Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Criminal Investigators in Houston, Texas

Criminal investigators can find many career and educational opportunities in the Houston, Texas area. About 13,100 people are currently employed as criminal investigators in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow 30% to 16,990 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for criminal investigators are expected to grow by about 16.6%. Criminal investigators generally investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.

Criminal investigators earn about $25 per hour or $53,790 per year on average in Texas and about $29 hourly or $60,910 annually on average nationally. Earnings for criminal investigators are better than earnings in the general category of Police and Security in Texas and better than general Police and Security category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: crime investigator special agent, special agent, and unemployment examiner.

There are eighty-one schools of higher education in the Houston area, including six within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can get a degree to start your career as a criminal investigator. Given that the most common education level for criminal investigators is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Houston 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.
  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Forest Fire Lookout. Enforce fire regulations and inspect for forest fire hazards. Report forest fires and weather conditions.
  • 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.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • 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

Galveston College - Galveston, TX

Galveston College, 4015 Ave Q, Galveston, TX 77550-7496. Galveston College is a small college located in Galveston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,232 students. Galveston College has a one to two year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-one students in 2008.

Alvin Community College - Alvin, TX

Alvin Community College, 3110 Mustang Rd, Alvin, TX 77511-4898. Alvin Community College is a small college located in Alvin, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,386 students. Alvin Community College has 2 areas of study related to Criminal Investigator. They are:

  • Criminal Justice/Police Science, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated zero and four students respectively in 2008.
  • Criminalistics and Criminal Science, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.

College of the Mainland - Texas City, TX

College of the Mainland, 1200 Amburn Road, Texas City, TX 77591-2499. College of the Mainland is a small college located in Texas City, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,585 students. College of the Mainland has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated zero and six students respectively in 2008.

San Jacinto Community College - Pasadena, TX

San Jacinto Community College, 8060 Spencer Hwy, Pasadena, TX 77501-2007. San Jacinto Community College is a large college located in Pasadena, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,677 students. San Jacinto Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated three and thirty-nine students respectively in 2008.

Lone Star College System - The Woodlands, TX

Lone Star College System, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399. Lone Star College System is a large college located in The Woodlands, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,331 students. Lone Star College System has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated fourteen students in 2008.

Houston Community College System - Houston, TX

Houston Community College System, 3100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77266-7517. Houston Community College System is a large college located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 48,087 students. Houston Community College System has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-eight and five students respectively 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Houston, Texas

Houston, Texas
Houston, Texas photo by Hequals2henry

Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.