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How to Become a Private Investigator

If you watch a lot of television, you might automatically assume that private investigators are mostly used to investigate adulterous affairs or child custody cases. And while those are a couple of ways where they can be quite useful, private investigators are also hired to look into fraud charges, missing person’s reports and to do thorough background checks on various individuals (such as when someone is considering hiring a person for a top corporate position).

If seeing all that a private investigator does has piqued your interest a bit, we have provided you some additional information on how you can become one below:

Make sure you have the natural skills and abilities. Before you begin obtaining the paperwork and training that you need to be a professional private investigator, the first thing that you should do is take out a moment to assess if you have the right natural skills and abilities. You need to be able to communicate well with all kinds of individuals. You need to be tactful. You need to be a methodical thinker. You need to be able to know how to balance your “gut instincts” with the actual facts. You need to be interested in doing surveillance. And finally, you need to be both detail-oriented and someone who can be committed to a case until a final resolve has been reached (no matter how long that might take).

Have the right qualifications. Although it’s not mandatory that you have a college degree in order to become a private investigator, it can always help to have one in criminal justice or even computer information systems due to the fact that there is a lot of technology involved with being an investigator. However, the main thing to keep in mind is being that private investigation agencies can charge as much as $40-100 per hour, you definitely need to have the right kind of qualifications in order to do the job. This means that if you want to become one, you have to be licensed, bonded and insured (you will also be required to have a background check ran on you). As far as what is required to earn your license, that varies on the state that you live in. You can obtain the information that you need regarding this by going to and putting “state license requirements” in the search field. It’s also a good idea to get some on-the-job training, which is why there are many private investigators who start off being police officers, insurance agents or working in the forensics industry first. If you didn’t start out in any of these careers, once you have your license, there are some private investigation firms that do take interns, so be sure to check with the local companies within your area.

Start looking for a job. Now you’re ready to start looking for a job. Whether you decide to get into North American investigations work or to work abroad, the good news is that this is a market that is continually growing (it is expected to increase approximately 21 percent by 2020). Job search engines like Career Builder and Indeed list private investigator jobs, so do Craigslist and Also, don’t forget that networking can be highly beneficial when it comes to this particular industry. Therefore, make sure to cultivate relationships with your local police department, law firms and bail bondsman companies. They always have cases that are in need of a private investigator’s assistance. Good luck.

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