If you have an interest in helping people in need and bringing criminals to justice, you may find a career as a police detective or other law enforcement officer to be rewarding.
With an in-depth understanding of the justice system and history of crime in America, you will be equipped to step into your new role.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at six key steps to help you get started on this exciting career path.
6 Essential Steps to Kickstart Your Career as a Police Detective
1. Pursue an education beyond high school
Although only some agencies may require a college degree, a solid educational background can equip you to succeed in this versatile career field. Particularly if you are interested in promoting or moving around within your career, a college education is a great approach that comes with many benefits, including advanced skills and knowledge, hands-on training, and a broader perspective. Many officers have achieved their goals by trying a bachelor’s in criminal justice online as they pursue a career as a detective.
2. Maintain good health
As a law enforcement officer, you should be in good health. By dedicating your efforts towards maintaining good health, you will ensure you are ready and fit for the job ahead of you. Not only is it important to be in good physical condition, it’s also important to establish habits and routines that will improve your overall health, including making sure you get enough sleep, proper diet, exercise, and more.
3. Gain experience
One of the best ways to learn anything is by doing it. In order to become a police detective, it’s important to invest your time in the field of law enforcement to gain valuable experience. Most detectives have climbed the ranks by starting off as patrol officers, learning along the way. You might consider following suit by joining the police force as a patrol officer before stepping into your role as a detective.
4. Specialize in a chosen field
Have you considered a field of interest as a police detective? In your new role, you may work in designated departments ranging from narcotics to homicide. By specializing in a certain area, you can develop a deeper understanding and expertise in this career field, opening the door to unique opportunities as a detective. By demonstrating your interest and expertise in a specific area, you will become the go-to and preferred candidate when the right position opens up.
5. Seek promotion
Once you’ve spent some time serving in this career field and gained some experience, you can begin to apply for the role of detective. While this process typically involves passing written and physical exams, as well as showing competence in your work, you will be better equipped compared to other candidates based on previous experience and background knowledge. As you build a solid reputation for yourself, you will also gain the respect, trust, and admiration of your colleagues, which will assist you in getting promoted.
6. Invest in continual learning
Once you’ve achieved the rank of detective, it’s important to invest in ongoing education. With continuous changes in the legal system and the development of new techniques, a commitment to professional development is key and will help you be successful in your new career. By joining professional organizations and taking advantage of professional development opportunities provided by your employer, you will avoid frustration and replace it with deeper knowledge and fulfillment by learning about effective strategies and resources to employ in your line of work.
There are many steps that will kickstart your career as a police detective. From pursuing a college degree, where you can enhance your learning and gain hands-on experience, to focusing on a specialized unit, you can step into this exciting career field with confidence. Not only will you contribute to the safety and well-being of your community in your new role as a detective, but you will also have the opportunity to mentor others who are on the same journey.