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Differentiate Yourself From The Competition Advises Special Agent

Special Agent Kevin Crane earned his B.A. in pre-law at Penn State University. Over the years he has worked as an undercover security officer for Bamberger's Department store; corporate security for I.E DuPont Company; as an U.S. Special Agent with the Defense Investigative Service under the Office of Personnel Management, and assistant special agent in charge of the Wrightstown, NJ Investigative Field Office. Crane is also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, 1st Federal Lodge in Philadelphia. He is also the author of Access Granted, a book that offers help on gaining clearance for government jobs.

(Photo Courtesy of Special Agent Kevin Crane)

What kind of degree is needed to secure a job in your field?

"I received my B.A. in pre-law from the Pennsylvania State University. To obtain a job in the field of national security/law enforcement, I would recommend criminal justice; pre-law; social science; Spanish. Almost any degree (if your grades were high) can help you with certain police departments. To obtain a degree as a federal agent I would suggest, criminal justice; pre-law; political science; Information Technology; law; languages to include Arabic; Chinese, Spanish, etc.; STEM degrees.  Other degrees can work if you have high grades, do well on an entrance if required, etc."

 What's the most challenging aspects of your job?

"As U.S. Special Agents in my field, we were challenged every day to be highly motivated to work without constant supervision, manage our time well, have a plan to conduct our investigative caseload as efficiently and quickly as possible, conduct a thorough and fair investigation, and manage the stress that came with the job."

 After graduation, how hard was it to transition into the working world?

"It can be very difficult depending on the job you want and how many openings there are.  I was able to start a position as an undercover security investigator for a large department store.  After a year, I was hired to work corporate security for the Du Pont Company in Wilmington, DE.  In another year, I was hired to be a Special Agent at the age of 24.  Many students who want to enter this career field never get the opportunity.  There is much competition for jobs in the field that tend to go to the most qualified applicants.  This would include those with prior military experience (who get additional veteran preference points), those who have some experience in a relevant position, and those who may know somebody with some pull."

What advice would you give someone who is pursuing a career in criminal justice?

"You must do things to differentiate yourself from your competition. That means getting the best grades possible, some type of relevant experience, cultivate relationships with mentors who can help you, and have a solid resume for this field. These jobs will be filled with those who appear to be the best possible candidate."

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. She reports on various topics such as: Social Media, Local Events, Entertainment, Food and Drink and more. Her work can be found at

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