What are the Requirements to Becoming a Private Investigator?

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If you want to become a private investigator then you should know first that it is not an easy job because it will require you to undergo several types of training and experience. Even though that it can sometimes not be as glorious as the ones that you see on TVs and movies, it can still be such an exciting career.

The first thing that you’ll have to do before starting a career in private investigation is to acquire the necessary requirements first. If you don’t have any idea what these are then you’re in luck because this article will provide you with that information.

Here are the requirements that you need in order to start your career in being a private investigator.

Get qualified
Jumping into a new career without adequate credentials and certifications would be foolish. There are plenty of online resources to help you out. We recommend you start at the World Association of Professional Investigators. They have a section of their website that talks about qualifications.

Research a location for your new business

Before you invest the huge amounts of time and money into becoming a private investigator, you should conduct some market research to learn if your city has a need for your services, and, if not, which city does.  They can find missing persons (aka skip tracing), spy on an unfaithful wife, or help with child custody court cases.  Atlanta is a great city for private investigators. Many set up agreements with local lawyers, politicians and business owners. New York private investigators also carry good reputations.

You need to study applicable subjects in college

There is no exact degree that you can get in order to become a private investigator but there are those degrees that can benefit you for that career. In fact, a good and solid education can already qualify as experience and training if ever your area will require some licensure. The ideal degrees for this career are criminal justice and Bachelor of Science on different fields. Criminal justice can be a good choice since it focuses on studying the law that governs criminal activity, criminal behavior, and application of certain punishment for that behavior. Bachelor of Science that focuses on fields such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, and biology that has emphasis in the fields of engineering and computer science studies can benefit you in this career as well.

Maintain a clean record

Before you start on your career path as a private eye, make sure that you maintain your ways of being a legal adult especially that has a clean criminal record. When you apply or get hired on your first agency, their standard routine is to perform a background check on you to ensure that you are legal enough to take on this path. If you don’t pass this test then there’s a very good chance that you won’t get hired as well.

Check state and federal firearm requirements

A firearm is sometimes allowed to be carried by a private eye for their own safety. There are strict laws in certain states that govern the issuance of firearms to individuals. The people that are most likely unable or not allowed to carry firearms are those that have criminal backgrounds or are already considered as felons by the state.

Get to know the job requirements of a private investigator

Communication skills are important in this career. You should know that being a private investigator can be pretty exciting to take on. However, there are certain times (almost all probably) that it can drain you both physically and mentally. There are many different tasks involved in which it can assure the overall security of your client. This means that you’ll have to be flexible in whatever you client demands and whatever the situation may require. If you are not up to such tasks then there’s no point that you continue on your career of being a private investigator.

Obtain experience in a similar domain

For you to acquire your license, you need several years of experience in a related field. These related fields may include a military police officer, law enforcement officer, insurance adjuster, employee of a licensed repossessor or licensed PI, or arson investigator, just to name a few. Even though that it may not be a 100% necessary but it can still aide you a lot in your private eye career.

Acquire a license to investigate

If your area requires one then you should definitely have this. There are some states in the US that doesn’t require licensure on a statewide level but there are also those cities that will require you to have one. If you are not sure as to what the requirements are for your local state then make sure to get in contact with your local Department of Public Safety right away to get more piece of this information.

So far, these are the requirements that you need to be aware about before you take on the career of being a private eye. However, you should still note though that these can be altered depending on the agency that you’ll be applying into.

Last updated May 30th 2016