Police Detective Job Description: Salary, Requirements & More

Job Description

Detectives are plainly clothed investigators who gather facts and collect evidence for criminal cases. Some are assigned to inter-agency task forces to combat specific types of crime. They conduct interviews, examine records, observe the activities of suspects, and participate in raids or arrests.

Detectives, inspectors, as well as state and federal agents  usually specialize in investigating one type of violation, such as homicide or fraud. They are assigned cases on a rotating basis and work on them until an arrest and conviction is made or until the case is dropped.

Median Annual Salary

$43,920 – $76,350.

Education Requirements

Law enforcement agencies encourage applicants to take courses or training related to law enforcement subjects after high school. Many entry-level applicants for police jobs have completed some formal post-secondary education and a significant number are college graduates. Many junior colleges, colleges, and universities offer degree programs in law enforcement or administration of justice.

Job Outlook & Employment

Job opportunities in most local police departments will be excellent for qualified individuals, while competition is expected for jobs in state and federal agencies. Employment is expected to grow 11% over the next ten years.

Applicants with military experience or college training in police science will have the best opportunities in local and state departments. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree and several years of law enforcement or military experience, especially investigative experience, will have the best opportunities in federal agencies.