Are you a natural problem solver? Do you enjoy digging deep into mysteries to uncover the truth? If so, a career as a detective in law enforcement might be the perfect fit for you. As a detective, you will be responsible for investigating crimes and bringing justice to victims. It can be a challenging and rewarding career path that requires a unique set of skills and talents.

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Should I Become a Detective in New York?

In New York, private detectives have a wide range of career opportunities, from working for private investigation agencies to becoming a self-employed investigator. According to O*Net Online, there is a projected growth rate of 22% for private detectives and investigators in New York between 2020 and 2030, indicating a high demand for talented and experienced detectives in the state. If you are passionate about helping others and enjoy working in a dynamic and fast-paced environment, then these are reasons enough to consider a career in this field. Here’s what the detectives expect from the field.

  • Interesting cases: Every case is unique, and detectives have the opportunity to work on a wide range of cases, from fraud and cybercrime to homicide and missing person cases.
  • Potential for advancement: Detectives can advance their careers through promotion to higher ranks or by specializing in a particular area of investigation.
  • Satisfaction of making a positive impact: Detectives have the ability to make a positive impact on society by helping to bring justice to victims and communities.
  • Education
  • Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2021)-New York
  • Annual Mean Salary (2021) National
  • Job Outlook (2020-30)
  • A college is ideal (i.e., associate’s or bachelor’s degree)
  • Criminology, Criminal Justice or another related subject
  • Not needed
  • Graduate from a Police Training Academy is required
  • Integrity, Attention to Detail, Physical Stamina; Interpersonal, Communication, Leadership, Problem-solving Skillsetc.
  • $66,680 (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)
  • $60,970 (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)
  • 22% (Police and Detectives)

Sources:O*Net Online and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

A 5% employment growth for this career as projected by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2018 to 2028. Moreover,BLS also reportedthat 808,700 Police &Detectiveswere employedacross the US in 2018 and their numbers are expected to grow to846,200by 2028.

Skills Required to Become a Private Detective

To become a private detective, you will need to possess several critical skills, including:

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills: Detectives must be able to analyze complex information, identify patterns, and solve problems to help solve cases.
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills: They must communicate effectively with a variety of people, including witnesses, suspects, and law enforcement officials.
  • The ability to gather and analyze evidence: This includes the ability to collect and analyze physical and digital evidence.
  • A sharp eye for detail: Detectives must be detail-oriented and able to spot small details that may be important to solving a case.
  • Excellent organizational skills: They must keep track of a large amount of information and evidence, often on multiple cases at once.
  • The ability to work independently and as part of a team: They may work alone on some aspects of a case but must also work collaboratively with other law enforcement officials.

Top Schools for Detectives in New York

School Name


Degree OfferedCourses TaughtSkills Learned     Duration
John Jay College of Criminal JusticeBachelor of Science in Criminal JusticeCriminal Investigation, Forensic Science, Criminal Law, CriminologyInvestigative techniques, Critical thinking, Analytical skills, Communication skills4 years
Pace UniversityBachelor of Science in Criminal JusticeCriminal Investigations, Forensic Psychology, Criminal Law, Criminal ProcedureInvestigation and Interrogation, Critical thinking, Research methods, Communication skills4 years
Fordham UniversityMaster of Science in Investigative JournalismInvestigative Reporting, Investigative Techniques, Data Journalism, EthicsInvestigative and research techniques, Data analysis, Writing and communication skills2 years
Columbia UniversityMaster of Science in Data JournalismData Analysis and Visualization, Advanced Reporting Techniques, Ethics, Data PrivacyData analysis and visualization, Storytelling and communication skills, Investigative reporting techniques1.5 years
New York UniversityMaster of Science in Cybersecurity Risk and StrategyCybercrime Investigation, Digital Forensics, Cybersecurity Governance, Risk ManagementCybercrime and digital forensics, Cybersecurity governance and risk management, Communication and analytical skills2 years

Steps to Becoming a Detective in New York

A team of special investigators is employed by the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). If you are interested in knowing how to become a detective in New York, you can begin by looking at these hiring requirements.

1. Get a College Degree

To become qualified for the post of detective, you must have a 2-year associate’s degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, or a similar subject.

2. Pass Health and Fitness Exams

To be considered for the post of a detective, you must pass all of the following tests:

  • Background Check
  • Polygraph Test
  • Drug Screening
  • PhysicalExam
  • Medical Exam
  • Psychological exam
  • State Civil Service Exam etc.

Graduate from Police Training Academy

It is mandatory for all police officers who get recruited by law enforcementagencies toattend and successfully graduate from a police training academy.Training at a Police Academy is a combination of classroom training in areas ofstate & local laws, civil rights andfield training in police patrol, firearms, first-aid and traffic control etc.

Experience in the Field

Normally, officers who have already been working in law enforcement for at least a couple of years are then promoted to the post of detective.However, if you have completed the following criteria you can become a detective as well:

  • Have a college degree worth 60 credits
  • Attended Police Academy
  • Have 2 years of law enforcement/military experience

How Long Does It Take to Become a Detective in New York?

To become a detective may take youapprox. 4-6 years or moredependingupon the type of education you have gained and theamount of field experience you have gathered.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Detective in New York?

To become a detective in New York, there are several requirements you must meet, including:

  • Be a U.S. citizen and at least 21 years old.
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED certificate.
  • Complete a minimum of 60 college credits from an accredited institution or have at least two years of active military service.
  • Complete a law enforcement training program approved by the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services.
  • Have at least three years of experience as a police officer or investigator with a law enforcement agency.
  • Pass a background check, medical examination, and psychological evaluation.
  • Meet physical fitness standards and pass a physical agility test.
  • Possess a valid New York State driver’s license.
  • Complete annual training to maintain certification as a detective.

In addition to these requirements, you must also have a clean criminal record and a good reputation in your community. Becoming a detective in New York requires a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment, but the rewards can be significant for those who are up for the challenge.

How Much Can I Make as a Detective in New York?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics of 2021, the annual mean wage of private detectives and investigators in New York is $66,680. This figure may vary based on several factors such as experience, education, location, and the type of employer.

Private detectives in New York can advance in their careers by acquiring advanced degrees, certifications, or licenses. They can also specialize in different areas such as financial investigations, computer forensics, or fraud detection. With time and experience, private detectives can also establish their own private investigation firms and become their own bosses.

Aside from private investigation roles, detectives in New York can also take on other related job roles such as security analysts, loss prevention specialists, and forensic science technicians. These roles may require additional training or education but can provide opportunities for growth and higher earnings.

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