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Summary Report for:
33-3021.03 - Criminal Investigators and Special Agents

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

The occupation code you requested, 33-3021.04 (Child Support, Missing Persons, and Unemployment Insurance Fraud Investigators), is no longer in use. In the future, please use 33-3021.03 (Criminal Investigators and Special Agents) instead.

Sample of reported job titles: Special Agent, Detective, Investigator, Criminal Investigator, Detective Sergeant, Agent, Master Police Detective, Narcotics Detective, Police Detective, FBI Special Agent (Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent)

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Prepare reports that detail investigation findings.
  • Obtain and verify evidence by interviewing and observing suspects and witnesses or by analyzing records.
  • Identify case issues and evidence needed, based on analysis of charges, complaints, or allegations of law violations.
  • Investigate organized crime, public corruption, financial crime, copyright infringement, civil rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, and other violations of federal or state statutes.
  • Record evidence and documents, using equipment such as cameras and photocopy machines.
  • Obtain and use search and arrest warrants.
  • Testify before grand juries concerning criminal activity investigations.
  • Search for and collect evidence, such as fingerprints, using investigative equipment.
  • Determine scope, timing, and direction of investigations.
  • Collect and record physical information about arrested suspects, including fingerprints, height and weight measurements, and photographs.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Handcuffs — Metal handcuffs; Plastic handcuffs
Handguns — Semiautomatic pistols; Service revolvers
Notebook computers — Laptop computers; Mobile data computers
Surveillance video or audio recorders — Audio recording equipment; Digital voice recorders; Wiretap equipment
Two way radios

Technology used in this occupation:

Data base user interface and query software — Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS; Law enforcement information databases; National Crime Information Center NCIC database; National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN *
Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
Graphics or photo imaging software — Computer aided composite drawing software; Graphics software
Map creation software — Crime mapping software; ESRI ArcView
Word processing software — Corel WordPerfect software; Microsoft Word

* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.

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Knowledge

Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

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Skills

Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

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Abilities

Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

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Work Activities

Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Work Context

Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — How do the decisions an employee makes impact the results of co-workers, clients or the company?
Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
Deal With External Customers — How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
Duration of Typical Work Week — Number of hours typically worked in one week.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, interviewers, and insurance sales agents.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
42   High school diploma or equivalent
39   Some college, no degree
15   Associate's degree

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Interests

Interest code: EI

Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Styles

Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

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Work Values

Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

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Related Occupations

21-1093.00 Social and Human Service Assistants Bright Outlook
33-1011.00 First-Line Supervisors of Correctional Officers
33-1012.00 First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives
33-2021.01 Fire Inspectors
33-2021.02 Fire Investigators
33-3012.00 Correctional Officers and Jailers Bright Outlook
33-3021.01 Police Detectives
33-3051.01 Police Patrol Officers Bright Outlook
33-3051.03 Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook  
53-2022.00 Airfield Operations Specialists

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Wages & Employment Trends

National

Median wages data collected from Detectives and Criminal Investigators.
Employment data collected from Detectives and Criminal Investigators.
Industry data collected from Detectives and Criminal Investigators.

Median wages (2012) $35.72 hourly, $74,300 annual
Employment (2012) 115,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Little or no change (-2% to 2%) Little or no change (-2% to 2%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 27,700
Top industries (2012)

State & National

          CareerOneStop

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs
for Criminal Investigators and Special Agents

          mySkills myFuture

State & National Job Banks

          CareerOneStop

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

  • Police and Detectives external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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