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How to become a Detective?

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Talent.com talent.com
Answered February 26 2021
Career Expert at Talent.com
In the United States there are many different kinds of Detectives who specialize in different areas. The path to becoming a Detective will depend on if you want to become a Police Detective or a Private Investigator.  
Although Detectives and Private Investigators (PI's) carry out some overlapping duties, their background and qualifications are not the same. Detectives have worked their way up the Police Force with time and performance and they will have more resources than a PI would.  
All Police Detectives will have to enroll in the Police Force prior to earning their title as a Detective. Detectives from the Police Force can specialize in any of the following areas: 
  • Homicide 
  • Gangs and Narcotics  
  • Special Victims Unit 
  • Commercial 
  • Juvenile 
  • Forensic 
  • Robbery 
  • Detective support and vice 
  • Technical investigation 
One step for recent high school or university graduates who are aspiring Detectives is to begin their career by taking part of internships offered by the FBI or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Other options for prospective Detectives is to complete a degree in criminology, criminal justice or forensic science. Some Police Academies will require a certain number of college credits in order to enroll, so it is important to look  into the state and city you wish to practice in before applying. 

What skills are required to become a Detective? 
  • Patience 
Detective work doesn’t always solve itself overnight, and Detectives will need to be incredibly patient. Depending on the kind of work that a Detective carries out there will be times when they need to wait for results, or interview suspects who may not always be telling the truth or be under pressure with a time limit. Patience is a key skill for being successful as a Detective. 
  • Precision 
This goes without saying that a Detective must have very extreme attention to detail. Due to the nature of their work every last detail will matter and can play a vital role in a case. Detectives need to be thorough and precise with everything that they do because if they miss a detail it could have serious consequences.  
  • Problem Solving  
Detectives work revolves around the collection of evidence used to solve a crime or suspicious activity. Sometimes being one step ahead of a culprit will allow Detectives to successfully complete a case, and it is important that they are deep thinkers with strong problem solving and decision-making skills. Although every case is different that a Detective will work on, problem solving is a necessary skill for the nature of their work and will help them excel in their career path.