How to Become a Criminal Investigator in North Carolina

In situations that would make most people want to turn the other way, North Carolina’s criminal investigators get their hands dirty investigating crime scenes, interviewing witnesses, and piecing together facts. Since 1980 there have been approximately 3,155 unsolved cases in North Carolina. In a recent year, 479 murders were committed at locations across the state. Resolving cases of murder, manslaughter and other serious felony crimes is the daily focus of detectives working at the state level and for local police and sheriff’s departments throughout North Carolina.

Sponsored Content

Featured Programs:
Sponsored School(s)

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations (SBI) operates at the state level and has authority to investigate serious crimes throughout North Carolina. Headquartered in Wake County, SBI detectives work both independently and in close cooperation with local law enforcement agencies.

Qualifications to Join the Respected Ranks of the North Carolina State Bureau
of Investigations

The qualification standards for detective jobs with the State Bureau of Investigations are a good benchmark for local agencies across the state. If candidates can qualify for SBI Agent positions they will most likely be able to qualify for detective jobs with city and county law enforcement agencies as well.

Meeting Qualifications

To become a criminal investigator with the SBI, known by the official title of SBI Agent, candidates will need to meet several important requirements, chief among these being a bachelor’s degree in any subject. Majors that lend themselves to developing a solid educational foundation for a career in investigations include:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Forensic Science
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Criminal Justice
  • Police Science

Other important criminal investigator requirements for joining the SBI include:

  • Being at least 21 years of age
  • US citizenship
  • Demonstrating a law abiding and upstanding character, with no significant criminal history
  • Being able to obtain a North Carolina driver’s license

Submitting an Application

Under the job title of SBI Agent, criminal investigator jobs with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations are posted on the state’s human resources vacancy webpage for the Department of Justice. Applications may only be submitted online through a vacant job announcement.

To become a detective with the SBI, applicants will need to complete an extensive hiring process that includes:

  • Background investigation, including a review of:
    • References
    • Previous employers and co-workers
    • Driving record
    • Credit history

  • Polygraph evaluation
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Medical examination
  • Drug test
  • Fitness assessment

Criminal Investigator Training at the SBI

Detectives with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations are law enforcement agents who must meet the statewide standards for certification. This means new recruits will need to start by completing the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at either of the campuses in Salemburg or Edneyville.

Following this basic training, specific detective training will take place at the SBI Special Agent Academy. This will cover such areas as:

  • Suspect and witness interviews
  • Criminal investigations
  • Organized crime
  • Crime scene investigation
  • Criminal operations
  • Smuggling and trafficking interdiction strategies

North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations Field Operations

Detectives with the SBI make a wide range of operations possible. Some recent events have included:

  • Investigating bombs and improvised explosive devices – Every year SBI investigators follow up on an average of 100 bomb incidents across North Carolina.
  • Raising awareness about domestic violence – Last year 108 residents of North Carolina were killed in incidents of domestic violence. Detectives with the SBI devote a significant amount of their operations to curbing this type of violence, which was perpetrated by 88 male and 27 female offenders in these most recent cases.
  • The opening of the new Information Sharing and Analysis Center in Raleigh – SBI investigators at this location will work to consolidate information regarding terrorist threats and organized crime from sources across the state.
  • Medicaid Investigations Division – SBI investigators who participate in this team of professionals look into suspected incidents of Medicaid fraud in North Carolina. As part of these investigations a dentist was recently ordered to pay $114,000 when he was convicted of fraud.

Criminal Investigations Divisions at the County and Municipal Level in
North Carolina

Detectives with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations work with their counterparts from dozens of local law enforcement agencies across the state. Larger municipal and county law enforcement agencies usually have a special division specifically designated to investigate serious crimes.

Prominent city and county agencies in North Carolina include:

  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Investigative Services Group
  • Raleigh Police Department, Detective Division
  • Greensboro Police Department, Investigative Bureau
  • Durham Police Department, Investigative Services Bureau
  • Winston-Salem Police Department, Criminal Investigations and Special Investigations Divisions
  • Fayetteville Police Department, Investigative Bureau
  • Cary Police Department, Criminal Investigations Division
  • Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Criminal Investigations Division
  • Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, Special Operations Division
  • Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Investigative Services

Back to Top