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Career and Education Opportunities for Criminal Investigators in Birmingham, Alabama

If you want to be a criminal investigator, the Birmingham, Alabama area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 1,330 people are currently employed as criminal investigators in Alabama. By 2016, this is expected to grow 26% to about 1,670 people employed. This is better than the national trend for criminal investigators, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.6% over the next eight years. In general, criminal investigators investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.

Income for criminal investigators is about $21 per hour or $44,090 annually on average in Alabama. Nationally, their income is about $29 per hour or $60,910 yearly. Criminal investigators earn more than people working in the category of Police and Security generally in Alabama and more than people in the Police and Security category nationally. Jobs in this field include: border police, narcotics agent, and unemployment inspector.

There are fifteen schools of higher education in the Birmingham area, including two within twenty-five miles of Birmingham where you can get a degree to start your career as a criminal investigator. Criminal investigators usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years studying to be a criminal investigator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Criminal Investigator

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

Criminal investigators obtain and verify evidence by interviewing and observing suspects and witnesses or by analyzing records. They also collaborate with other offices and agencies to share data and direct efforts. Equally important, criminal investigators have to record evidence and documents, using equipment such as cameras and photocopy machines. They are often called upon to testify before grand juries concerning criminal activity investigations. They are expected to ready reports that detail investigation findings. Finally, criminal investigators identify case issues and evidence needed, on the basis of analysis of charges or allegations of law violations.

Every day, criminal investigators are expected to be able to piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for criminal investigators to analyze evidence in laboratories or in the field. They are often called upon to serve subpoenas or other official papers. They also investigate organized crime, public corruption, financial crime, copyright infringement, civil rights violations and other violations of federal or state statutes. They are sometimes expected to design relationships with informants to obtain data pertaining to cases. Somewhat less frequently, criminal investigators are also expected to obtain and use search and arrest warrants.

Criminal investigators sometimes are asked to furnish protection for individuals, such as government leaders and visiting foreign dignitaries. They also have to be able to administer counterterrorism and counternarcotics reward programs And finally, they sometimes have to furnish protection for individuals, such as government leaders and visiting foreign dignitaries.

Like many other jobs, criminal investigators must have exceptional integrity and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Birmingham include:

  • Bailiff. Maintain order in courts of law.
  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • Correctional Officer. Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Police Officer. Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
  • Police Records Officer. Collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Private Investigator. Detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.
  • Transportation Security Officer. Inspect baggage or cargo and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into secure areas or onto aircraft.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Criminal Investigator Training

Jefferson State Community College - Birmingham, AL

Jefferson State Community College, 2601 Carson Rd, Birmingham, AL 35215-3098. Jefferson State Community College is a medium sized college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,718 students. Jefferson State Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated nine and thirteen students respectively in 2008.

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus - Birmingham, AL

Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus, 3060 Wilson Rd SW, Birmingham, AL 35221-1717. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus is a small college located in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,507 students. Lawson State Community College-Birmingham Campus has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated five students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Medical Investigator: The spectrum of professions involved in forensic investigation has broadened dramatically over the past 20 years.

For more information, see the American College of Forensic Examiners website.

Certified Corrections Manager - Security Threat Groups: Individuals who head a Security Threat Group (STG) program in an adult or juvenile corrections facility, contribute to the development of agency policies/procedures pertaining to STGs, and are involved in the implementation of these policies/procedures.

For more information, see the American Correctional Association website.

Certified Fraud Examiner: The ACFE established and administers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

For more information, see the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners website.

Computer Forensics: The primary goals we have for our certification programs are to both assist law enforcement and organizations requiring highly skilled investigators in the identification of highly skilled individuals, and to promote the training and education efforts within the computer investigation, computer forensic and computer security industries.

For more information, see the Cyber Enforcement Resources Incorporated website.

Certified Cyber-Crime Expert: High-profile cases of corporate malfeasance and increased attention paid to cybercrime and cyberterrorism have elevated electronic evidence discovery to an indispensable component of any organization's security plan.

For more information, see the E-Business Process Solutions website.

LICENSES

Polygraph Examiner

Licensing agency: AL Polygraph Examiners Board
Address: P O Box 1511, Montgomery, AL 36102-1511

Phone: (334) 353-1881
Website: AL Polygraph Examiners Board

LOCATION INFORMATION: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama photo by Eric_in_SF

Birmingham is located in Jefferson County, Alabama. It has a population of over 228,798, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Birmingham, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Birmingham cost $187,300 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, one hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Birmingham, down from two hundred thirty-two the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Birmingham are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 24 minutes. More than 18.5% of Birmingham residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Birmingham is 12.5%, which is greater than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Birmingham residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.1%, is more than both the national and state average. Williams Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Westminister Presbyterian Church and West End Methodist Church are all churches located in Birmingham. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Birmingham is home to the Mineral Park Municipal Golf Course and the Cooper Green Golf Course as well as Avondale Mills Park and Smithfield Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Acipco Shopping Center, Altadena Square Shopping Center and Parkway East Huffman Shopping Center. Visitors to Birmingham can choose from Marriott Hotel Birmingham, Rime Garden Extended Stay Suites and Studioplus for temporary stays in the area.