Criminal Investigators and Special Agents: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Criminal Investigators career information
pros and cons of being a Criminal Investigator and Special Agent

Criminal Investigators and Special Agents

investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.

$85020
Salary
74%
Job Satisfaction
Not Too Hard
Becoming One
Low
Job Growth
Suitable Personality

Criminal Investigators and Special Agents

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and More


In this career summary, you will find out what the job of a Criminal Investigator and Special Agent is about and what it is like.

After reading this, you will have a good idea on what the job is about and decide if this is the right career for you.



Job description

Criminal Investigators and Special Agents investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.


    Read more about what does a Criminal Investigator and Special Agent really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.




    Become one

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    Salary

    Average salary
    $85020 per year

    Average hourly wage
    $41 per hour


    Criminal Investigators with little to no experience tend to make between $43800 and $57560 while the more experienced ones can earn over $107000 per year.

    Top 5 paying statesHourlyAnnual
    DC$59$122,460
    AK$57$118,360
    CA$52$107,120
    HI$51$107,010
    NJ$49$102,600

    One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Criminal Investigator and Special Agent is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Criminal Investigators are DC, AK, CA, HI and NJ.

    However a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

    Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Criminal Investigator and Special Agent is the degree you hold, the industry you work in and lastly the company you work for.



    Requirements

    Recommended degree level
    High School Diploma (or GED)

    We asked other Criminal Investigators what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a High School Diploma followed by a College Certificate.

    Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

    Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Protective Services
    Criminal Justice/Police Science
    Criminalistics and Criminal Science
    Law Enforcement Investigation and Interviewing
    Law Enforcement Record-Keeping and Evidence Management

    Read more about how to become a Criminal Investigator and Special Agent and the degree, training and education you need.



    Pros and Cons

    Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Criminal Investigator and Special Agent.

    PROS
    Suitable for people who likes to start and carry out projects
    Suitable for people who values achievements and are results-oriented
    This career is perfect for people who love to work both indoors and outdoors.
    It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
    CONS
    Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
    Demand for this career is growing very slowly
    Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)



    What is the job like

    Job satisfaction
    74%

    Is this job meaningful
    78%


    74% of Criminal Investigators said they were satisfied with their job and 78% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.



    Is this right for me

    Best personality for this career
    The Entrepreneurs and The Thinkers


    You can read more about these career personality types here.

    People who are suitable for this job tends to like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business..

    They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.



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