How to become a private investigator

how to become a private investigator

Becoming a private investigator is both a challenging and rewarding job. Today we will be looking at how you can become a private investigator and by the end of our article, you should know if becoming a private detective is a good career choice for you.

What is a private investigator?

what does a private investigator do

Private Investigators are usually employed by police forces, law firms, private companies or individuals to help them with legal and personal problems.  

Private detectives can be hired for a wide range of problems including corporate investigationscheating partner investigations, missing persons, bug sweeps and so much more.

Private Investigators will work on behalf of their clients to uncover and record any evidence they find and they will then show it back to the client in an easy to understand way.

As a private investigator you may need to:

  • Meet with clients discreetly.
  • Research information.
  • Track someone.
  • Use social media and other databases to find a missing person.
  • Perform background checks.
  • Conduct surveillance.
  • Interview people.
  • Prepare reports.
  • Investigate crimes.
  • Study public records.

No two days are the same as a private detective and while it can be a difficult job it’s often very rewarding when you can provide someone with the truth that they need.

What qualifications do you need to become a private investigator?

private investigator qualifications

In the UK there are no formal qualifications needed to become a private detective. There are no governing bodies and no regulations that a person has to stick to, to become a PI. You don’t even need to sit an exam or have a license.

The barrier to becoming a private investigator from a legal sense is pretty low, therefor the private detective agency world is full of fly by night agencies. If you do want to become a private investigator you will have to tackle that problem when you try to land clients.

Generally, most private investigators will come from a police or military background. Although this isn’t a requirement it does help when becoming a private detective as you will have experience in carrying out investigations. If you come from a background of investigation it will help when you transition to becoming a private eye.

Why become a private investigator?

why become a private investigator

There are many benefits of becoming a private investigator so this all depends on what you want out of a career. A private investigator can be well paid if they are good at their jobs and can get clients. You may also go into private investigation if you want an exciting career. As a private investigator, you may one day be investigating a cheating spouse and the next day you could be performing surveillance or sweeping a corporate office for bugs.

Private investigations aren’t like the movies though and it isn’t all exciting, there may be times when you are sitting in a van for hours on a surveillance job or you could be scanning a warehouse for bugs and not find a thing. Just like with all jobs, being a private investigator will have its good and bad days.

Job satisfaction is also another good reason for becoming a private investigator. Often your clients will be anxious, nervous or in dire need of help and being able to help people in these situations is a great feeling. Especially when you can provide them with the evidence they have suspected for a long time.

Salary for a private investigator

If you work for another private detective agency then you may be put onto a salary but if you consider being self-employed then your wage will be determined by the jobs that you take. For example the cost of hiring a private investigator changes by the job.

If you want to earn more money maybe you could focus on one area of private investigating that pays the most amount of money while being quick to perform. You could also build out a team of private investigators which will allow you to take on more jobs.

How to get jobs as a private investigator

how to get a job as a private investigator

If you are starting and you don’t have any clients you will need to advertise your services. This can be done by creating your own website, setting up social media and posting content that potential clients would like to see.

You could also contact other private investigators to see if they have any jobs that they don’t want or need or if they have jobs they need help with. This will give you experience as well as a wage for you to keep going. By doing good work you will build up a network of other private investigators and clients and you will ramp up your work volume quickly.

Final Thoughts

If you want to become a private investigator having a background such as coming from the police or military is going to help. Especially if you do any type of legal document handling. However, with that said it isn’t a requirement as there are no regulations to becoming a private detective in the UK. If you are a critical thinker, have an analytical mind and can follow evidence then you can be a private investigator.

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