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PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR CAREER PATH

Private investigators, also often referred to as private detectives, help businesses and individuals find information. Rather than working for police departments, the private investigator career path involves working as an entrepreneur or for a private company, helping clients with various types of investigatory matters.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR CAREERS?

Some private investigation companies may hire people with just high school degrees to work as investigators. However, most employers prefer individuals who have earned at least a two-year college degree in criminal justice or a similar field.

In addition, private investigators working in most states must obtain a license. Licensing laws and requirements vary by state, so it is important to understand the requirements of any state where you work with clients.

Private investigators must be able to efficiently gather various types of information, and organize and communicate findings to their employer and clients. Typically, private investigation firms give on-the-job training for new hires — providing procedural requirements and guidance to enable the investigator’s success. The specific tools an investigator will use on a daily basis vary, depending on the type of investigation being conducted (financial, fraud, missing persons, general surveillance, etc.).

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN A TYPICAL PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR JOB DESCRIPTION?

Specific private investigator duties depend largely on the type (or types) of investigations the firm conducts. The private investigator job description may include some or all of the following tasks:

  • Conduct background check verifications using a computer and telephone
  • Gather and compile evidence for use in court cases or other legal proceedings
  • Investigate cybercrime or financial fraud
  • Conduct surveillance of one or more targets, which may involve capturing pictures or video footage, watching the target’s home or business, or following the target(s)
  • Seek missing persons
  • Look for missing data or information using various methods
  • Meet with clients
  • Obtain and study court records
  • Compile reports and organize data 

WHY CONSIDER THE PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR CAREER PATH?

Private investigator careers can be enormously rewarding for people who enjoy digging into problems and finding answers. This is a career option that suits people with entrepreneurial spirits who want to work for themselves, as well as those who want to work for established companies, helping answer questions and solve problems for clients.

The role can also be financially rewarding. As of May 2019, the median annual private investigator salary nationwide was $50,510.

PREPARE FOR PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR CAREERS WITH A DEGREE FROM MACCORMAC COLLEGE 

If you are interested in the private investigator career path, the MacCormac College criminal justice degree program can prepare you for success. This associate degree program — available on campus or in a convenient online format — teaches students about the following:

  • Constitutional, criminal and procedural law
  • Evidentiary standards
  • Ethical pitfalls
  • Policy formation
  • Criminal justice theory
  • Much more

With this foundation, you will be well-prepared to tackle private investigator duties, regardless of what type of investigations firm for which you work.

Are you interested in learning more about how earning a criminal justice degree can prepare you to work as a private investigator? MacCormac College can help. Contact us for more information, or apply online for program admission.