Private Investigators

Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security > Law Enforcement Services

Projected Growth: Faster than average

3300+
Projected Job Openings

Medium Preparation Needed

Job Description

Your job is to Gather, analyze, compile and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.

Common job titles of Private Investigators include:
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Experience and Education

Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

  • 37.69% said they needed a Bachelor's Degree.

  • 25.11% said they needed a High School Diploma.

Tasks & Responsibilities

Wondering what Private Investigators REALLY do throughout a day at work? Perhaps you should know what you’ll be doing all day before pursuing a career. So here are some tasks that Private Investigators can be found doing during the work day. Hover over each task for information about relevance and importance. Scroll further to find a list of other careers that have similar tasks.


Essential Tasks

    Write reports or case summaries to document investigations.

    Search computer databases, credit reports, public records, tax or legal filings, or other resources to locate persons or to compile information for investigations.


Regular Tasks

    Expose fraudulent insurance claims or stolen funds.

    Question persons to obtain evidence for cases of divorce, child custody, or missing persons or information about individuals' character or financial status.

    Conduct private investigations on a paid basis.

    Conduct personal background investigations, such as pre-employment checks, to obtain information about an individual's character, financial status, or personal history.

    Warn troublemakers causing problems on establishment premises and eject them from premises when necessary.

    Confer with establishment officials, security departments, police, or postal officials to identify problems, provide information, or receive instructions.

    Alert appropriate personnel to suspects' locations.

    Observe and document activities of individuals to detect unlawful acts or to obtain evidence for cases, using binoculars and still or video cameras.

    Obtain and analyze information on suspects, crimes, or disturbances to solve cases, to identify criminal activity, or to gather information for court cases.


Occasional Tasks

    Monitor industrial or commercial properties to enforce conformance to establishment rules and to protect people or property.

    Count cash and review transactions, sales checks, or register tapes to verify amounts or to identify shortages.

    Apprehend suspects and release them to law enforcement authorities or security personnel.

    Investigate companies' financial standings or locate funds stolen by embezzlers, using accounting skills.

    Testify at hearings or court trials to present evidence.

    Perform undercover operations, such as evaluating the performance or honesty of employees by posing as customers or employees.

What Tools and Technologies do Private Investigators use?

The future of work is gonna be… techy🤖. No matter the career path, you’ll have to understand what the experts use to get the job done. Employers want to see practical experience with these tools and technologies. Use these lists to figure out what tools you need to learn and see trends about up and coming tech. Scroll further to find a list of other careers that use similar tools.

Tools

Personal computers

Optical telescopes

Night vision goggles

Laptop computers

High powered binoculars

Handguns

Global positioning system GPS receivers

All Tools

Fingerprint evidence kits

Digital video cameras

Digital audio recorders

Desktop computers

Computer data input scanners

Compact digital cameras

Biological evidence collection kits

35 millimeter cameras

Technologies

Data entry software

Computer imaging software

Email software

LexisNexis

What Skills Do Private Investigators Need to Have?

Let’s be real… take a look in the mirror! Do you have the what it takes to join the other Private Investigators? The Skills? The Ability to succeed? If so, and you enjoy using these skills, then this job is for you. If not, GOOD NEWS, you can always pick up a new skill if you’re willing to put in the effort 💪

Skills

Active Listening

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking

Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Writing

Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Social Perceptiveness

Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Active Learning

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Monitoring

Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Judgment and Decision Making

Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Coordination

Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Service Orientation

Actively looking for ways to help people.

Time Management

Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Abilities

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Inductive Reasoning

Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Comprehension

Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Oral Expression

Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Problem Sensitivity

Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Comprehension

Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Cognitive Abilities › Verbal Abilities › Written Expression

Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Cognitive Abilities › Idea Generation and Reasoning Abilities › Deductive Reasoning

Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Everything Private Investigators Should Know…

Private Investigators typically have vast knowledge of the subjects below. Think about this a lot… if you’re not a fan of the subjects, chances are this career isn’t for you. But, there’s plenty of time to learn and continue to learn throughout your career 🎓

Knowledge

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Law and Government

Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Computers and Electronics

Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Clerical

Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

Administration and Management

Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Public Safety and Security

Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

Psychology

Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Real People, Real Stories


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