Police careers: Going from patrol to detective
For a patrol officer who wants to become a detective, knowing what to expect can help you plan your move more efficiently — and make it happen
By Teresa Schmidt
When patrol officers think about what’s next in their careers, many consider how to become a detective — and for good reason. With new challenges, higher pay and more prestige, becoming a detective is a natural step up the law enforcement career ladder.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a steady increase in employment for detectives, making the demand for police detectives and criminal investigators quite strong. It’s clear that the opportunity for job stability is a big advantage in becoming a detective.
A Day in the Life
Detectives may work for local, state or federal agencies, colleges and universities — even the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Postal Service. Detectives usually work in plainclothes, gathering facts and collecting evidence. They interview witnesses, suspects, and other individuals associated with a crime or a suspect. These skilled law enforcement professionals often specialize in homicide, fraud, drug or other distinct areas, and typically work on a case until an arrest and conviction is made.
When choosing the university for your criminal justice degree, consider not only the programs offered, but also whether you have the option to attend classes online. A criminal justice degree program online enables you to keep working and enroll in the classes you need to advance your career as your busy schedule allows.
If you choose to attend online classes, research your university options carefully. You’ll be investing a great deal of your time and money, so you’ll want to be sure you’re receiving the same level of quality education as on-campus students.
Regional accreditation means that you can trust the curriculum, faculty and administration of the university. And when you’re ready to pursue an advanced degree in criminal justice, it means your credits will be much easier to transfer. In addition, most employers providing tuition assistance require students to attend regionally-accredited institutions.
Are You Ready?
About the Author
Teresa Schmidt is a freelance writer based in Seattle. Her interest is in writing various criminal justice degree and career resources, as well as articles on how to choose the right online degree program.
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