You might have played as an Investigator when you were a child, and if you plan to take this professionally, you are welcome to do so. Playing an essential role in law enforcement and criminal justice, you will solve open cases as an Investigator. You will collect evidence, interview witnesses, and arrest suspects.

You are doing an important job, so there are special skills that you really need to have. First of all, you need to have good communication skills in order to clearly and efficiently deliver your thoughts and messages. You also need to have empathy; you need to put aside differences and not be biased at all times. Lastly, you need to have good judgment. You might get confused at times, but you still need to use the best of your ability to decide the best option there is.

You can earn an average salary of $59,669 as an Investigator. You can also take on other roles like being a Case Manager, a Clinical Supervisor, and a Clinical Director if this is the path you plan to pursue.

What Does an Investigator Do

There are certain skills that many investigators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, empathy and good judgment.

Learn more about what an Investigator does

How To Become an Investigator

If you're interested in becoming an investigator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 62.0% of investigators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 12.2% of investigators have master's degrees. Even though most investigators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become an Investigator

Investigator Career Paths

Average Salary for an Investigator

Investigators in America make an average salary of $71,406 per year or $34 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $119,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $42,000 per year.
Average Investigator Salary
$71,406 Yearly
$34.33 hourly
$42,000
10 %
$71,000
Median
$119,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Investigator Education

Investigator Majors

12.1 %

Investigator Degrees

Bachelors

62.0 %

Associate

13.9 %

Masters

12.2 %

Top Colleges for Investigators

1. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

2. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

3. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

4. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

5. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

6. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$26,756
Enrollment
6,166

7. SUNY at Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,011
Enrollment
13,434

8. Western Carolina University

Cullowhee, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$3,926
Enrollment
9,835

9. SUNY College at Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,369
Enrollment
5,229

10. SUNY College at Oswego

Oswego, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,440
Enrollment
7,039

Top Skills For an Investigator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 10.9% of investigators listed investigative reports on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and empathy are important as well.

  • Investigative Reports, 10.9%
  • Law Enforcement, 8.6%
  • Child Abuse, 7.1%
  • Customer Service, 5.3%
  • Ensure Compliance, 4.9%
  • Other Skills, 63.2%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Investigator Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Investigator templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Investigator resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Investigator Demographics

Investigator Gender Distribution

Male
Male
57%
Female
Female
43%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among investigators, 43.4% of them are women, while 56.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among investigators is White, which makes up 60.7% of all investigators.

  • The most common foreign language among investigators is Spanish at 60.2%.

Online Courses For Investigator That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
International Law In Action: Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes
coursera

'Investigating and Prosecuting International Crimes' is the second course in Leiden University's new series on International Law in Action. The first course covered international courts and tribunals in The Hague in general. This second course provides an insider perspective into the work of international criminal courts and tribunals. You will learn about the investigation and prosecution of international crimes in The Hague. Atrocities produce unspeakable forms of violence. We will explore whe...

Investigative Journalism
udemy
4.2
(299)

How to find hidden sources. How to look for documents and people...

IFCI Expert Cybercrime Investigator's Course
udemy
4.3
(405)

Protect your network - Put cybercriminals in jail. Learn computer forensics, malware analysis and hacker investigations...

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Best States For an Investigator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an investigator. The best states for people in this position are California, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. Investigators make the most in California with an average salary of $99,885. Whereas in Montana and Oregon, they would average $90,498 and $85,458, respectively. While investigators would only make an average of $84,924 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. California

Total Investigator Jobs:
2,250
Highest 10% Earn:
$166,000
Location Quotient:
1.23 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Montana

Total Investigator Jobs:
87
Highest 10% Earn:
$151,000
Location Quotient:
1.2 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. District of Columbia

Total Investigator Jobs:
162
Highest 10% Earn:
$162,000
Location Quotient:
1.54 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Investigators

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Top Investigator Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ investigators and discovered their number of investigator opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Department of Homeland Security was the best, especially with an average salary of $83,988. Glaxosmithkline follows up with an average salary of $62,049, and then comes Novartis with an average of $121,672. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an investigator. The employers include CVS Health, Catalent Pharma Solutions, and Molina Healthcare

Investigator Videos

Becoming an Investigator FAQs

Do investigators get paid well?

Yes, investigators get paid well. The average salary for investigators is about $59,000 yearly or $28.69 hourly.

As most jobs go, factors like location, industry, and experience can determine your exact salary. On the lower end of the salary range, they may make around $40,000, typically for entry-level positions or low-paying states like Mississippi and Alabama. On the higher end of the salary range, they can earn around $88,000, typically for senior-level positions.

How long does it take to become an investigator?

It takes at least two to four years to become an investigator. Some places of employment may hire a high school graduate and provide on-the-job training, but typically, employers look for college graduates who majored in criminal justice.

Is an investigator a detective?

No, an investigator is not a detective. Although they have similar responsibilities and may perform similar duties, investigators have more freedom in who they work for and what kind of cases they take on. In contrast, a detective generally works for law enforcement and handles criminal cases.

Is it hard to become an investigator?

No, it is not hard to become an investigator. The expected educational requirement and prior relevant experience are usually not too hard to obtain.

It can take at least two to four years to become an investigator after graduating from high school. Some places of employment may hire a high school graduate and provide on-the-job training. Still, typically, employers look for college graduates who majored in criminal justice or law enforcement.

What are the types of investigators?

The types of investigators vary but typically have to do with truth-seeking to comply with law, regulations, and justice.

Common Investigator Positions:

  1. Fraud investigator: Specializes in investigating and identifying fraudulent activities within a company and its clients.

  2. Criminal investigator: Specializes in the information and evidence of a crime scene, conducts interviews and searches or performs surveillance.

  3. Background investigator: Specializes in researching and verifying potential hires' information.

  4. Claim investigator: Specializes in examining facts of insurance claims to determine their extent and validity to prevent any fraud cases.

  5. Credit investigator: Specializes in investigating credit history and standing of businesses and individuals by obtaining relevant financial data.

What does a private investigator do?

A private investigator finds and verifies personal, financial, or legal information on behalf of clients who may be individuals or organizations.

Depending on the area of expertise, the work of a private investigator varies from searching for various persons to looking for evidence for potential criminal acts or corporate irregularities. In general, a private investigator also referred to as a field investigator, is usually hired to observe a given situation, investigate a case, and provide physical evidence to validate the nature of happenings.

What is an investigator job?

An investigator job is about solving open cases, typically playing an essential role in criminal justice and law enforcement.

Collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, and arresting suspects are among their many tasks. Some examples of responsibilities include collaborating with federal agencies such as the FBI and IRS, planning and supervising efforts to enhance the conduct of law enforcement, and writing detailed case reports to submit to the appropriate agencies.

What qualifications do I need to become a criminal investigator?

The qualification you need to become a criminal investigator is a postsecondary education in criminal justice, criminology, or a similar field.

Additionally, you generally need prior experiences in a related field, such as law enforcement or military officer. You can obtain certifications to boost your expertise, such as Certified Fraud Examiner by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners or the Professional Certified Investigator by ASIS International. Furthermore, depending on the state, you may be required to be licensed, typically after you've had some form of postsecondary education and work experience. Also, having excellent skills in communication and decision-making would be advantageous.

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