training program for criminal investigators helps students gain practical field experience and legal education. These will help them in their journey to becoming certified criminal investigators.