Love solving mysteries and finding answers to tough questions? If you do, a private detective’s job will be one of the best career options for you. If you have the desired skills and aptitude, you can have a satisfying and rewarding career as a private detective. Such professionals are often hired by individuals, attorneys, businesses and even law enforcement agencies for a wide variety of assignments.
You could be hired to carry out background checks, research on people and property, find missing people, investigate crimes or collect evidence. If you like the job profile, here’s how you can become a private detective.
Get a bachelor’s degree – This is not a prerequisite. But, it may be required when you may apply with a law enforcement agency or investigation firm. Other than that, a high school diploma is sufficient for becoming a private detective. However, adding more educational qualification can spruce up your profile. For example, a degree in criminal justice can be advantageous for private detectives. Other degrees such as forensic science, criminology, finance, etc. may also be helpful.
Gain experience – If you are truly outstanding, you can start your own private detective agency. However, to learn the tricks of the trade, it is always better to gain some experience with an investigation agency. You can choose to work with a firm that offers intensive training to new recruits. You will have to develop both field skills as well as proficiency in investigative software and surveillance systems. Working with an investigation firm will provide you with a solid foundation to start your private detective career.
Get certified – Although not necessary, a certification will portray you as a competent professional among your clients. You can get the title of ‘Certified Legal Investigator’, which is offered by the National Association of Legal Investigators. Similarly, there’s the Professional Certified Investigator certification that you can get from ASIS International.
Obtain license to operate – This will depend on the state where you reside. Many states have laws that require private detectives to have proper license. To get the license, you typically have to pass certain exams and have the desired education and experience. Background checks may also be performed, as part of the license program.
A private detective’s job may seem alluring, but it won’t always be as interesting as you may have expected. Sometimes, things may get quite tedious and mundane. So, be ready for such situations. You also need to understand that becoming a private detective and succeeding in this career are two entirely different things.
For the latter, you will have to learn to think analytically, pay attention to details, develop good communication skills, optimize use of online resources, have patience and improve your problem solving abilities. You also need to gain several years of experience to become a successful private detective.