Private Investigator

Depending on the case, Private Investigators work in a wide variety of environments. Whether they are behind a desk or in the field, a private investigator is finding and gathering important information in hopes of solving a particular crime. Private investigators are imperative to many investigations.

How do I become a Private Investigator?

Once you graduate high school or obtain your GED, you have a couple different options when it comes to becoming a private investigator.

There is the on-the-job training scenario which lasts several years. However, most private investigators are expected to have either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice of police science and most employers require training from a certified criminal justice school where you can earn your private investigator license. Many PI’s also have previous work experience in law enforcement prior to changing careers.

Licensing and certifications vary by state and you should definitely speak with your potential school’s representative to find out what your state expectations are. Interested in a CJ career? Try our practice tests.

What Private Investigators do?

Private investigators are equipped to identify facts and analyze information that they gather, often regarding legal, financial and personal matters. Sometimes private investigators work separate from the police department and other times they work in conjunction with law enforcement to solve open or cold cases.

Private investigators are often tasked with searching for a lost or missing relative, participate in gathering evidence to present at custody battles, or investigate possible incidents of insurance fraud, computer crimes and/or instances of stalking or harassment.

Common traits of a successful private investigator are: detail oriented, persistent, honest, cooperative and dependable. If you possess these characteristics then your path will be an easier one.

How much do Private Investigators make?

The median annual salary range for a private investigator is $48,190 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Some private investigators will make significantly less while others will make over $87,000 per year.

Because of advances in technology, cyber crimes are on the rise which means corporations are needing private investigator services more frequently. Job growth is expected to be 10 percent through 2026, signifying that there is a strong need for private investigator services.

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