Getting Private Investigator jobs is quite easy in North America. Getting to a point where you can "perform well" in these PI jobs will be a challenge. Many states and jurisdictions allow you to get a Private Investigator job unlicensed under a fully licensed PI agency. So, even though the licensing requirements might be strict, just being able to work a job as a PI will be easy. Information regarding getting a Private Investigator job by working unlicensed is difficult to come by. This is why we have written extensively about working as a brand new Private Investigator in various states, provinces, and countries in our Novel Data PI Blog. Once you obtain the type of PI education we have discussed in previous articles you should have a high chance of obtaining a job as a Private Investigator, working under a fully licensed Private Investigator. Not only will you get a job as a PI, you will start to be able to perform professional investigations.
What Education do I Need to Increase my Chance of Getting a Private Investigator Job?
To get a Private Investigator job, you need education regarding the PI industry and how to perform PI jobs. There are many jobs a PI can perform; however, surveillance and Desk Investigations are the most common.
Learn about the Private Investigator job industry
Learn Desk Investigations
Private Investigator Requirements by country:
Thinking of Getting a Job as a Private Investigator?
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Get a certificate that "actually" matters. When you get certified by Novel Data in the 100 Level course, Private Investigator agencies will be aware that you understand the PI industry. This will give you a great competitive edge in the PI job market. Most PI applicants know very little about the PI job they are applying to. Not you. A PI hiring manager will not want to risk turnaround by hiring someone unfamiliar with the industry, they will choose an applicant who is familiar with what will be expected of them. With Novel Data's certification, that applicant will be you!
How to Become a Private Investigator that gets Hired
Yes, you can become a great Private Investigator that employers want to hire. How? Through Private Investigator education. Not through the short government licensing course, but through at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. This can be online Private Investigator training classes or in an in-class training environment. In order to become a successful Private Investigator that can land a job, you need to become educated on the complexities of the private investigation industry (this will also help you decide if you want to pursue the PI career) and how to set yourself up to become a successful Private Investigator. Secondly, you will need to become educated on how to perform investigations.
To learn the complexities of the job, you will need to understand a few Private Investigator industry topics. Regional licensing requirements for Private Investigators will teach you what you need to obtain your Private Investigator license. To help you decide if you want to enter the career of private investigation you, will have to learn the common misconceptions about the Private Investigation job industry. Understanding the learning curve of a Private Investigator will set you up to become a successful PI and avoid on the job dangers.
Before entering the PI job industry, it is useful to know the challenges encountered as a Professional Private Investigator. This will also help you make career decisions. Then you need to learn what you will be doing as a Private Investigator. Learning the areas of specialization as a Professional Private Investigator and types of clients and corresponding file requirements will help with this. You will need to learn how Investigators obtain job assignments and hours of work to determine if this work environment is right for you.
If you are concerned about your ability to perform the job as a Private Investigator, learning what factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator and what makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator will be essential. It is also important to know the physical and health requirements and health considerations. Then there is equipment. Learning about equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a Professional Private Investigator is a must.
Furthermore, you will need to educate yourself on communication devices and their role in private investigation jobs. Lastly and most importantly, you must learn “The Investigative Mindset.” This will teach you how to think like a Private Investigator. After you learn these concepts, you will be well on your way to becoming a Private Investigator even without experience.
After learning the complexities of the private investigation job industry, you will need to develop practical skills in various areas. The most important areas are Desk Investigations, Pre-surveillance, surveillance, mobile vehicle surveillance, on-foot surveillance, obtaining evidence, and litigious reporting. To learn Desk Investigations, you will need to understand what is a Desk Investigation, Desk Investigation nomenclature, corroborated/ circumstantial evidence, The Evidence Document, The Desk Investigators Mindset, Google Basics for North America, and social media search basics for North America. Surveillance will be the largest subject to learn. Under this field you should learn about setting up a proper surveillance vehicle, surveillance spot checks, and surveillance set ups for various investigative operations.
As a Private Investigator, you will spend the majority of your time performing investigations solo. This is why learning single person surveillance is crucial. Furthermore, you will occasionally work in surveillance teams, so you will need to learn how to perform surveillance with two or more surveillance operatives. Private Investigators perform a lot of their surveillance jobs from a surveillance vehicle, but also on foot, you will need to learn this also. The entire reason Private Investigators are hired, is to obtain evidence. Obviously, learning how to obtain evidence, mostly in video form, is a must. As a Private Investigator, you will need to obtain quality video that is litigious and that will satisfy your client. At the end of all this, you will need to learn how to create an investigative report that will most likely be used in litigation. After you learn all of this, you will have no trouble getting a job and becoming a successful Private Investigator.
It should be apparent now, why and how you can get a job and become a Private Investigator. Yes, the government licensing course is necessary but it will not set you up for success as a Private Investigator. In fact, employers don't really value licensing courses, they value experience and capability. You will always need at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. You will need to learn the PI job industry, as well as how to perform. In fact, becoming a Private Investigator through proper education will set you up to become more successful than Investigators with many years of experience but who have not developed a strong foundation with proper Private Investigator education.
What You Need to Learn to Become a successful PI
Regional licensing requirements for Professional Private Investigators
Common misconceptions about the Private Investigation industry
The learning curve of a Professional Private investigator
Personal challenges encountered as a Professional Private Investigator
Areas of job specialization as a Professional Private Investigator
Types of clients and corresponding file requirements
How Investigators obtain job assignments and hours of work
What factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator
What makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator?
Physical health requirements and health considerations
Job equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a PI
NATO Phonetic Alphabet
The Investigative Mindset
What You Need to Learn to "Perform" PI Jobs
How Desk Investigations are performed
Corroborated & circumstantial evidence
What is evidence & how to structure it
The Evidence Document
The Investigative Mindset
Google as an investigative tool
Social media & investigative search basics for North America
Daily Gear Protocol
Data & evidence security
Active mobile surveillance two or more investigators
Skill vs, luck and circumstances
Risk vs. reward
Understanding & managing Heat
Driving methods for different areas or environments
Filming best practices
Transitioning to foot surveillance
Transitioning back to a surveillance vehicle
Mobile foot surveillance
Identifying the subject
Clothing and props
The physics or mechanics of foot surveillance
Covert equipment & techniques
On foot following techniques & best practices
Transitioning in and out of buildings
Video framing and quality
About the Author
Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 11 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.