Steps to Become a Private Investigator

What is a private investigator? A private investigator is a professional who will investigate, gather, and compile information on certain individuals, organizations, or companies for a specific client. They can offer various services such as verifying background information, pursuing cold cases, or even surveying and investigating cybercrimes. Many private investigators will perform their surveillance undercover as to not manipulate or influence the investigation while others will conduct interviews and question persons of interest to obtain evidence for certain cases. Private investigators can also appear in court to testify and also present any evidence found during their investigation.
How do you become a private investigator? It can take a few years to become a private investigator. You will first need at least a high school diploma or education equivalent (GED diploma). If you wish to pursue your bachelor’s degree (it is always suggested that you do) you should focus your studies on criminal justice or law. After completing the necessary education requirements, you will need to have several years of work experience in law enforcement. Some states require you to have at least a minimum of 2,000 hours each year in some sort of investigative work while others can require more.
What are some of the risks of becoming a private investigator? Like with any law enforcement occupation or career, there will be certain risks involved if and when you become a private investigator. At times a private investigator will need to confront a suspect or criminal if the situation calls for it. It is important and recommended that those who are interested in this career should know self-defense, train in proper arrest tactics, and hold a firearms license. Since many private investigators are former police officers or law enforcement employees, this training can and should have taken place already.
Should you become a private investigator? Not everyone is suited to be a private investigator. There are some skills and abilities you should have or be comfortable using if you wish to pursue this career path. Private investigators need to have social perceptiveness, quick judgment and decision making skills, they also need to have strong interpersonal skills since they will be speaking and interviewing people of interest. Those who are not comfortable conducting one-on-one interviews with people or who are afraid of the risks that come with a job as a private investigator should perhaps look into another career in law enforcement.
Sources:
1. http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/33-9021.00
2. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm

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