Education Requirements For Becoming A Detective

For an applicant to get selected into any job, it is necessary that he or she meets the education requirements along with a few others. It ensures a standard of quality among employees and other personnel. When one talks about the position of a detective, mere education is not enough to qualify someone. A lot of other things are taken into consideration to ensure that only the “crème de la crème” or the best of the best are selected. Let’s explore these requirements.

What are the Requirements to Become a Detective?


The detectives that are promoted from police officers usually need only a high school degree. However, nowadays, police departments are realizing the emphasis of higher education. Some departments require their applicants to have a college degree in criminal law, criminal justice, criminology or related fields.

This might be an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. Some departments even offer a bigger financial package to motivate people to go for such options. Such degrees are also required at the federal level.

For private detectives, such degrees show the how good someone is. Also, since most private detectives need to first have had previous experience in similar roles, these degrees are necessary either way.


People from the police department need to be squeaky clean in terms of criminal records. They must undergo a background check stricter than any other job out there. The police department looks into your credit history, relatives, past connections, previous jobs and everything else you can think of. If they find even a speck of dust in the form of an arrest warrant, you are automatically disqualified as a candidate.

Drug consumption or distribution charges, a misdemeanor, domestic violence and probably even jaywalking, any charge against you that hasn’t been pardoned gets you rejected immediately. They cannot have law breakers patrolling the city trying to uphold the law and catch criminals. You are also required to prove your credentials with valid documents and a polygraph test.

It is quite similar for private detectives. However, people might not go to such extents to validate your credentials. It all depends on the client you’re working for or the agency you’re applying to. They might decide to a hire a different private detective to dig into your past.


Experience plays a vital role in the deductive skills of any detective. As a public detective, one gains experience as a police officer observing different types of crimes and figuring out the general pattern in these. The more cases a detective has undertaken, the more he or she knows about the world and they have that much more tricks up their sleeves. Thus, some police officers need to spend at least 2 to 5 years before they are qualified enough to become a detective.

As far as a private detective is concerned, the number of cases they have solved goes to show how experienced they are. In the case of some private detectives, they are supposed to keep their cases discreet. In such cases, clients will just have to trust them and take their word for it.

Technical skills

A detective needs to have several skills and qualities to become a successful one. These include

  • spatial awareness
  • punctuality
  • patience
  • bravery
  • creative thinking
  • perceptiveness
  • communication

There are several other skills that one can learn to improve their quality of work. But they vary from one detective to other and that’s what makes them unique and specialized in certain fields.

Medical and Physical

A detective, private or public needs to be physically and medically to perform at optimum levels. If they have respiratory diseases or lack endurance, they cannot chase after the perpetrators. Any medical condition might affect their ability to work properly. For example, having vertigo might deteriorate their high-altitude surveillance skills. Or, having claustrophobia might not let a person spy on people from compact concealed places. A detective who has the license to carry a firearm is should also be skillful enough to use it and hit his or her target.

Evident as it is, it is not easy to become a detective. Not everyone is cut out to become one. If you think you fulfill these requirements and then some, feel free to apply right away. Find out how long it takes to become a detective now!

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