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Want to become a legal investigator? Read this job description & discover the salary, training & education needed to have a legal criminal investigator career.
First off, you need to be the kind of person who pays close attention to detail, is available to work long (sometimes very long) hours, and who has a background in the world of criminal justice (either with professional experience or formal training).
If you fit that bill, take the time to consider a legal investigator career. It not only pays well, it's not only widely available across the country, and it not only allows you the variety of a job that doesn't require you to sit in a cubicle all day!
It's also an integral part of our justice system, working tirelessly to free the innocent, incarcerate the guilty, and make our world a better place to live in.
In short, it's a very rewarding career.
First things first: what exactly is a legal investigator? That's a simple question with a complex answer. Because a legal criminal investigator isn't merely one thing--he or she works on a number of different tasks, in a myriad of different ways, and utilizes an entire toolbox of tactics to get the job done.
In brief, the legal criminal investigator is a kind of detective that works for members of the legal system (law firm, attorneys, etc.) to help accelerate a case towards its desired end.
To do this, the investigator may:
The legal criminal investigator may also be called to the witness stand during a trial, depending on what he or she finds during the course of an investigation.
And while this all may sound as exciting as a police procedural on network television, you should also bear in mind that the investigator's main course of action is research, research, research. This can require long hours at the library, the law firm, or at home with stacks of legal documents. And speaking of legal documents, the investigator is frequently called upon to prepare those for aides, paralegals, attorneys, or judges.
It isn't a life of intrigue, so much as a life of focusing in on the details.
For most places of employment, the law investigator only needs to have possession of a high school diploma to be hired. But these days, employers are looking more and more for potential investigators who have a college degree (preferably in criminal justice or political science).
If you are thinking about becoming a legal criminal investigator, it would be wise to make sure you are educated enough to contend with (and maybe even outdo) your competition.
But don't worry, this doesn't mean you have to drop everything in your life to go back to college for four years. There's a great solution many don't even consider: online schooling.
By attending college online, at any number of different institutions, you can:
It's a really smart move to make if you don't have the desire to completely uproot your life. And applying is easy! Do yourself a favor, and keep it in mind.
The legal investigator pay grade really varies according to who you're working for, where you're working, how much experience you have, and how well you do your work.
For instance, if you are a first-year investigator working for the district attorney in rural Indiana, you're going to be making a lot less per year than a ten-year veteran employed by a private firm in Chicago.
Here's a sampling of the average legal criminal investigator salary for several places around the country:
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