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How to Become a Detective

Although there are no formal education requirements to become a private detective or investigator, these steps can point any would-be gumshoe in the right direction.


  • Step 1: Take some classes Take classes in criminal justice and police science.
  • Step 2: Study computer science or accounting Study computer science and accounting if you plan to go into computer forensics. A degree in one of these fields will be more valuable than one in criminal justice.
  • Step 3: Get hands-on experience Take a job where you can gain hands-on experience. Most private detectives and investigators acquire their skills on the job.
  • TIP: Most computer forensic investigators receive their training as employees of a law enforcement agency.
  • Step 4: Obtain a license Obtain a license to work as a private investigator if your state requires it.
  • Step 5: Obtain certification Obtain certification from a professional organization once you have acquired some professional experience.
  • FACT: The first police detectives were hired in 1748 in England.

You Will Need

  • Coursework
  • On-the-job training
  • A license
  • Certification

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