If you are looking for an exciting career that involves protecting and serving your community, you may be interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed of “saving the day” and solving a murder mystery. Perhaps your favorite shows include “True Detective” and “CSI,” and you are such a fan of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer,” that you know exactly how Brendan Dassey should have been cross-examined. If this sounds like you, you may be perfect for the role of criminal investigator.
Criminal investigators, much like their name implies, conduct investigations related to suspected violations of Federal, State, or local laws. Essentially, it is their job to help solve and prevent crimes. Private investigators – a branch of criminal investigation – play a similar role, except provide services to individual clients, attorneys, and businesses, rather than working for a larger agency.
If criminal investigation piques your interest, read on. Here, we will break down how to become a criminal investigator in Connecticut.
Criminal Investigator Education Requirements
To become a criminal investigator, it is recommended that you pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as criminal justice. A criminal justice degree – at any level – can help you develop a sound, investigative skillset and way of thinking, as well as make you stand out when seeking a job. However, specific education requirements will vary by employer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many require at least a high school diploma, while most federal agencies require a two or four-year degree in criminal justice.
To help determine your next step, seek out a criminal justice school that will work with your schedule. A flexible program will offer a combination of classes and hands-on training both day and night. You are likely going to be juggling work and school, and, perhaps, a family. It is important to find a program that will accommodate your busy lifestyle.
To become a detective or investigator through the Connecticut State Police, you must first become a state trooper for a minimum of two years. Education requirements for this role demand at least a high school diploma, but again, an associate or bachelor’s degree is highly encouraged.
Training & Certification
Another critical piece of the criminal investigative puzzle – pun intended – is the hands-on training that employers are looking for. A lot of the job is learned in the field, through experience and hands-on training. This is why the state of Connecticut requires its investigators to first become state troopers.
Criminal justice training typically involves classroom instruction in law, civil rights, and ethics, as well as practical experience with patrol, self-defense, first-aid, and more. According to national sources, criminal investigators or detectives usually attend a training academy to become a police officer, before advancing into an investigative position. However, you can also pursue a criminal justice degree to further your skill set. Goodwin’s criminal justice program, for example, covers everything from criminology to corrections, juvenile justice to psychology, as well as requires students to pursue an in-field internship at organizations across Connecticut (The Red Cross, the Connecticut Judicial Branch, and the Police and Fire Departments of Hartford are just a few of the many favorited internship locations).
In order to become a private investigator in Connecticut, you must obtain the proper license. The state requires all PIs to have the Connecticut Association of Licensed Private Investigators (CALPI).
Criminal Investigator Skills
While it is important to obtain the education and training in preparation for your career as a criminal investigator, you will also need a very specific set of skills for the job. Employers are looking for those with excellent:
- Judgement and decision-making
- Oral and written communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Investigative ability
- Interpersonal skills
- Interviewing skills
- Basic computer skills
As you set out to pursue this exciting criminal justice career, you will want to find a credible college to get you going. A career-focused school, such as Goodwin College, will equip you with the knowledge and skills required to enter the force. Our professors include veteran cops, lawyers, and investigators, with years of experience more valuable than any textbook.
If you are interested in learning more about the Criminal Justice program at Goodwin College, contact us today at 1-800-889-3282 or visit us online.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.