Depending on the school’s strategic direction and the expertise of its faculty, each school may have different focus on its PI training program. However, most schools’ objective is to provide students with the basic skills required to start their careers as a PI. Below are courses which PI programs generally offer within its curriculum:
The Law and the Professional Investigator1: This type of course provides an overview of the legal system and the investigator’s role within it. They will not only learn about legal terminology and the laws, but they will also learn how to work within the legal system so that their work can be admissible in court.
Foundation of investigations: Students will learn about the overview of the investigative industry and how PIs work with litigators, corporations and individuals on different types of cases including:
• Legal investigations2: Insurance fraud (such as auto, property, personal injury, product liability, and medical malpractice)
• Business Crime: Theft, embezzlement, corporate espionage, false accounting, etc.
Surveillance: This course teaches students the various surveillance techniques and tactics used by PIs and how to execute surveillance assignments. They’ll also learn about the tools and technology used in typical assignments.
Skip tracing and locating missing persons2: This course focuses on skip tracing skills which PIs will require to locate people and how to legally and ethically obtain confidential information through interviews on people’s whereabouts.
Investigative Interviewing: Students will learn the essential principles of interviewing and how to prepare, conduct, record interviews as well as interpret and present their findings to clients. In addition, students will learn about the fundamentals of verbal and non-verbal communication in order to conduct successful interviews.
Research: This course focuses on traditional and online research channels to obtain information and intelligence.
Case Management and Report Writing3: Students will learn about the business side of private investigation, including effective management of cases. They will also learn about the importance of good report writing and how to best present the information to clients.
Some schools may also teach about how to establish your own practice, providing information and guidance on how to develop business and client relations as well as the essentials of billing and building and effective practice.
As a high school student, choosing the right school may be one of the biggest decisions you’ve made to date. Be sure to research all the schools which offer a PI program to learn more about the area of PI which you’d like to focus on in your career and choose the school which best supports your own educational goals.
1. Boston University. Professional Investigation Program Classroom and Online
2 Detective Training Institute. Investigative Skills
3. Ashworth College. Private Investigator Training Courses Online