How to Become a Homicide Detective

Updated April 17, 2017

A homicide detective, a crucial member of the law enforcement profession, is responsible for investigating murders and arresting suspects. If you have a strong desire to serve your country and obtain justice for victims, you might consider a career as a homicide detective.

Obtain your high school diploma or your GED.

Earn a college degree in criminal justice or a related field. If you want to advance quickly, obtain a master's degree as well.

Attend the police academy (or law enforcement academy) in the jurisdiction where you want to work. Let your superiors know that you are interested in advancing to homicide detective.

Outperform your fellow officers in uniform, while learning as much as you can about law enforcement and the law in general.

Work diligently toward achieving your career goals, putting in overtime and extra effort, and never be afraid to ask questions. Officers typically have to serve in uniform for three years before being offered a promotion.

Accept a promotion to detective within your law enforcement agency. You probably will need to work in a less complex division for six months to two years before being transferred to homicide.


Some jurisdictions require cadets to be hired by a police department before they can attend a police academy. Talk to a representative of your local police department for more information regarding the proper procedure.


Don't get yourself into legal trouble; this can stall or end your career as a homicide detective.

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About the Author

Laura College is a former riding instructor, horse trainer and veterinary assistant. She has worked as a writer since 2004, producing articles and sales copy for corporations and nonprofits. College has also published articles in numerous publications, including "On the Bit," "Practical Horseman" and "American Quarter Horse Journal."