If you’re considering a career in criminal investigation, and curious about how to become a detective in Connecticut, there are two paths you can take. Before applying to a Connecticut State Police position, aspiring detectives have the option to:
1) Become a law enforcement officer in a municipal police department or county sheriff’s office,
2) Become a Connecticut state trooper for a minimum of two years.
After completing one of the above initial steps, one can qualify for a detective position in a state or municipal police force.
Connecticut Detective Requirements
Prospective Connecticut police academy recruits, law enforcement officers, and detectives must all meet the following Police Officer and Standards Training (POST) Council criteria:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be at least 21 years old
- Have a high school diploma or GED*
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Pass a written test assessing cognitive and reasoning skills
- Pass an oral interview
- Pass fingerprint processing
- Pass a comprehensive background investigation— Candidates should have no felony convictions or Class A or B misdemeanors. Academic performance, credit, criminal and driving records, employment history, and interpersonal relationships will be questioned.
- Pass a drug test
- Pass a polygraph exam
- Pass a psychological evaluation assessing mental stability
- Demonstrate physical fitness through a medical exam and physical aptitude testing
Individual law enforcement agencies may be stricter than the state minimum.
For instance, career candidates may not be eligible if they have committed an act of perjury or have been dishonorably discharged from the military.
*Although a minimum of high school education is required, a completed college education, such as a criminal justice degree, is highly encouraged and often preferred by employers.
Next, qualified applicants will become police recruits and move on to police academy training.
Connecticut Police Training Requirements
Aspiring Connecticut law enforcement officers must complete basic training at the Connecticut Police Academy or a POST Council-approved training academy. Six Connecticut police departments conduct Post Council-approved basic training programs at their satellite academies; however, 90% of police recruits typically go through the CT Police Academy in Meriden, Connecticut.
Topics in basic training curriculum include crime scene processing, criminal and civil investigation techniques, human relations, patrol procedures, police and the law, and practicing police skills.
Completing the Police Academy in Connecticut will qualify individuals to launch a career in law enforcement. As noted above, with some experience, they can then move into a detective position.
How to Become a Private Detective in Connecticut
Those seeking to become licensed, private detectives in Connecticut must complete different experiential requirements before carrying out their career.
Connecticut has essential requirements for those looking to become private detectives. In order to become a private investigator, a professional license is required. This license must be granted from the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
Applicants for a private detective license must be at least 25 years of age and must have good moral character. Additionally, aspiring private detectives must have experience in the form of:
- At least 5 years full-time experience as a Licensed Private Detective, or
- 5 years full-time experience as a registered Private Investigator, or
- 5 years full-time experience operating a Proprietary Detective Agency, or
- 5 years of full-time experience as an investigator with any Federal State of Local Government, or
- 5 years full-time experience as a Detective with a Federal, State or Local Police Department, or
- Any other recognized 5 years of full-time investigative experience, or
- At least 10 years’ experience as a police officer with a federal, state, or organized municipal police department
Further, CT.gov states that, “The commissioner may, at his discretion, substitute up to one year of experience for a private detective license applicant upon proof of satisfactory participation in a course of instruction pertinent to the license.”
Of course, no license can be issued to any person who has been convicted of any felony, or convicted of certain offenses and recent misdemeanors. Importantly, a private detective license cannot be granted to an applicant currently vested with police powers.
Advantages of Additional Education in Criminal Justice
Whether called to a scene to collect and analyze evidence, identify and interview potential suspects and witnesses, or obtain arrest warrants, police detectives need to know extensive state and federal laws, statutes, rules, and regulations to perform their jobs safely.
When detectives are highly skilled in their profession, attorneys and judges use their reports to aptly administer justice in court — one of many reasons why police departments currently seek college-educated candidates.
Today, public service tuition scholarship programs make it possible for many prospective detectives to earn degrees. At Goodwin University, 25% is taken off tuition costs for students actively employed in law enforcement, corrections, and emergency services.
Even better — flexible class formats like evening courses provide students with families and full-time jobs the opportunity to achieve their professional goals.
Criminal justice students study a compelling program curriculum that instructs on criminal and civil court procedures, ethics, law, psychology, and more. Criminal justice majors also participate in internships to practice career proficiencies in real-world settings. Before walking across the commencement stage, criminal justice graduates have the essential skills they need for employment, as officers and detectives.
The Skillsets of a Successful Connecticut Detective
After completing basic training and being employed as a municipal or state police officer, further professional development is required to maintain Connecticut detective status.
Detectives and criminal investigators must also possess critical thinking and problem-solving strengths, high moral values, interpersonal and interviewing skills, investigative ability, strong reasoning, and the ability to lead others. A criminal justice program can effectively hone these skills in aspiring detectives.
Salary Potential for Professional Detectives in Connecticut
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021, the average annual wage for detectives was $90,370 nationwide.
Additionally, the 2021 top five paying industries for professional detectives were as follows:
- Federal Executive Branch — Average annual salary: $114,040
- Postal Service — Average yearly wage: $104,990
- Local Government (excluding schools and hospitals) — Average annual salary: $78,730
- Colleges, professional schools, and universities — Average yearly wage: $73,680
- State government (excluding schools and hospitals) — Average annual salary: $70,470
In Connecticut, detectives and criminal investigators earn an average of $94,730 annually, exceeding the national average.
Meanwhile, private detectives earn $60,970, on average, across the United States and $67,000 in the state of Connecticut.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that police and detective professions are expected to grow 7% from 2020 to 2030 — resulting in 67,100 new jobs opening annually.
Investing in your education and earning an associate degree in Criminal Justice shows ambition for self-improvement while spotlighting professional initiatives and leadership success to potential employers.
A career as a detective is a worthwhile profession — serving the public and strengthening the power of communities.
Get started on your degree so you can close cases and open all career opportunities that await.
Ready to make a difference in the lives of others as a detective?
Click here to learn more about a career in criminal justice.