A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become a Police Detective

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become a Police Detective

A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become a Police Detective

How does one become a detective?

Many people are drawn to the idea of becoming a police detective. Popular TV shows like CSI, Criminal Minds, Hawaii Five O, Castle, etc make the job look so exciting. Without a doubt, the detectives on the show are so cool! 

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the police officers and detectives’ salary averages $55,010 annually. It may not be much compared to white collar jobs, but most people choose to be a police detective because of the high demand for public safety and the desire to be of service to the community. It takes a lot of hard work, discipline, dedication, and sacrifice to be one.

Here is a comprehensive guide on how to become a police detective:

Basic Information: Know What a Detective Is

The first step on how to become a police detective is to know what the job is all about. To be a police detective, you have to be a police officer first. Your job is to gather facts and evidences vital in solving all types of crime like robbery, burglary, computer crime, domestic violence, auto theft, missing persons, fraud, assault, juvenile crime, surveillance, arson, homicide, murder and so much more.

Requirements and Qualifications

Do you have what it takes to be a police detective? Aside from being a US citizen and 21 years of age, you have to meet rigorous physical fitness and personality exams to qualify. Police detectives start off as  law enforcement officers. The training, experience  and discipline of being a police officer is a crucial preparation to becoming a police detective.    

The Right Skills

A detective needs to possess the right set of skills. You must have a keen observation, strong instincts, good judgment, leadership skills and stamina and strength to be able to take on the demands of being a police detective. To become a detective requires that you know how to multi-task because you will likely handle several cases in a day. Most of all, good communication skills and perceptiveness is required as you will have to know how to draw out information and discern whether the witness, suspects or the victims are honest or not.  


Your level of education is essential on how to become a detective. You must, at least, be a high school graduate and fully trained in a police training facility. It is also a plus to have a degree in criminal justice. After all, to enforce the law requires you to know the law. Thus, every police detective is encouraged to pursue higher education and training to equip them with the tasks at hand.

Physical Ability Test

Police detectives must pass the physical ability test. A police detective should be able to endure long hours of work. Manual dexterity is also needed to make sure that the detective can handle the most delicate evidences. Lastly,  being fortuitous is very important because of the gruesome situations that come with the job.

Experience in the Field

Some police agencies like the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) require that detectives should work as law enforcement officers for 4 years before being promoted. You will have to go through several stages before you actually get to detective status. You have to have a good track record through your several years of service.

Training and Development

Training and development is essential if you want to be a criminal investigator. You have to develop your skills and knowledge by attending regular trainings and seminars. The more credentials you have, the more chances of getting a detective job. Lastly, the best way to learn about how to become a detective is to observe and train with senior detectives who have had their share of experiences in the field. They can give you advice and techniques that you may not learn from law enforcement books.

How to become a police detective is may take some time. You can apply to be one if you have been in the service for several years as a police officer. Hard work, a clean record, integrity and the right skills are proofs needed for one to be promoted as a police detective.



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