How to Become a Homicide Detective [Steps and Requirements]

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How to Become a Homicide Detective

How to become a homicide detective? Many young people are dreaming of being a detective. So, here we present the most actionable guideline for you. Before that, let’s discuss a bit about homicide detective.

A homicide detective is a law enforcement member who deals with criminal cases related to deaths of various types – mainly deaths involving criminal activities. Being a Homicide Detective is both exciting and challenging.

If you have a knack for mystery and crime and believe you would make a great homicide detective, keep reading to find out what you need to do to become one.

What Does a Homicide Detective Do?

The job of a homicide detective is intense and harrowing. They must be equipped with skills and knowledge to deal with situations that are worthy of nightmares. Homicide detectives must be on alert 24/7 as they could be called to duty to deal with cases at any hour of the day.

They are part of law enforcement that handles some of the most problematic and sensitive issues. Besides the inevitable investigation of deaths, including murder, manslaughter, suicide, etc., they are also obliged to examine gruesome crime scenes, interview criminals, suspects, and witnesses, and pursue justice to the victim.

Despite all the cons, the job is also gratifying and fulfilling. You can bring justice to a victim and their family and put away a criminal who would otherwise wreak more havoc in society.

How Much Do Homicide Detectives Earn?

Homicide Detectives’ salaries fall under different ranges depending upon the experience of individual detectives. The median salary differs in different states. However, the amount falls within the range of $59,781 to $ 117,230 per year.

Here is a rough estimate of how much detectives of different level earn approximately per year:

  • Entry Level (less than one year of experience) – $59,781
  • Early Career (1 – 4 years of experience) – $73,485
  • Mid-Career (5 – 9 years of experience) – $74,297
  • Experienced (10 – 19 years of experience) – $82,888
  • Late Career (more than 20 years of experience) – $117,230

On that note, let me inform you that a homicide detective’s pay can change depending upon their skills. For instance, a homicide detective who has the skill to deal with criminals earns an average salary of $69,930, who can investigate fraud earns an average salary of $65,000, and who has oral/verbal communication skills can earn an average salary of $60,984.

How to Become a Homicide Detective: Step by Step

The process of becoming a homicide detective is lengthy and harrowing. It can be challenging if you’re not committed and dedicated. The training is usually done for two months to six years, depending upon which field you want to focus on and how much experience you can gain and deal with.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Get a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Criminology, Sociology, Psychology, or other related degrees.

Step 2: Attend Police Academy

You must join a Police Academy to get police training and pass all the required and relevant tests.

Step 3: Gain on-the-Job Experience

For a few years, you must work in the police force for three years as a patrol officer before becoming a homicide detective.

Step 4: Improve Your Communication Skills

One of the critical skills you will need to become an expert in communication skills. As a homicide detective, you need to learn to talk with different people involved in the cases and deal with them in dire situations.

Step 5: Work as Field Agent for Experience

While working in the police force, you need to work with actual casework and understand how different cases work.

Step 6: Continue Police Education

It would be best if you continued with your police education as you will gain so much vital knowledge and experiences that will help you on your path to becoming a homicide detective.

Step 7: Pass the Detective Exam

When you think you have trained enough and gained enough experience, you can then sit for the detective exam. Once you pass the exam, you are just a step away from becoming a homicide detective.

Skills You Need to Become a Homicide Detective

To become a homicide detective, you will need a robust set of skills as the job is not the most straightforward in the world. You will have to face and deal with so many different kinds of people along with highly uncomfortable and traumatizing situations. Therefore, honing and gaining new skills is extremely important.

A list of skills that essential to become a successful homicide detective are:

  • Critical thinking
  • Oral Communication
  • Written Communication
  • Problem Solving
  • Multi-tasking
  • Empathy
  • Ethical behavior
  • Resilience
  • Patience
  • Understanding of human psychology and behavior
  • Attention to details

Requirements of Being Homicide Detective

You need to meet various requirements if you want to pursue a career as a homicide detective.

Some of the essential requirements include:

  • Must be 21 years old or older.
  • Be a legal citizen of the US or the country where you want to become a homicide detective.
  • Have a driving license.
  • Must pass the criminal background check.
  • Be fit and in good health physically.

As interesting as the job of a homicide detective sound like, the job is grim and intense. The pressure is high, and work hours are long. However, the job is satisfying and will humble you to become a better person and helping the world make a better place.

Final Words on How to Become a Homicide Detective

Homicide detective as a career is exciting if you are passionate about it. However, our goal in this article is to provide you with the most influential and step-by-step guide you can follow. Read everything we have discussed because all of the information is authentic and well researched.

We hope now you understand how to become a homicide detective. Please feel free to share anything you want us to add about this article. We will be thrilled to hear from you.

FAQ for Becoming a Homicide Detective

People are often asking the guideline and other questions on different platforms about becoming a homicide detective. We thought it would be better if we answer all of your questions at once. It would help the best to understand how to become a homicide detective. Frequently asked questions are discussed below:

Is Being a Homicide Detective Dangerous?

Yes, being a homicide detective can be dangerous as you will have to deal with vicious criminals. It is safer to work discreetly and keep your identity a secret.

Is Homicide Detective a Good Career?

Yes, it is a promising career because they are high in demand and get paid well.

What Type of Schedule Do Homicide Detectives Work?

In new cases, they have to work around the clock at least 12 – 18 hours. Generally, they work 40 hours a week; however, they always call away from duty.

How to Become a Homicide Detective without Being a Cop?

You cannot become a homicide detective without first joining the police force. If you don't want to work as a cop, you can always choose to become a Private Investigator (PI).

What Are the Requirements to Be a Homicide Detective?

There are many requirements (as mentioned in details above), but the main ones are a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and police training.