Duties and responsibilities
A field investigators responsibility is to conduct investigations on field (i.e., in a natural environment) to information about a person, place, or situation. They are likely to work as a part of an investigating team that are gathering valuable information about a crime or fraud. Field investigators tend to work for insurance companies, law enforcement agencies, national security agencies or private organizations. Their key responsibilities and duties include:
- Making recommendations on additional field tasks and assigning additional staff for carrying out the investigation if needed
- Collaborating with customers, claimants, policyholders and witnesses in an unbiased nature
- Recording interviews with witnesses to gather more detail
- Carrying out detailed surveillance of the scene for evidence to reveal the truth about an incident
- Collaborating with the local administration and communicating with the Field Investigation Program for monitoring the investigation process as per the guidelines
- Writing up reports that include detail surrounding the physical evidence analysis, circumstances studies, studying the behavior of suspected convicts, and forensic analysis for drawing exact conclusion about the crime / incident
To become a field investigator, you will need a high school diploma as a minimum. Once completing this, you should aim to gain experience in the field (i.e., working in the police force). Having a bachelors degree in a related field (e.g., criminal justice, forensic science) is not a necessity, but is an advantage. This is because a degree may allow you to enter the role at a higher level, as opposed to joining the police force and then working up.
Skills and relevant work experience
Field investigators will need experience in a related field, such as in security. They will also need skills such as:
- Physical stamina, as they will be on their feet all day, walking around crime scenes and gathering data
- Written communication skills, as field investigators will need to maintain written documents and record interviews
- Verbal communication skills, as field investigators need to communicate with clients and with witnesses
- Attention to detail, as field investigators must carefully examine scenes to gather evidence to paint a complete picture
- Leadership skills, as field investigators may have to delegate tasks to other team members
Field investigators tend to work full time. They may work normal office hours, or they may have to work evenings, weekends and holiday – it depends on the nature of the client they are working they work for.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for private detectives and investigators was $50,510 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,390, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $89,760. Field detectives can expect to earn a similar salary.
Field investigators tend to progress from lower roles, such as police officers or detectives with less responsibility. They can progress to have more leadership responsibility and will be in charge of a small team of detectives and investigative professionals.