What You Need to Know About Criminal Investigator or Special Agent
Position Description Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
Life As a Criminal Investigator or Special Agent
- Issue security clearances.
- Prepare reports that detail investigation findings.
- Investigate organized crime, public corruption, financial crime, copyright infringement, civil rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, and other violations of federal or state statutes.
- Collaborate with other offices and agencies to exchange information and coordinate activities.
- Serve subpoenas or other official papers.
- Manage security programs designed to protect personnel, facilities, and information.
Things a Criminal Investigator or Special Agent Should Know How to Do
These are the skills Criminal Investigators and Special Agents say are the most useful in their careers:
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Related Job Titles
- Gang Investigator
- Police Officer
- FBI Special Agent (Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent)
- Detective Sergeant
- Cyber Special Agent
Criminal Investigator or Special Agent Job Outlook
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 110,900 jobs in the United States for Criminal Investigator or Special Agent. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 4.5% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,000 new jobs for Criminal Investigator or Special Agent by 2026. There will be an estimated 7,500 positions for Criminal Investigator or Special Agent per year.
The states with the most job growth for Criminal Investigator or Special Agent are Nevada, Utah, and Arkansas. Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Maryland, or Wyoming. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Salary for a Criminal Investigator or Special Agent
Criminal Investigators and Special Agents make between $43,800 and $138,860 a year.
Criminal Investigators and Special Agents who work in District of Columbia, Alaska, or Hawaii, make the highest salaries.
How much do Criminal Investigators and Special Agents make in each U.S. state?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$122,460|
What Tools & Technology do Criminal Investigators and Special Agents Use?
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Criminal Investigators and Special Agents:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft Outlook
- Web browser software
- Microsoft Access
- Email software
- Graphics software
- ESRI ArcView
- Corel WordPerfect
- National Crime Information Center NCIC database
- Law enforcement information databases
- Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
- National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN
- Crime mapping software
- Computer aided composite drawing software
- Case management software
How to Become a Criminal Investigator or Special Agent
Learn what Criminal Investigator or Special Agent education requirements there are.
How many years of work experience do I need?
Where Criminal Investigators and Special Agents Are Employed
The table below shows the approximate number of Criminal Investigators and Special Agents employed by various industries.
Those interested in being a Criminal Investigator or Special Agent may also be interested in:
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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