What is a Private Investigator?
A private investigator is someone who provides surveillance, interviewing services, investigations, and research to attorneys, businesses, or the general public. Private investigators are often seen in TV shows and movies, which make the job seem fun and adventurous. However, a private investigator has a stressful and dangerous job that requires plenty of hands-on experience and training. Gathering information and verifying facts are the main duties of private investigators.
Educational Requirements for Private Investigators
Although there are no formal educational requirements to become a private investigator, most states require that investigators be licensed. Although the criteria for becoming licensed vary across states, most individuals are able to become licensed, providing they are not a convicted felon. To be more competitive in the job search, it’s best to have a 2-year or 4-year education that specializes in a criminal justice-related area. Once hired, on-the-job training may require formal training sessions and business practices.
With the confrontation that is often faced by private investigators, it is crucial that they are fast thinkers, excellent problem solvers, and assertive with others. Good communication skills are also necessary, as private investigators often conduct interviews. With the line of work that a private investigator is involved in, irregular work hours are customary. Long nights, weekends, or early mornings are all prime times to be doing investigations, so investigators must be able to handle this type of schedule. Most investigative work is done alone, so the investigator may carry along a firearm for added protection.
Job and Career Outlook
The career of a private investigator is one that is expected to be on the rise, as more people are requiring these types of services for security concerns and increased litigation. In fact, the demand for private investigators is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, with the widespread use of the Internet, private investigators are needed to handle criminal background checks, identify theft, and spamming. On average, private investigators make $46,250 per year.