What does a private investigator do? Private investigators are hired for so many different reasons, from checking into a cheating spouse to locating a missing person. It’s not easy work, and you’ll need to have a combination of soft and hard skills to get the job done right. What you’ll do:

  • Talk to people to gain insight and gather information
  • Research
  • Surveillance or trailing someone without them realizing
  • Background checks
  • Use a computer to investigate cyber or physical crimes
  • Investigate insurance claims, missing persons, and liabilities
  • Work for an attorney, business, or individuals
  • Own your own firm, or be employed with one
  • Use a camera and other equipment for investigations

How do I become a private investigator?

Because there are so many facets to the career, you will need to be highly trained before going off on your own. Here’s how you to become a private investigator:

  • Get your high school diploma or GED.
  • Depending on where you plan on working, you’ll either need an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree.
  • Or you can receive on-the-job training, which takes anywhere from a few months to a couple years.
  • You’ll need to have some work experience before being hired. Working in the federal government, with law enforcement, or in the military counts toward that.
  • Most states will require you to be licensed.
  • Certifications are also available. Although they are voluntary, it’s still a highly recommended step to take.

How much do private investigators make?

When you’re just starting out, your average salary will be $27K. Once you start building up your reputation and experience, the median salary will be over $48K, with the top 10 percent of your profession earning well over $87K. Expect your job to have crazy and erratic work hours.

Will there be a job for me?

There will be 4,400 available jobs through 2026, which makes this career much faster growing than the average of all occupations. This is because these is an increase in crimes, and things leading up to a lawsuit that need the skills of a private investigator to handle. There will be a lot of competition in this field, so the more work-related experience you have, the better chance you’ll get hired.