Criminal Investigators and Special Agents
SOC: 33-3021.03


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

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
116,700 employed

Projected (2024):
115,300 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Agent
  • Air Marshal
  • Border Police
  • Child Support Agent
  • Child Support Investigator
  • Child Support Officer
  • CIA Agent (Central Intelligence Agency Agent)
  • Counter Intelligence Agent
  • Crime Analyst
  • Crime Investigator Special Agent
  • Crime Scene Investigator (CSI)
  • Criminal Analyst
  • Criminal Investigative Agent
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Criminal Profiler
  • Cyber Special Agent
  • Deputy Sheriff
  • Deputy United States Marshal
  • Detective
  • Detective Sergeant
  • Drug Enforcement Administration Agent (DEA AGENT)
  • Drug Enforcement Agent
  • FBI Field Agent (Federal Bureau of Investigation Field Agent)
  • FBI Investigator (Federal Bureau of Investigation Investigator)
  • FBI Sharpshooter (Federal Bureau of Investigation Sharpshooter)
  • FBI Special Agent (Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent)
  • Federal Air Marshal
  • Gang Investigator
  • Identification Officer
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Investigation Officer
  • Investigative Analyst
  • Investigator
  • Major Case Detective
  • Master Police Detective
  • Missing Persons Investigator
  • Narcotics Agent
  • Narcotics Detective
  • Police Detective
  • Police Inspector
  • Police Officer
  • Postal Inspector
  • Secret Service Agent
  • Special Agent
  • Special Crimes Investigator
  • Special Inspector
  • Spy
  • State Trooper
  • Undercover Cop
  • Unemployment Examiner
  • Unemployment Inspector
  • Unemployment Insurance Fraud Investigator
  • United States Marshal (US Marshal)
  • Violent Crimes Detective

  • Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed


    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.


    Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

    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.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Troubleshooting
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • History and Archeology
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Obtain and verify evidence by interviewing and observing suspects and witnesses or by analyzing records.
  • Record evidence and documents, using equipment such as cameras and photocopy machines.
  • Examine records to locate links in chains of evidence or information.
  • Prepare reports that detail investigation findings.
  • Collaborate with other offices and agencies to exchange information and coordinate activities.
  • Determine scope, timing, and direction of investigations.
  • Testify before grand juries concerning criminal activity investigations.
  • Analyze evidence in laboratories or in the field.
  • Investigate organized crime, public corruption, financial crime, copyright infringement, civil rights violations, bank robbery, extortion, kidnapping, and other violations of federal or state statutes.
  • Identify case issues and evidence needed, based on analysis of charges, complaints, or allegations of law violations.
  • Obtain and use search and arrest warrants.
  • Serve subpoenas or other official papers.
  • Collaborate with other authorities on activities such as surveillance, transcription, and research.
  • Develop relationships with informants to obtain information related to cases.
  • Search for and collect evidence, such as fingerprints, using investigative equipment.
  • Collect and record physical information about arrested suspects, including fingerprints, height and weight measurements, and photographs.
  • Compare crime scene fingerprints with those from suspects or fingerprint files to identify perpetrators, using computers.
  • Administer counterterrorism and counternarcotics reward programs.
  • Provide protection for individuals, such as government leaders, political candidates, and visiting foreign dignitaries.
  • Perform undercover assignments and maintain surveillance, including monitoring authorized wiretaps.
  • Manage security programs designed to protect personnel, facilities, and information.
  • Issue security clearances.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • 35 millimeter cameras
  • Audio recording equipment
  • Biohazard suits
  • Blood collection kits
  • Body armor
  • Bulletproof vests
  • Crime scene rulers
  • Crime scene tape measures
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital cameras
  • Digital video cameras
  • Digital voice recorders
  • Distance measuring wheels
  • Drug testing kits
  • Explosive detectors
  • Filter masks
  • Fingerprint evidence kits
  • Impression casting kits
  • Instant print cameras
  • Laptop computers
  • Metal detectors
  • Metal handcuffs
  • Mobile data computers
  • Nightsticks
  • Pepper spray
  • Personal computers
  • Plastic handcuffs
  • Police patrol cars
  • Police shotguns
  • Polygraphs
  • Protective gloves
  • Riot shields
  • Semiautomatic pistols
  • Service revolvers
  • Suspect fingerprinting equipment
  • Two way radios
  • Ultraviolet UV lights
  • Wiretap equipment
  • Case management software
  • Computer aided composite drawing software
  • Corel WordPerfect software
  • Crime mapping software
  • Email software
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Graphics software
  • Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System IAFIS
  • Law enforcement information databases
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Word
  • National Crime Information Center NCIC database
  • National Integrated Ballistics Information Network NIBIN
  • Web browser software

  • protective service

    industry stats

    SOC: 33-0000

    Total Employed: 3,351,620

    Average Annual Salary: $44,610