How to become a Private Investigator?
The process of becoming a Private Investigator is similar in most countries, states, and provinces: you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature. Furthermore, you need to take a government approved Private Investigator licensing course. In a lot of jurisdictions, there is a specific government body that controls licensed investigators. So, it is this government body that will have a list of approved PI licensing courses. Some of these can be Private Investigator online courses. However, these courses do not focus on practical PI skills. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and completion of the Private Investigator licensing course to the government body, you will get your Private Investigator beginner’s license.
Do ex-police officers make good Private Investigators?
Some do and some don’t. Yes, there are some aspects of policing experience that is transferable to private investigation, but the majority of what we do as Private Investigators will be new and unfamiliar to a former police officer turned Private Investigator.
Is being a Private Investigator dangerous?
No, an experienced and capable Private Investigator has the skills to reduce risk and danger to a manageable level.
How much does a Private Investigator make?
A new Private Investigator will typically make around $20 per hour. An experienced and proven Private Investigator can make up to $40 per hour, even double that if they work for themselves.
Can I become a Private Investigator with no experience?
Yes, if you have at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. The 100hrs of Private Investigator education will help set you up to become a successful Private Investigator as well as show employers that you have relevant skills acquired through the Private Investigator education and training courses. Private Investigator education can be offered as a Private Investigator online training course or an in-class environment.
Can I become a Private Investigator without a PI License?
Yes, if you live in a jurisdiction that does not issue and does not require you to have a Private Investigator license. For example, the jurisdictions of Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Wyoming do not license people as Private Investigators. Furthermore, many states allow you to work unlicensed under a fully licensed PI. However, most jurisdictions issue and require you to have a Private Investigator license.
What does a Private Investigator do?
There are many different fields an Investigator can work in. However, the most common area a Private Investigator would work in is surveillance regarding insurance fraud. This would entail static surveillance in a vehicle and mobile surveillance, both in a vehicle or on-foot. But this is not the only field an Investigator will work in. Some other common fields are,
Covert Video (CCTV) Installation & Monitoring
Counterfeit, Trademark, and Patent Investigations
Interviewing and Statement-Taking
TSCM (Technical Surveillance Countermeasures) - eavesdropping & bug detection
Network & Data Cyber Security
Accident Investigations & Reconstructions
Asset Recovery Investigations
How do I get a Private Investigator Job?
Assuming you have no experience, you need at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. The 100hrs of Private Investigator education will help set you up to become a successful Private Investigator as well as show employers that you have relevant skills acquired through the Private Investigator education and training courses. Private Investigator education can be offered as a Private Investigator online training course or an in-class environment.
How much is a Private Investigator salary?
Private Investigators mostly work on investigative files or surveillance operations with varying hours. This means that most Private Investigators make an hourly wage instead of a salary. A new Private Investigator will typically make around $20 per hour. An experienced and proven Private Investigator can make up to $40 per hour, even double that if they work for themselves. However, there are Private Investigator fields where it is common to earn a salary due to stable 9 to 5 hours. Desk Investigations (investigations performed in an office) for example, is a Private Investigator field where you would be paid a salary and work in a 9 to 5 environment. A salary for a new PI in this field would be around $60k per year.
Do Private Investigators Investigate Murder?
Private Investigators can and do investigate murder; however, it is very rare. What a Private Investigator will investigate most in their career will be insurance fraud.
About the Author
Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 13 years as a Professional Private Investigator. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting investigations and security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous investigative & security training programs in various capacities. Peter has helped many individuals on their journey to becoming Private Investigators.