Private Investigator Jobs
Our society is plagued with civil and criminal issues. When the truth is vague and answers are needed, a dedicated private investigator can help discover clues, find the facts, and solve the problem.
Private investigators are also known as Private Eyes or PIs. These security professionals have a potentially dangerous job where they investigate criminal and civil matters to uncover facts that can be used as evidence.
Personal investigators are hired by a variety of employers to investigate personal, legal, and financial things. Their cases include insurance fraud, unsolved mysteries, infidelity, missing people, Internet scams, cyber crimes, and more. It’s a job that has been glorified by television and movies through legendary PIs like Sherlock Holmes or Magnum PI, but in reality, being a private investigator isn’t as action packed as you might think.
Every investigation is different, but the job of the private investigator is always the same – to research facts and discover the truth. They do this by conducting interviews, analyzing records, searching for clues, doing Internet research, conducting surveillance, collecting evidence, verifying facts, observing suspects, taking videos and photos, preparing reports, appearing in court, and providing testimony.
Most of a private investigator’s job is completely behind the scenes or off the radar. It’s not very often that they confront suspects or go undercover. It does happen, and when it does, it’s potentially dangerous. But PIs lack police powers. They are essentially private citizens who are more concerned with uncovering the truth and making sure they follow the law.
Everything a private investigator does must be done by the book to ensure that they evidence they find can be admissible in both civil and criminal trials. This requires a strong background in law, criminology, and criminal justice.
To become a private investigator you need to have a high school diploma or a university degree. Most PIs learn their role on the job, but having a specialized education or useful experience is a big bonus. Most private investigators come from a law, military, or government background. These former cops, soldiers, detectives, and spies already have a lot of the necessary knowledge to be a successful private investigator.
Most states require a private investigator to have a license. You can learn the requirements for each state on Private Investigator Magazine. Many states allow private investigators to carry a handgun and act as a bodyguard too. This also requires certain documentation.
There are private investigator certifications offered through the National Association of Legal Investigators or ASIS International. These certifications require several years of experience and you must pass specific tests. They are not required to be a private investigator, but may help you find a job.
Once licensed, it’s time to find a private investigator job. Insurance companies, risk management firms, individuals department stores, surveillance companies, law enforcement agencies, lawyers, and other businesses actively hire private investigators to help find the truth.
Private investigators typically work irregular hours and need a flexible schedule to follow up on leads. For their fact finding work, they make approximately $45,740 per year or $21.99 per hour. According to the BLS, there are about 30,000 private investigators working in the US. That number is expected to grow by 11% by 2022.
People want to know the truth and they are willing to pay a private investigator to uncover the details. If you enjoying snooping around and searching for clues, then being a private investigator might be your calling.
Quick Facts About Private Investigator Jobs
Job Title: Private Investigator aka Private Eye aka PI
Office: On the case
Description: Investigate civil and criminal matters to uncover the facts
Certifications/Education: License required in most states, Certifications available
Necessary Skills: Knowledge of criminal justice system, Detail oriented, Law abiding
Potential Employers: Businesses, Individuals
Pay: $45,740 per year or $21.99 per hour
Helpful Private Investigator Employment Links:
- Search Private Investigator and Other Investigator Jobs on JobMonkey
- United States Association of Professional Investigators
- National Council of Investigation and Security Services
- World Association of Professional Investigators
- Private Investigator Magazine
- American Society For Industrial Security (ASIS)
- National Association of Legal Investigators
- BLS: Private Investigator Profile