Become a Private Investigator ★ Find a College
A private detective and investigator would collect evidence and search for clues in order to gather evidence in court cases. They would interview people, verify information, conduct surveillance, find missing persons and gather vital facts for a case. 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
Most companies require an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in criminal justice or police science. Many states require a license to operate. Previous work experience is extremely helpful, especially as a former police officer or similar vocation.
Job Description of a Private Investigator
A private detective and investigator would be expected to find and analyze facts in a variety of case situations, such as, personal, legal and financial concerns. They would provide other 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 absconders from debt. Many agencies may specialize in a particular field, such as, technical surveillance counter-measures which would investigate cases in espionage. Some may wish to be specialized 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 as well as local laws because they do not have police powers and so operate on the authority of a private citizen. 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.
Because of the nature of the work of a private detective and investigator their work hours are irregular. They must also work in a variety of weather elements mostly because of the gathering of information in a surveillance.
The Bureau of Labor Statics project 11 percent growth in this career field for 2012-2022, but it is very competitive.