Working as a detective is something that carries a lot of pressure, but it is an important career that has a real impact on societies. To become a detective, you must have a degree or significant experience in the police – in some cases, both are required. After completing the basic prerequisites to qualify and enter the position, the next step will be to gain experience in various tasks that a detective has to fulfill: collecting evidence, interrogating witnesses, testifying in court, and writing reports. Once you've started working in the new role, you can deepen your knowledge and improve your skills through study and hands-on experience.
Method 1 of 3: Completing the Basic Prerequisites
Step 1. Go to the Civil Police website to find out about admission requirements
Visit your state's Civil website to understand the prerequisites for acting as a detective or investigator, which is the official name of the institution. If you can't find this information on the website, call the state or municipal headquarters telephone number and ask about possible public tenders. Sometimes the Civil Police can integrate profession fairs, which allows you to have a direct conversation about the subject with an official member.
Step 2. Complete the eligibility requirements
You must be of minimum age to try. Most of the time, you will need to have at least a high school diploma, but most headquarters require a college degree. Basic expectations usually include things like:
- Be a citizen of the country in which you reside. In some locations, you also need to reside in the area you want to work.
- Be over 18 years old.
- No criminal record.
- Have a high school diploma or higher education.
Step 3. Have a good physical and mental preparation
It's hard to be a detective, often stressful, because it usually requires a lot of physical and mental effort. To be successful in this career, you need to have:
- An excellent view.
- Good general health.
- Minimal physical and mental problems or that do not compromise function.
Step 4. Do not behave in a risky, offensive or illegal manner
Detectives engage in high-level work and need to be a reference in excellence. As they are representatives of the law, they must be citizens of integrity. For example:
- Detectives must not use illegal substances.
- Many thirsts do not allow them to have tattoos on their faces or to incite offensive things.
- Disciplinary actions on your record may make it difficult or impossible for you to take on that role.
Step 5. Gain some experience as a police officer
The police academy teaches issues related to procedures, investigations, the use of force and relationships with the social environment. This theoretical background is extremely useful and helps you prepare for detective work, but the practical experience of acting as an officer is also very instructive. Once you've proven to be a good officer, you'll likely become a more interesting candidate for detective jobs.
Some headquarters will allow you to join the corporation directly as a detective without having previous experience as a police officer. However, the institution may require a degree in the field, such as a degree in criminal justice
Step 6. Pass detective exams
Even if you have applied for a detective position with years of police experience already, you will still have to take a series of tests. Each venue has its own exams and they will give you an exam schedule. These exams can be intensive and take days, even weeks. Between tests, it can happen:
- A written test of knowledge in law enforcement.
- A test of physical fitness and endurance.
- A complete criminal background check.
- A psychological assessment.
Method 2 of 3: Gaining Experience
Step 1. Complete the probationary period
Generally, for the first few months until you complete a year or more as a detective, you will be guided and closely watched by a more experienced detective. This period will help you transition to the more autonomous level of the role. In the beginning, you will work on relatively simple cases, a kind of internship that will prepare you for the highest level of detective, which involves more violent and complex crimes.
Step 2. Learn all about the daily duties of a detective
Unlike film representations, detectives spend most of their time researching cases and writing reports. They also work on on-the-spot cases and appear in court from time to time. The following are the main and recurring duties of a detective:
- Collect evidence.
- Interview witnesses.
- Observe suspects, places and events.
- Get warrants.
- Write official reports to support or close cases.
- Testify in court.
Step 3. Practice constant attention
A detective needs to be a keen observer and constantly on the lookout to do a good job. The ability to focus and do multiple things is vital to solving cases. Do you have difficulties in this issue? Try some concentration and awareness exercises to help you figure out how to "live in the now."
Step 4. Wait for opportunities for a promotion to appear
As you gain experience working on multiple cases, the chances of getting promoted can loom large. Example: After working for a few years as a detective, you may become a potential candidate to be promoted to the position of chief detective. Do the best job possible and let your superiors know that you are interested in getting promoted.
Method 3 of 3: Developing Your Skills
Step 1. Improve your communication skills
The detective function, like other positions within the police, is primarily based on dealing with people. Since cases can involve more serious and sometimes dangerous situations, it is important to know how to communicate with others clearly and calmly, as well as to listen carefully to them. Knowing how to calm situations by talking to other people is also beneficial to detectives.
- It is interesting to take classes in interpersonal communication to improve your conversational skills.
- You can also suggest to your superiors that they run a communication workshop, where experts can participate and talk to detectives about ways to communicate well.
Step 2. Continue your studies to increase your chances of getting promoted
Consider getting a more advanced degree, such as a master's degree in criminal justice, sociology, forensic science, or a related field. There are some of these courses on the internet, in the distance mode. Look for short courses such as seminars or continuing education classes in these same areas. These higher grades can also yield a salary increase.
Step 3. Develop specific skills
Things like knowing a foreign language or being familiar with cyber security are a plus, as far as law enforcement agencies are concerned. Do you have skills like these? Tell your superiors so you can earn commissions or increase your chances of getting promoted.