Online Private Investigator Degree Programs
There are several different types of private and criminal detectives, and depending on which type of detective a student is considering as a career, a college degree is often necessary. However, students can earn entry-level positions in this field without degrees via on the job experience.
Private/criminal detective positions are usually a good fit for people who are resourceful and inquisitive, and who have a penchant for preserving the law. One of the ways to gain valuable experience in this field is to work in either law enforcement or in the military. Different types of private/criminal investigators include computer forensics investigators, corporate investigators, financial investigators, legal investigators, and hotel or store detectives (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Online Private/Criminal Detective Degrees Available
- Associate degrees —2 years.
- Bachelor’s degrees —4 years
Online associate degrees for private/criminal detectives are usually found at community and junior colleges. These programs contain a liberal arts component in which students will study subjects not necessarily pertaining to their major. The coursework related to private/criminal detectives will largely vary depending on which area of specialization an individual is attempting to pursue.
Most associate degree programs in this field require students to learn about criminal justice political science, or police science. Those looking to become financial investigators, for example, will likely take courses in management structure, business, and finance.
Online bachelor degree programs for private/criminal detectives are usually found at colleges and universities. These programs also have a liberal arts component. Most students fulfill these general education requirements during their first two years and focus on he coursework for their major during their final two years.
Computer forensics investigators and corporate investigators are typically required to have a bachelor degree. The coursework pertaining to the former involves classes in both computer and investigative concepts, with an emphasis of different software programs. Corporate investigators may take classes related to accounting, business, and finance (BLS).
Admission requirements for online associate degrees for private/criminal detectives are less stringent than those for bachelor degrees. The former requires students to have completed high school or to earn a high school diploma equivalency. Students may also be required to send in their transcripts. The latter requires students to send in their transcripts and to fulfill written criteria such as essays or short answer questions that are used to determine a student’s aptitude for success at an institution. Students are also required to take college admissions tests which, in combination with their grade point averages, present the primary basis for admission.
Differences Between Traditional and Online Private/Criminal Detective Degrees
Depending on what area of specialization a student is looking to pursue, there are varying degrees of difference between classroom and distance programs in this field. Students interested in becoming computer forensics students will greatly benefit from traditional learning which will allow them to use the latest equipment and software pertaining to their profession. However, most programs present the same information for students in distance or classroom based education.
Depending on what sort of degree a student is pursuing and how prestigious the institution offering the program is, there is quite a variety in tuition for private/criminal detective degree programs. Some associate degree programs can be financed for under $1,000 a year, while more competitive bachelor degree programs may cost upwards of $20,000 a year. Students should generally plan on spending at least $10,000 per year for a bachelor degree in this field.
There is no single entity that focuses on accrediting private/criminal detective degree programs. These programs are accredited by regional or national agencies. Regional agencies specialize in accrediting institutions in one section of the country, whereas national agencies, such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, sanction programs across the country. Individual degree programs as well as entire institutions can be accredited by these entities.
Choosing the Best Degree for You
The area of specialization that students are looking to work in will largely determine what degree to pursue. Candidates interested in working as financial or corporate investigators may want to earn a bachelor’s degree in related subjects such as accounting or business. Other candidates who are involved in less specialized private/criminal investigator work may simply want to earn a degree in criminal justice. Students looking to earn entry-level positions with average employers will simply need a bachelor’s degree, while bachelor’s degrees are beneficial for those looking to earn advanced positions with more prestigious employers.