Homicide Investigator: Job Description & Salary

Discover how to become a homicide investigator. Learn about job duties, education requirements, salary, and job outlook to see if you've still interested in this career. Schools offering Law Enforcement degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Homicide investigators, also referred to as detectives, gather information as it pertains to criminal murder investigations. Investigators usually get promoted to this rank after years of reputable work as a police officer. Check out the table below for quick info on the requirements and responsibilities of this career.

Education Required High school diploma at a minimum; associate's or bachelor's degree preferred
Educational Field of Study Law enforcement, criminal justice, or a similar field
Training Required Training academy
Key Responsibilities Communication skills, leadership skills, perceptiveness, good judgment, physical strength and stamina
Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5% (detectives and criminal investigators)
Median Salary (2018)* $63,380 (detectives and criminal investigators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Homicide Investigators Do?

Homicide investigators are responsible for collecting facts and evidence pertaining to criminal homicide cases. As investigators, they conduct interviews with potential witnesses and suspects, review records, monitor the activities of suspects, and participate in arrests. Homicide investigators are usually assigned cases and continue to work on them until an arrest has been made and a trial has ended.

What Are The Education Requirements?

All applicants wishing to become homicide investigators must have at least a high school diploma, with many departments requiring or preferring candidates to have some college coursework or a degree in law enforcement, criminal justice or a similar field. Those who possess an associate's or bachelor's degree increase their chances of being hired or promoted.

What Are The Training Requirements?

Nearly all investigators start their careers as police officers before being promoted to the rank of investigator. Most homicide investigator candidates also must have graduated from their agency's training academy prior to going through the required on-the-job training. Training includes a blend of classroom instruction, which covers various areas of civil rights, ethics, and law, along with a supervised experience. Additional areas of training can include emergency response, firearm use, and self-defense.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for detectives and criminal investigators, including homicide investigators, was $63,380 as of May 2018. Homicide investigators tend to work full-time with provisions for overtime as well. The top industries these investigators worked in were the federal, state, and local government, as well as state, local, and private educational services.

What Is The Job Outlook?

The BLS projects the role of detectives and criminal investigators to experience growth of 5% between 2018-2028 which is on par with the average among all occupations. There may be slight variations in demand for employment as driven primarily by local and state budgets. However, the push for continued public safety will ensure this role remains in demand.

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