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Career and Education Opportunities for Criminal Investigators in Seattle, Washington

Criminal investigator career and educational opportunities abound in Seattle, Washington. There are currently 1,550 working criminal investigators in Washington; this should grow by 5% to 1,630 working criminal investigators in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 approximately $35 per hour or $74,610 yearly on average in Washington. Nationally they average about $29 hourly or $60,910 annually. Criminal investigators earn more than people working in the category of Police and Security generally in Washington and more than people in the Police and Security category nationally. Jobs in this field include: drug enforcement agent, counter intelligence agent, and special agent.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including four within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career as a criminal investigator. The most common level of education for criminal investigators is a Bachelor's degree. 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 Seattle 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.
  • 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

Seattle University - Seattle, WA

Seattle University, 900 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122-4340. Seattle University is a medium sized university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,560 students and an admission rate of 65%. Seattle University has a bachelor's degree program in Criminalistics and Criminal Science which graduated three students in 2008.

Olympic College - Bremerton, WA

Olympic College, 1600 Chester Ave, Bremerton, WA 98337-1699. Olympic College is a medium sized college located in Bremerton, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 6,596 students. Olympic College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated five students in 2008.

Everett Community College - Everett, WA

Everett Community College, 2000 Tower Street, Everett, WA 98201. Everett Community College is a medium sized college located in Everett, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,765 students. Everett Community College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated three students in 2008.

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated five and six 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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.