Choose the career path for the area of accident investigation in which you would like to specialize. Some of the most useful areas on which to focus are engineering, psychology, forensics or prelaw. If you don't already have a background or education in any of those fields, you'll need to get one. While most government and private agencies don't require a college degree, with the job competition today, they probably won't give much consideration to candidates who don't have one. Follow the lead of many seasoned investigators, who have also gained training from vocational schools or community colleges, taking courses on subjects such as collecting crime-scene evidence and its eventual analysis. Also, brush up on your communication and data collection skills by taking courses in those topics. You'll find them to be highly beneficial to career success, along with having an analytical mind. One additional note: Many employers consider a military background to be advantageous. If you
have that experience, you are an even more well-rounded candidate for this career path.
Stay ahead of the latest technological advances in your field. Know the regulations that govern your industry. Having this knowledge will allow you to spot violations that can contribute to an accident. If you decide to become a mine investigator, for example, you'll need to become familiar with the conditions of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.
Research the job market. If you become an airline investigator, look for positions with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). If you've pursued a background as a traffic investigator, pursue opportunities with police departments or insurance companies. If you have maritime experience, you'll likely find work with the U.S. Coast Guard reserve. If you have developed a background for mining accident investigators, you'll find the most opportunities with the Mining Safety & Health Administration (MSHA).