Many have asked the questions: What is a Private Investigator? What does a Private Investigator do? Here we will answer those questions.
The Work of a Private Investigator
A private investigator is a “detective,” usually working at a freelance level, who performs detailed investigations at the behest of private clients.
Private Investigators perform important tasks such as the following:
- Organizing evidence for civil and criminal legal cases for attorneys and insurance companies
- Assisting family members in locating a missing family member
- Assisting suspecting spouses in investigating the alleged infidelity of a spouse
- Being hired by an individual or organization to discover miscellaneous activities of a person, you will utilize technology to conduct surveillance
- Doing corporate work such as investigating financial fraud; accounting degrees come in handy for this reason
What does it take to become a Private Investigator?
Your first step should be to educate yourself about the requirements in your state. Each state has specific requirements, so look into your state’s information located within our site to determine if a private investigator license is required. While not mandatory, certifications can certainly enhance your strength as an investigator by demonstrating your select knowledge within special facets of the field.
- The National Association of Legal Investigators provides the Certified Legal Investigator Certification.
- The ASIS International (American Society for Industrial Security) implements a Professional Certified Investigator certification.
While a background in criminal justice can certainly be helpful, many private investigators learn their skills on the job. You may be required to gain a Bachelor’s degree for some employers; while other employers will only mandate that you have a High School diploma. Several college programs offer online classes or traditional classroom settings for certification courses for those wishing to pursue a degree (or certification that contributes much to the private investigation career).
Four-year degree programs in criminal justice or political science have proven advantageous to advancing careers in PI.
Various paths can be taken; check the details within your state for more information.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average private investigator in the United States brings home an average salary of $45,610 per year.