How to Become a Detective in Canada

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Becoming a detective in Canada means first becoming a police officer and graduating from police academy. Since you want to work as a specialized police officer, you also have to earn your bachelor's degree in a detective-related field. Your ambition may also mean years of hard work until you take on the cases you want.

  • Earn a bachelor's degree in a field related to criminal investigation. The ideal majors include criminology, criminal justice, or psychology. You may also want to major in criminology while minoring in psychology, or vice versa.

  • Apply to a large police force after college graduation. In Canada, the larger police forces are the provincial police departments or metropolitan police departments. Before you are hired, your police force will conduct a background check on you to ensure you have a clean criminal record and other credentials.

  • Attend your province's police academy for your police department. For instance, all Vancouver police recruits attend the Justice Institute of British Columbia. At police academy, you will learn how to operate a gun, how to arrest criminal offenders. You will also learn about provincial and national laws.

  • Work as a fourth-class constable. After graduating from police academy, your recruiters will assign you the entry-level work of a constable. This position involves general police work, from issuing parking tickets to handling robberies.

  • Express to your superiors how you would like to become involved in detective or undercover work. Your police force may permit you to work under a detective sergeant or a detective constable. That means you can essentially apprentice yourself to these detectives and learn detective work firsthand.

  • Earn a promotion to a higher-ranking police position, such as detective constable or detective sergeant. You can earn this promotion by impressing your superiors with your job performance and enthusiasm for detective work. You can now work as a full-time detective at your police force. If you continue to work hard, you will likely earn a higher promotion to inspector in the next several years.

Tips & Warnings

  • Expect to work between two to three years as a patrol officer before you earn a promotion to a detective.
  • It is certainly possible for you to enter the police force during your undergraduate studies. Working as a constable for a summer job places you ahead of the game by the time you've graduated from college--by that time, you may have advanced to a first-class constable specializing in detective work.

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