Career Details for Criminal Investigators & Special Agents

Criminal Investigators & Special Agents

Also called:

Criminal Investigator, Detective, Investigator, Special Agent

What they do:

Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.

On the job, you would:

  • Prepare reports that detail investigation findings.
  • Obtain and verify evidence by interviewing and observing suspects and witnesses or by analyzing records.
  • Identify case issues and evidence needed, based on analysis of charges, complaints, or allegations of law violations.

lightbulb KNOWLEDGE

Safety and Government

  • law and government
  • public safety and security


  • customer service
  • administrative services

Arts and Humanities

  • English language

Education and Training

  • teaching and course design

pencil SKILLS

Basic Skills

  • thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem
  • listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions

Problem Solving

  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it


  • understanding people's reactions
  • changing what is done based on other people's actions



  • communicate by speaking
  • listen and understand what people say

Ideas and Logic

  • make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
  • use rules to solve problems


  • do two or more things at the same time
  • pay attention to something without being distracted

Hearing and Speech

  • speak clearly


People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.

  • Integrity
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Self Control
  • Dependability
  • Attention to Detail
  • Cooperation


You might use software like this on the job:

Data base user interface and query software

  • Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
  • Law enforcement information databases

Electronic mail software

  • Email software
  • Microsoft Outlook

Graphics or photo imaging software

  • Computer aided composite drawing software
  • Graphics software


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high school diploma/GED or
some college usually needed

suitcase JOB OUTLOOK


New job opportunities are likely in the future.


per year, on average
See more details at O*NET OnLine about Criminal Investigators & Special Agents
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