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Become A Private Investigator

The Key Elements of Success

Becoming a private investigator, or more importantly, a licensed private investigator, opens a ton of opportunities for employment or starting your own business.

Cream rises so your drive to be the best you can be will lead you to top opportunities.

As in most fields of work, knowledge is king.

Being recognized as being very good at what you do, obviously leads to improved opportunities with corresponding growth in earnings.

There are so many different investigative areas where you can apply your skills; you really have a wide choice from which to choose.

 I'll identify those and the key elements leading to your success.

Become a Private Investigator in these Needed Fields

The areas open for private detectives and investigators include these rewarding options:

Start your own private investigation firm

Fraud investigating

Background Checking

Gang Investigations

Checking internal operating procedures of companies

Special investigative unit of an insurance company

Company intelligence security (intellectual property)

Casino patron investigation

Theft and property recovery

Missing person recovery

Infidelity checking

Following and reporting on activities of individuals

Investigations for a defense attorney

Key Elements of Success

1.  Private Investigators Training

Finding employment or obtaining contracts with clients, if you’re self-employed, absolutely requires the completion of a private investigation course/program of study.

Without this ingredient your credibility is very limited. Getting hired by an employer or by a client depends on their perception of your private investigation training and skill level, as applied to the job they want you to do.

Here is a recommended road to achieve this credibility.

These two well-documented and recognized ebooks are very inexpensive (less than $20) and written by knowledgeable authors in the investigative field.

Making this minimal investment in yourself will determine if this profession is right for you.

Plus, when you enroll in a professionally recognized private investigation course of study, you’ll have a solid background when starting.

Here is a listing of 25 online and offline study programs given by accredited institutions. Completing one of these programs gives you the credibility you will need for achievement.

  • These certification studies encompass learning
  • State laws pertaining to your work
  • Federal laws like the Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act

  • State and Federal Court system including court procedures and laws of evidence
  • Sources of public information

2.  Become a Licensed Private Investigator

Just to complete the two training steps identified immediately above is not the only requirement for success.

Nearly every State in the U.S. requires a private detective or investigator to be licensed by them. Different tests are given to those would-be investigators depending upon whether they want to be armed or unarmed.

Both women and men may be investigators/detectives.

3.  Marketing Your Skills

If your objective is to work for an employer like an insurance company, then the gateway to entry is receiving a certificate of completion/certification from an academic institution. Without this background it will be difficult to get your resume noticed.

If you want to start a private investigation firm, then there is no substitute for knowledge and experience. Any brochure you design will need to show prospective clients the benefits your skills and accomplishments will bring to them.

To become a private investigator and to do well in growing your business, it is all about contacts, contacts and more contacts.

At a minimum consider the following:

  • Meet with attorneys
  • Sponsor a cocktail party at your local Bar Association meeting
  • Meet with Directors of Insurance Company Investigative Units
  • Meet with fraud managers at banks, stock brokerages, large department stores, major retailers and supermarkets
  • Join and participate in your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Join Professional Associations

4.  Private Investigator Salary/Income Potential

Entry-level positions at employers pay in the range of $35,000 a year. With experience and promotions it is not unlikely earning will reach $75,000 and more.

If you become a private investigator and work for yourself, you generally bill by the hour with an estimate of the number of hours you expect to devote to the case.

Starting out, you might charge $25 or $30 per hour. With experience and letters of recommendation you fee will climb to $55, $75 or more.

This level of earnings is a major reason entrepreneurs start an investigation firm. In addition you may contract with other investigators to perform the work for you while billing your client for their services.

5.  Private Investigator Resources

You will be amazed at the different kinds of investigating tools available and their sophistication.  Each of these resources is specific to the job you need to fulfill.

  1. Audio voice analyzers
  2. Equipment for spying on computers
  3. Digital voice recording equipment
  4. Electronic bug devices
  5. GPS tracking devices
  6. Hidden cameras of all types
  7. Night vision binoculars
  8. Cell phone recon both voice and text
  9. Investigative software

Can you imagine all the stuff you'll find out?


Thank you for visiting Become a Private Investigator.

Helpful Professional Resource

National Association of Legal Investigators

Additional Small Business Ideas

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