Are you a PI seeking employment? Below you will find a tool provided by one of our job search partners which allows you to find private investigator jobs in your area.
Whether you are looking for an entry level position or a senior position at a private investigation firm, you are sure to find the best opportunity in today’s job market.
Is being a private investigator a good job?
Many of us find extremely exciting the idea of becoming a private investigator, but actually very few know what this job is really about. Before we dive into this topic, let’s go over some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a private investigator.
- Contrary to what many may think, this field offers boundless opportunities. It is not yet saturated, and it continues to grow. According to BLS.gov, employment is expected to grow 5 percent between 2014 and 2024.
- In addition, this type of job opens the doors to improve certain skills, allowing young investigators to specialize in an area of their choosing.
- Being a private investigator gives you the freedom to choose. You can either collaborate with a trustworthy team or you can work independently. That means that you can be your own boss!
- Greater flexibility compared to a traditional 9 to 5.
- Many private investigation agencies have experience requirements, therefore, those who want to get started in this field will have to be patient before getting hired.
- Private investigators often need to work extra hours, even at nights. That means that, this job won’t leave the worker much time to spend with his family.
- Private investigators have to sit in surveillance for hours, if you lose focus you might miss something important.
What are the requirements?
If you are thinking about becoming a private investigator, you should know that there are state-specific guidelines to follow. This means that requirements vary from state-to-state, and factors such as age, moral character, legal status, among many others; often come into play.
Most states require at least a license to work as a private investigator. A license can be obtained by completing coursework which may not correspond with a traditional bachelor’s degree, and by acquiring relevant work experience. That being said, it is important to be aware of specific education and experience requirements in your state.
What are the states where a license is not required then? Despite certain rules, states like Idaho, Mississippi, Wyoming and South Dakota do not impose particular requirements, thus giving young people the opportunity to advance in this field without having to spend a fortune in courses and higher education.
Private investigator job duties
Private investigators have important responsibilities once they decide to get involved in a case. Their duty is to be accurate, meticulous and objective. There are three main tasks that a good investigator should accomplish properly:
- Research and analyze the events
- Interview to gain further details of the case
- Surveillance to derive the facts
How can I build experience?
There are many ways to build relevant experience: working as a volunteer is a good way to get started. As a volunteer, you can learn from seasoned investigators. For those who have the budget to invest in courses, degrees, and vocational training, there are several options that could help you build experience and find work in this field later on.
How can I find entry-level private investigator jobs?
Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to be hired by a family member with a viable business or agency. However, one great option is to work as a volunteer, just to learn how to perform PI-specific tasks.
Working as a volunteer can be done part time while you receive income from other sources. If the agency that hired you likes your work ethic and quality of work you can be promoted to a full-time position.
Needless to say, once you have some experience under your belt finding a job won’t be as difficult.
Areas of Specialization
There are many niche areas of specialization within the world of private investigating which varies depending on both the type of work undertaken and the differing methods of sourcing and capturing information as well as the nature of the client that issues the work, be it private, industrial or governmental.
Below we have put together a brief guide to some of the more common areas of private investigation as an insight into the diversity that exists within this industry.
General & Missing Persons Investigators
This is the largest and most popular area of personal investigating and as such finding work can be very competitive, even with relevant investigation experience.
One way to gain an advantage is to pass the official CMPI (certified missing persons investivator) training course which will give you a solid foundation in this area of work.
Working in the field of criminal investigation has seen the largest growth in cases over recent years, believed to be mainly due to the courts allowing defendants the right to an investigator and a rising number of sex crime and employee theft investigations. It is also required by most U.S. states for private investigators to possess a licence to operate. For more information on how this affects you can start here.
There is a wide range of job types that fall within the legal umbrella, but also a lot of misinformation regarding practices and techniques that are legally allowed, especially with regards to court work that could potentially be used to undermine a case. A good starting place to research further this field is HG.Org followed by completing a related bachelors degree which is a preferred route of entry into law based work.
To work in any financial industry requires strong numerical skills and high levels of concentration over long periods of time and as such, fraud, business irregularities and other connected investigation work is no different. The Association of fraud examiners is a great resource for up-to-date information, courses and networking events that can help you move forward in this industry, as will having recognised accreditation in mathematics or accounting.
Insurance and fraud cases can be both hard to obtain and expensive to market yourself to prospective clients due to the nature of insurance companies and the way that there offices are often located across the country. A NAPIA membership is a recognised way in which you can connect with both industry professionals and clients alike and provides a source of respectability due to the enforced code of conduct with which it entails.
Perhaps the most romantic image of being a personal investigator is, ironically, the field of infidelity which along with murder investigations was often the image portrayed in noir movies of old. Surveillance and discretion are the two most obvious components in this section but employing tact and sensitivity when communicating with the client is equally if not more important due to the sensitive nature and emotions entangled within your potential findings and this article is useful as an introduction to professional handling of this work.
Do I need my own Equipment?
Every private investigator should have his/her own equipment. PI tools are fundamental for completing investigative tasks, this is why investing in high-quality P.I. equipment is absolutely crucial.
Here are some accessories that should not be missing in your arsenal:
- Digital Sound Recorders
- Video Recorders
- Tracking devices
How should I craft my resume?
If you are trying to find a job, make sure to build your resume in a way that highlights relevant work experience. Focus on making your resume as original as possible, and use keywords that will catch the attention of potential employers.
In addition, you should attach a cover letter that outlines your profile and emphasizes your qualities.
How do I get started?
Finding private investigator job openings is easy. Start by using the job search tool, and indicate your location. You will be presented with a vast range of private investigation job opportunities in your area.