Private Investigator

A private detective and investigator collects evidence and searches for..

Private Investigator

What does a Private Investigator do?

Median Pay $48,190
Growth Rate 5%
Citation Retrieved in 2017 from BLS.org

A private detective and investigator collects evidence and searches for clues to gather evidence for court cases or private clients. They interview people, verify information, conduct surveillance, find missing persons, and gather vital facts for cases. A private detective and investigator might be needed in the investigation of computer crimes, corporate crimes, or any other area where facts and data are needed in helping to solve a case.

How to Become a Private Investigator

Education requirements vary greatly from position to position, but work experience is a must in addition to a minimum of a high school diploma. Most employers prefer previous work experience in police, military, or similar vocational fields. However, others may require an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or police science. Many states require a license to perform investigation tasks and duties, therefore it may be pertinent to check local and state requirements before pursuing employment in the career field.

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Job Description of a Private Investigator

A private detective and investigator is expected to find and analyze facts in a variety of case situations such as personal, legal, and financial concerns. They also provide expertise in the areas of verification of people’s backgrounds, insurance fraud, and could even investigate investment groups to protect a client against fraud.

A private detective and investigator are often used to deliver summons or subpoenas in a legal case or tracking down they owe unpaid debt. Many agencies may specialize in a particular field such as surveillance which would investigate cases in espionage. Others may specialize in corporate matters like trade secrets, computer forensics, or copyright infringement. Much of the work for a private detective or investigator is done on a computer. This is used to obtain phone numbers, records of a person’s prior arrest, or social net-working.

It may be necessary for an investigator to go undercover in order to better observe and obtain information on a suspect. They use tools like GPS tracking devices, video cameras, and other useful equipment and technology. They may also be licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

A private detective and investigator must have knowledge of privacy laws, state and federal laws, and local laws because operate on the authority of a private citizen not a police officer. Being educated in these laws are vital to the collection of evidence in a case to insure all data and information will be valid in a court case and can be used.

Due to the nature of the work of a private detective and investigator their work hours are irregular and may require more than 40 hours a week. Most work in an office setting and alone unless they are performing surveillance. Here is when they may work in teams and may be exposed to a variety of weather elements or sometimes possible confrontation (though rare). During surveillances they may interview individuals and gather evidence out in the field. This work can be demanding and cause emotional stress at times.


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