There are dozens of specialized areas that a Private investigator can chose to focus on, and it’s unusual to find any one Investigator that covers them all though many may cover more than one.Your chosen specialization may be as a result of your previous career path or profession. For example, if you have a background in IT you may choose to specialize in computer forensics.
But whatever your chosen specialization, all Private investigators require the same keen eye for detail, observation skills and an analytical mindset. Your main job will always be to collect and analyze information, solve mysteries and uncover facts.
What is a Professional Specialization?
A Private Investigator’s specializations fall into three main categories but all still need the ability to conduct effective interviews, search public records, carry out surveillance, gather evidence that’s fit for court proceedings and potentially work with various lawyers and corporations. These categories are: computer forensics; legal, corporate and financial investigations; and infidelity and divorce investigations. There are other areas to specialize in such as fugitive recovery, providing security services or finding missing persons.
Although some Private Investigators are independent, many work for specialist organizations such as insurance companies, commercial organizations, or legal firms which will dictate their specialization to a certain degree. But regardless of the specialization, a Private Investigator must be licensed by the state (with few exceptions), obey all laws and follow a strict set of standards.
Why should Private Investigators specialize?
Ralph D. Thomas from PIMall notes that there are both advantages and disadvantages to becoming a specialized Private Investigator. As a specialist you can stand out from the crowd and be recognized as an expert in your particular field. It also gives you the opportunity to progress further on your subject area by adding more specific case histories and experience to your work record. You can carve out a niche for yourself among those in the community you serve. But it may also mean restricting your target market and subsequently the amount of business available to you.
BLS.gov describes the variety of environments a Private Investigator may work in, from being purely office-based and in front of a computer or on the phone all day, or out in the field interviewing people and conducting surveillance. They also note that the hours can be long and irregular. So before deciding to whether to specialize, you should consider the type of work you enjoy doing and that you’re good at, where you want to work and if you like working alone or as part of a team.