Career Profile: Detectives and Criminal Investigators
Crime stories are popular on television and in movies and books. Many people enjoy seeing how the detective puts the clues together to discover the truth and to bring the case to a close. Working as a detective or criminal investigator in real life is not as simple as that, but it can be a satisfying career.
Becoming a detective or criminal investigator often starts with being a member of a police department. A good way to begin is to train at a police academy and then join the police force as a constable. Canada has eight schools where people can get this training, including the Canadian Police College in Ottawa and the Saskatchewan Police College in Regina. If you choose to go into the national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, you can train at the academy in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Once you finish your training, you should plan to spend two or three years as a constable, working with everyday police tasks such as writing out traffic tickets and helping people who have been robbed or have been in accidents. Then you can let your supervisors know that you want to become a detective and start working in that division as an assistant. You will likely work closely with a detective constable or sergeant as you learn the work.
Knowledge is an important part of being a detective or criminal investigator, and many people in this field begin by getting a bachelor’s degree. Some police forces require only a high school diploma for this job, but others require college or university degrees. In high school, English courses will help you learn to write well, and courses in statistics or mathematics can also be helpful. In university, criminology or criminal justice are the most common subjects that people choose, but specialties like political science or sociology are also possible.
Many universities in Canada offer degrees in fields related to this work. For example, Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, offers a degree in forensic science. The University of Lethbridge in Alberta and the University of Guelph in Ontario have degrees in criminal justice, and Western University in London, Ontario has studies in criminology. Almost any university offers other degrees that would be helpful in this field.
The work of a detective or criminal investigator is a mixture of very detailed physical work, conversations, and analysis. Often, detective or criminal investigators collect evidence and interview witnesses. Later, they write reports, prepare search or arrest warrants, and arrest suspects. Working regular hours is often possible at this stage, but people in this field often have to respond to calls whenever they come, even in the middle of the night.
The job of detective or criminal investigator might seem exciting on television, but parts of the job might be very different from what people imagine. Writing reports can be mentally tiring and somewhat dull, and some crime scenes could be difficult for people to handle, especially at first. Still, the job is a very important one for solving crime and keeping people safe. Why not consider it as an option?
Career Trend. “How to Become a Detective in Canada.” https://careertrend.com/how-4854838-become-detective-canada.htm.
Payscale Canada. “Detectives and Criminal Investigators.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Detective_or_Criminal_Investigator/Salary.
Province of Nova Scotia. “Training Programs for Public Policing in Canada.” https://novascotia.ca/just/Policing_Services/training.asp.
Roufa, Timothy. “Being a Detective or Criminal Investigator.” The Balance Careers. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/detective-and-criminal-investigator-job-information-974467.
Study Portals. “Bachelors Degrees in Criminology.” https://www.bachelorsportal.com/study-options/269353236/criminology-canada.html