How to Become a Detective in Houston, Texas


A career in public service can be challenging and rewarding. It can be dangerous and it can be essential. Police officers stand for justice, and they make the streets we live in safer. After you have proved yourself on patrol duty, you will have the privilege of applying to become a detective. Consider joining the Houston Police Department (HPD), and stand for justice, clean streets and lower crime rates. It will not be an easy road, but it will be a rewarding one.

Things You'll Need

  • Education or military experience
  • Valid drivers license
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Clean record
  • Stable credit history
  • Acquire a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university. While a bachelor’s degree is not required, you must have either 60 credit hours or military experience before becoming a police officer in Houston, and a bachelor’s degree will make you better qualified for eventually becoming a detective. A degree in police science, criminal justice or administration of justice is recommended.

  • Meet HPD requirements. The HPD requires that you have a valid driver's license with a clean driving record, no class A misdemeanors and no class B misdemeanors within the last ten years. You should also have a stable family and employment background, stable credit history, and good reputation within your community. Pay off all your debts. Exercise regularly in order to pass the Physical Agility Test and have a kind and confident demeanor.

  • Become a police officer. The screening process comprises four phases: Phase 1 includes application submission; Phase 2 includes physical screening, paperwork and testing; Phase 3 is a final interview and Phase 4 includes psychological testing and forwarding to the chief of police for approval. A minimum of three years on patrol is required before you are considered for the position of detective.

  • Make friends within the department. A big factor in being promoted is having good relationships with your colleagues and superiors, along with having a lot of knowledge and common sense in the field. Maintain HPD requirements, stay in shape and keep a good reputation within the police force and in your community. Being promoted to detective takes a lot of discipline and perseverance.

  • Test for the detective position. Use the information you’ve learned, the relationships you’ve made, and the experience you’ve gained to your advantage. The hiring decision will not be based on your personality but rather how well you use your knowledge, training, native intelligence and physical ability to show that you are equipped for the position of detective.

Tips & Warnings

  • Police work can be dangerous. Count the risk of any career before committing to it.

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