Contemplating private investigator training? A private detective, PI, private eye, private investigator, operative, is someone who is hired as a detective to collect information. Many PIs work for insurance companies and legal office to investigate suspicious activity. Private investigators and private detectives use techniques which include surveillance, searches, interviews and background checks, to gather evidence which is used to verify facts about individuals or companies. Upon completing private investigator training, professionals provide their services in civil liability and personal injury cases, insurance claims and fraud, child custody and protection cases, marital infidelity cases and premarital screening. Others work in pre-employment verification and celebrity protection. For most private investigation jobs, the academic requirements are usually a 2-year associate or 4-year bachelor degree in criminal justice-related areas. The National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI) confers the title Certified Legal Investigator to licensed investigators who specialize in negligence and criminal defense. To work in corporate investigations you would need a bachelors degree in most cases.
Private Detective Education and Training
Many investigators have a degree in criminal justice, law or an MBA especially in forensic accounting or auditing as well as courses in areas like photography and videography. In addition you would also receive training from your employer. Most states require private detectives and investigators to be licensed. Other requirements may vary by state but include:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Education in police science, criminal law or criminal justice
- Have at least 3 years or 6,000 hours of investigative experience
- Pass an evaluation by the Federal Department of Justice and a criminal history background check
- Pass a state examination covering laws and regulations
- Meet state requirements to get fire arms permit
Private Investigator Careers
- Legal investigators: Work on cases that involve the court/legal system. They work for law firms to prepare criminal defenses, locating witnesses, serving legal documents, interviewing police and prospective witnesses, and gathering and reviewing evidence.
- Corporate investigators: Conduct internal and external investigations for corporations e.g. workplace theft and billing fraud.
- Financial investigators: Hired to prepare confidential financial profiles of individuals or companies in financial transactions. Some people with a private investigator career are also certified public accountants (CPAs) working with investment bankers and other accountants. Others work involves protecting assets, damage recovery, and fraud or theft investigation.
- Store detectives (loss prevention agents): Work in retail stores, store, etc to control losses and protecting assets.
Private investigators use various techniques for example searching through public record searches, getting background information and checks, and pre-employment screening. Private detectives get information through interviewing people to get information.
They also gather evidence and verify facts about people, organizations and events. Private investigators also provide assistance in personal injury cases, civil liability cases, insurance claims and fraud, child custody cases, premarital screening, martial infidelity, and serving court papers. Other private investigative firms provide executive and celebrity protection.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the average income with private investigator training to be about $60,390 with private detective training. Security/loss prevention directors and vice presidents make about $77,000-$80,000 investigators make about $40,000 while store detectives earn about $25,000. As per the BLS, The median annual wage of private detectives and investigators was $42,870 in 2010 with the employment of private detectives and investigators projected to grow 21% from 2010 to 2020.
Private and Public Investigations Assistant Programs
- Degrees offered include Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and Master of Business Administration.
- Students are instructed in relevant business skills like communication, mathematics, and management.
- Coursework emphasizes the development of project management, communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills.
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