An investigative assistant is an entry-level position possessed by individuals working in law enforcement or legal professions. People in this position are not sworn peace officers and cannot serve search warrants, carry firearms, or make arrests. Although a four-year degree is not required in order to become an investigative assistant, you must at least complete college-level coursework in criminal justice or a law enforcement-related area. Additionally, training and work experience in legal procedures and criminal justice may be required if you do not have formal education beyond the completion of high school or its equivalent. If you would like to become an investigative assistant, you must be able to understand and apply laws, use computerized systems to locate individuals, and complete reports that may be used in court.
Before you become an investigative assistant, it can be very helpful to acquire administrative skills. These skills can be obtained by working in a support role within a law enforcement agency or investigative firm. It is advisable to obtain as much exposure as possible to the field by becoming knowledgeable about the investigative procedures for both civil and criminal division. Working in a legal environment will also help you learn the skills required to be able to effectively complete a range of investigative tasks. When working in the field, you must be able to provide support to government organizations and law enforcement agencies and, even as a new assistant, you may be expected to engage in investigation processes.
After completing college coursework and gaining the related experience required to become an investigative assistant, you will be ready to apply for jobs in the field. Law enforcement agencies, government agencies, and private legal professionals all use the services of investigative assistants. You should contact agencies in your area to inquire about employment opportunities. Depending on the agency or organization, you may be required to submit to a lengthy interview process, a thorough background check, and drug testing.
Investigative assistants also provide support with routine investigations; you will need to have an aptitude for researching and locating information from a variety of sources. Job duties of an investigative assistant may also include delivering legal documents, serving subpoenas, and conducting surveillance. You must be able to communicate effectively because you may be called upon to provide testimony in court to support reports written about your investigative activities.
In addition to meeting the educational requirements and obtaining the necessary experience, you should be prepared two work a variety of shifts and schedules when you become an investigative assistant. Law enforcement is a 24-hour job, and you may be required to work nights, days, weekends, and even holidays.