Table of Contents
Who Is a Private Investigator?
Private Investigators or Private Detectives are trained and experienced people who work for individuals, legal firms, corporations, corporate organizations, or groups to unravel mysteries and find out useful legal information.
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Some of these investigators own their investigation firms and take up contract jobs while others work as staff members for their clients, including attorneys, private citizens, insurance companies, businesses, etc.
The primary goal of a private investigator is to find and verify legal and evidence-based information—to provide evidence. Private investigators achieve their goals by conducting background checks, carrying out surveillance, conducting interviews, working as an undercover accomplice, finding missing persons, tracing contacts and suspects, and researching existing records.
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Seven Steps to Becoming a Private Investigator
Have you seen any Private Investigator movie or TV series? Have you seen Jack Reacher? Have you seen Jessica Jones? Have you seen the Wolf of Wall Street? Have you seen Night Movies?
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These movies and many others will give anyone that thrilling motivation to become a Private Investigator. However, becoming a Private Investigator is more complicated than a few scenes of cinema heroes and heroines or blockbuster creative geniuses or protagonist. There is more!
These Seven Steps will guide you to become a Private Investigator:
Step 1: Evaluate Yourself
There are specific skill sets and experiences that make one an enjoyable and successful Private Investigator. Besides, being a Private Investigator is more complicated than the glamorous idea you have or gained from the cinema.
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There is more! You need to evaluate your practical skillset to ensure that you are fit to take up a PI job role. You should have excellent observation, communication, analytical, and computer skills. You must also possess practical organizational skills and the ability to make rational decisions quickly. You must also be brave at taking risks.
You should also be able to deal with stress and sudden eventualities. You must also be willing to work independently for long hours and on weekends. You are about to become a lone wolf. Evaluate yourself to ensure that you are ready for the adventure.
Step 2: Find out the Requirements in your Country
Regulations are guiding every work or professional practice in the world. These requirements differ from one place to the other. For example, there are different requirements in different states in the United States of America.
You need to meet these requirements to get you a license to practice. You can go to your state licensing agency to find out their specific requirements. You can also ask other existing professionals.
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Ensure you don’t have a criminal record too. It is important to note that there are no requirements to become a Private Investigator in some countries.
Step 3: Choose Your Areas of Interest
Private Investigators work in different fields and industries. You may able to do a lot of jobs and crack in many cases. However, becoming a specialist in one or two related fields will help you gain prominence and visibility in that area.
You can choose to be an investigator for personal and family litigations, which could include investigating missing persons, divorce issues, child custody litigation, property theft, genealogy and probate issues, etc.
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Other specialities include corporate banking crimes, insurance litigations, workers’ compensation fraud, drug trafficking, cybercrimes, criminal prosecution, attorney legal support, brand protection, copyright and plagiarism infringement, etc.
Step 4: Get Education and Gain Experience
There is no specific college degree for those who intend to become Private Investigators. However, some subjects will give some insight into your job role and the laws that will guide your practice.
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We recommend that you take degree courses in criminal law, criminal justice, police science, and criminology. You also need to take classes in your area of specialization. A certification in accounting or economics will be added advantage if you intend to work in the banking or insurance industry.
You also need experience. You can join the police or military to gain experience. You can also join an investigative firm as an intern or volunteer. Hands-on experience will help you understand your class lectures.
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Step 5: Get Physical Training
You will need some martial art classes. It sounds funny, but the job of a Private Investigator requires some physical abilities, primarily if you work on the field. This reason is why over 70% of US Private Investigators are ex-military men. Join a gym and martial art class. You will need the skills someday.
Step 6: Get Your License
If you intend to practice in a country that issues licenses to Private Investigators, get one. You may need to sit for a public safety exam before you get your permit. Some states don’t issue licenses to PIs, but the US government does.
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Step 7: Apply for Entry Jobs
You can now start applying for entry jobs! Get stunning Private Investigator curriculum vitae and start sending your applications to where it is needed. We advise people to start with entry jobs before starting their agency. However, if you are already military or police personnel who want to switch their career, you can start your agency right away.
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You Want to Be Alone Wolf
Wolves are popular dog-like wild animals that generally live and hunt in packs (sometimes up to 10 animals). However, some wolves are usually driven from the box, especially older female wolves.
These wolves live independently and take more risks in catching prey and escaping predators. However, they become brave, courageous, and more reliable. These wolves are called lone wolves. Do you want to be a lone wolf?
Private Investigators spend work independently and take more risk in doing their jobs than state security agencies investigators.
- You may not have a backup squad.
- You may not have a witness.
- You may take all the blame.
- You will have an on-demand job schedule.
- You may be out there at any time of the day.
- You are going to bear almost all your job risk alone.
- You will be a lone wolf!