Being a detective in Pennsylvania means you have to work as an investigator with a law enforcement agency. They collect evidence, interview witnesses & suspects, examine all kinds of records, observe suspects and make arrests to solve a criminal case.

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Should I Become a Detective in Pennsylvania?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics categorizes detectives as Police and Detectives which is further sub-divided into several types. The data reported by the BLS in 2018-19 states that Pennsylvania had an employment number of 2,820 for Detectives and Criminal Investigators. BLS also reported that the decreasing crime rate in the US in recent years does not mean a decline in need for police and detectives because they would still be required to uphold the law.

  • Education Required
  • Major Requirement
  • Licenses/Certifications
  • Experience/Training
  • Key Skills
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-Pennsylvania
  • Annual Mean Salary (2019)-National
  • Job Outlook (2018-28)
  • At least a college degree (i.e., associate’s or bachelor’s degree)
  • Criminal Justice or a related subject
  • Not mandatory
  • Graduating from a relevant training academy is mandatory
  • Physical Stamina & Strength, Empathy, Attention to Detail and Integrity; Communication, Observational, Leadership, Interpersonal and Problem-solving Skills etc.
  • $87,460 (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)
  • $86,030 (Detectives and Criminal Investigators)
  • 5% (Police and Detectives)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth for this career has been predicted at 5% from 2018 to 2028. As per the data reported by the BLS in 2018, there were a total of 808,700 Police & Detectives working in the US, a number which is expected to increase up to 846,200 by 2028.

Steps to Become a Detective in Pennsylvania

If becoming a detective in Pennsylvania is what drives your passion, you can follow this simple guide to achieve your dream!

Educational Requirements

All detectives must have served in law enforcement before taking on the post of a detective. The minimum education required to be a detective in Pennsylvania is a college degree at least. They can complete either a 2-year associate’s degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, Criminology, Law Enforcement, Police Science or a similar subject.

Health and Other Requirements

All police officers who apply for the post of a detective in any law enforcement agency must undergo the following tests or exams.

  • Background Check:Candidates must not have any criminal records that may disqualify them. They must also have a clear credit and employment history that can speak about their good moral character.
  • Polygraph Test & Drug Screening: All candidates are subjected to both of these tests and they must pass both tests for further consideration.
  • Medical, Physical & Psychological Tests: Candidates are also required to go through a thorough medical exam, physical stamina test as well as a psychological exam.

Completion of Police Training

All recruits in law enforcement graduate from a police training academy. The recruits are trained in areas such as state and local law, firearm handling, gathering evidence, traffic control, self-defense, first aid and so on.

Experience in the Field

Usually, police officers who have already been serving in law enforcement agencies for at least a few years are promoted to the position of a detective. Some law enforcement agencies require 3 years of prior service to be considered for this post.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Detective in Pennsylvania?

Becoming a police officer may take you 2 to 3 years but to get to the position of a detective you may need additional 3 to 4 years or may be more. It depends on the level of education and experience you have gained.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Detective in Pennsylvania?

To work as a detective in Pennsylvania, you must:

  • Be 21 years old (at least) and a legal US citizen
  • Have a college degree in Criminal Justice or a related subject
  • Have excellent communication and English Language skills
    • Having knowledge of foreign language is beneficial
  • Graduate from Police Academy after passing the interview and other relevant tests

For detailed requirements, please visit the official state website.

How Much Can I Make as a Detective in Pennsylvania?

In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported $87,460 as the annual mean salary of Detectives and Criminal Investigators employed in Pennsylvania.

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