Master Private Detectives share with you in elaborate detail  step-by-step procedures in this complete private investigator training course and show you exactly . . . "How to Become a Private Investigator and How to Conduct Any Investigation!"
 
Home
Course Includes
Instructors
Q & A - Advice
Sample
Reviews
Endorsements
National Associations
State Associations
Licensing
Contact
Company
Order
Guarantee
Site Map

 
Learn from the Pros in the Investigative Industry.

Sign up for our FREE Training Webinar.

 
Security Management Magazine 
 
Security Management Magazine

Review
"This well-researched and thought-out  Private Investigator Training Course helps  Investigators move easily toward their goals. Beyond setting out the nuts and bolts of private investigation, the Course is loaded with insider tips, strategies, and resources." ~ Security Management Magazine    Read the complete Review

 
National Association of Investigative Specialists

Review
"'Secrets of Top Private Eyes,' is truly one of the top investigative training programs to be  developed to date." - Ralph Thomas, President, National Association of Investigative Specialists
Read the complete Review

 
Private Investigator

"I wish I had found your Private Investigator Training Course prior to all the leg work I had to do to get the ball rolling on a career as an investigator."

Sue Moore,
Private Investigator
Read More
 

Questions & Answers

Private Investigator Career Advice
From the Experts

 Private Investigators Career

Q.. Would I make a good private  investigator?

Basically the field of private investigation is so vast and diverse, from the very high tech like computer fraud, to highly oriented people skills, like interviewing witnesses, that there is a need for virtually all types of skills and people. Probably the most necessary attribute is the deepest desire to get at the truth. An almost dog like tenacity, hence, the symbol of the hound dog with the magnifying glass used so often in private investigation. So, if you like to follow every thread, dig out every clue and solve puzzles then you would be a good investigator. The one other thing that was common among all of our investigators was the deep desire to help people and fulfill their clients needs. These two things together made for not only a good investigate but a highly successful investigator.

Q. What does the job of a professional investigators involve?

Professional Investigators employ techniques such as public record searches for background checks and pre-employment screening. Investigators interview people to gain information, gather evidence and verify facts about individuals, events or companies. They may provide assistance in civil liability and personal injury cases, insurance claims and fraud, child custody cases, premarital screening and martial infidelity. Some Private Investigative firms offer executive and celebrity protection and some serve court papers.

Background & Training

Many people are of the opinion that most PI's are former police officers or government law enforcement agents. The fact is, the majority of Professional Investigators have little or no training or experience in those fields.  Almost anyone, man or woman, no matter his or her age, background or experience (with the exception of convicted felons, of course), can become a Professional Investigator.

Q. What training will I need to become a private investigator?

While there are no academic requirements for this field, a two-year associate‚Äôs program or a four-year bachelor's program in a criminal justice-related area is helpful to an aspiring  Private Investigator. Most Private Investigation firms offer a variety of services requiring their  Investigators to have a broad base of knowledge in several areas. 

Many  Private Investigator schools offer classes in specialized subjects such as insurance and criminal investigations. These subjects are also offered by community collages. Seminars designed to enhance investigative skills and specialties are conducted by state and national private investigative associations. Enlightened  Investigators expand their knowledge base with courses and seminars throughout their career.

The best training is on-the-job-training under an experienced investigator. The trick is convincing the Private Investigative firm that you know enough to make it worth their while to hire you. Get started with a good well-rounded course that addresses the most common types of investigations, such as "Secrets of Top Private Eyes." More information available from the Department of Labor

Q Are internships required for Private Investigators?

Many states require Professional Investigators to serve an apprenticeship or internship with an established, licensed PI or with an investigative firm. Several Professional Investigator schools exist that offer entry-level schooling and training that may or may not enhance on-the-job training and the time-given acquisition of basic skills.



Q. What should I do to get started on a career as a Private Investigator?
 
Linnea Sinclair, Private Investigator "Someone who wants to get started in this field, yes, go for it!  It's not a shadowing profession. It's not Sam Spade, it's a good, energetic, interesting and productive way of contributing and making a living. You're doing the first thing you should do, right now - which is research." - Linnea Sinclair, Private Investigator and Instructor

Q.  Is a police background essential?
 
Peter Crummey - Becoming a Private Investigator "A lot of people think you need to have some kind of law enforcement background to be a Private Investigator. Not true at all.  Our business is comprised of people who are streetwise and able to go out and get the information. You've got to be a go-getter. Nothing to do with police work, or police techniques. Being a PI is gaining information and knowledge. We go to a lot of seminars and read a lot of articles.
But, when it comes to 'formal' schooling, there's no formal.  I think even if you went to the John Jay School of Criminal Justice they could not get you ready for doing investigations." - Peter Crummy, Private Investigator and Instructor

Q. What if I have no special training?

Bob Brown - Becoming a Private Investigator "Having a background as a truck driver can be very sensible experience for the investigative business.  Say you're doing an undercover job for a trucking firm.  The man's been a trucker: that could be very essential.  A man comes to me and he says, 'I've worked 20 different jobs in my life.'  I ask him to tell me about each and every job he's ever worked - what he did for a living. That man is going to be vital to me if I need to put him on the job. I might need someone to pose as a real estate agent. We employ pretexts all day long in the investigative business." - Bob Brown Private Investigator and Instructor

Women Investigators

Q.  What is the history of women in the investigative field?
 
Nick Beltrante & Pat Beltrante "In the early 70's there were very few female private investigators. I know of only one. I did not hire women then because I just did not think they would make good investigators. It was 1976 before I hired the first woman investigator, a woman who really proved herself and proved to me that women make excellent investigators. She did a superb job for me and was with me several years."
Since that time, I've hired many women. In each instance, they have been superior to male investigators. They can acquire data that men cannot get. They are less threatening. more and more women have come into Private investigation business, not only as investigators, but as owners of agencies." - Nick and Pat Beltrante, PI's, Instructors, Beltrante & Associates Private Investigations

Q. Are there many opportunities for women investigators?

Since the early 1970s more and more women have come into Professional Investigation business, not only as Private Investigators, but as owners of agencies. Women Investigators are now in big demand because they are less threatening. They can acquire data that men cannot get. Women are naturally inquisitive by nature and generally more compassionate. Women look at a case - especially if it involves child custody or marital situations - from a different angle then a man. A woman is also a natural for undercover work.

Q  Do women make good investigators?
 
Pat Beltrante "Women can do a lot more. We're not intimidating to people. I would open my door to a women as opposed to a man. People will spill their guts to a women when they won't give a man the time of day. We're sweet and nice and we're not out to hurt anyone. - Pat Beltrante PI - Beltrante & Associates

Q.  Are there advantages for women investigators?

Mrs. Crummey "Women are naturally inquisitive. By nature we're more detail oriented. Woman are generally more compassionate. Women look at a case - especially if it involves child custody or marital situations - from a different angle then a man. A woman is also a natural for undercover work. People tell me all the time - and I take it as a compliment - 'You don't look like a Private Investigator.'  I like that." - Liz Crummey, Private Investigator - Crummey Investigations, Inc.

How much income can a Professional Investigator make?

Private Investigators enjoy well-paying and worthwhile careers. Experienced Private  Investigators can earn up to $100,000 a year while deriving satisfaction from helping people and working on cases. Earn up to $52,000 per year! Self-employed Private  Investigators charge rates between $50 and $150 per hour!

The Department of Labor states the median annual wages of salaried private detectives and  Investigators were $41,760 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,870 and $59,060. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,500, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $76,640. Wages of private detectives and  Investigators vary greatly by employer, specialty, and geographic area.

Private investigative agencies bill clients $40 to $150 per hour for their time. The average hourly rate across the nation is about $50 to $55 per hour. Those who charge less than $40 per hour usually live in non-affluent areas. Those who charge more than $55 to $65 an hour usually either have a good specialty and/or are located in an affluent part of the country. Most who bill $100 an hour or more have advanced degrees or a strong links to some specialty market.

Private Investigator Licensing

Will I need a private investigators license?

Most of the fifty states have a licensing law for private investigation. In the states where there is no state licensing law, the local jurisdictions like counties or cities sometimes require a license.

All you need to be licensed as a private investigator is to be 18 years of age, of sound mind and with a clean criminal record. (In some states you may also need to intern with a private investigative firm and/or pass a course or exam.)

Links to State Licensing Information. At the time, these state require no state private investigators license, There maybe however city and/or state business licenses. (Check your state to be sure): Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, South Dakota

Most states require PI's to be licensed. Some states have no licensing requirements whatsoever. Requirements vary widely. Ask your state department of professional regulation for up-to-date information.  Some counties and cities also require special licensing. You should visit occupational licensing departments, which are usually located in courthouses. See State Licensing Information for Private Investigators
Mike Askew - Becoming a Private Investigator "Every state is different. Go to your local law library and obtain a copy of the statute that regulates agencies. Call the Division of Licensing in your state capital and ask them what chapter pertains to investigative agencies." - Mike Askew, Private Investigator and Instructor

Q. Each state has a different set of rules governing the licensing of Private Investigators. What are Virginia's requirements, for example?
 
Nick Beltrante, Instructor, Private Investigator Schools "I teach a sixty-hour course and about twenty hours of that course involves the study of rules and regulations for PI's in Virginia. We have rules and regulations governing PI's because the state wants to make sure if a person goes out and practices the investigative profession, he or she is fully aware of responsibilities. The remaining forty hours of the course are devoted to such things as surveillance. The students actually go out on field exercises and do surveillance. They do photography work and report writing. Several hours are dedicated to appearing in court." -  Nick Beltrante, Private Investigator and Instructor

Specializing as a Private Investigator

Earning the credentials to do business as a Professional Investigator can be a very rewarding and fulfilling accomplishment, both personally and financially. PI's often work alongside law enforcement officers, attorneys, and business leaders. Private and public organizations, insurance companies, and banking institutions call upon PI's to perform important investigative work, such as surveillance: tailing, stakeouts, videography, still photography, and audio recording.

Q. What are recent trends in investigation?
 
Nick Beltrante, PI "Some of the most recent trends are in on-line searching, pre-marital investigations, worker's compensation, and claims for insurance companies. Locating missing persons, of course, has always been a mainstay in the private investigative profession. 
Financial investigations is a field that needs a large number of investigators. brokerage firms, banks, lawyers - even private individuals - require this service. It could bring big dollars in for the right investigator."- Nick Beltrante, Private Investigator, Washington DC
 
Mike Askew   Private Investigator Training "Product liability is one high-paying investigative specialty. In many instances, the request is for someone to find a defect in a vehicle or conveyance - be it a car, motorcycle, or bicycle. We've handled cases from helmets to mechanical chairs." - Mike Askew , PI and Instructor
 
Roger Gibson - Private Investigator Training "Computer fraud. There has been a dramatic increase in this type of investigation, and someone capable of handling it would certainly be in a good position to earn many dollars. It's a specialty area that requires a good knowledge of computers."  - Roger Gibson, PI and Instructor
 
Linnea Sinclair, Private Investigator "What premarital work can be for anyone is a basic background investigation. Is this person truly divorced or widowed, as they say they are? That's probate records, that's civil court records: divorces. Is this person from where they say they're from? Have they spent their life there? Call up county records. Do they own property there? It's public records. Is this person really in this business? Is he or she really a CPA?" - Linnea Sinclair, Private Investigator - Instructor

Also:
  • Detection of listening devices and cameras (bug sweeping)
  • Undercover and covert operations
  • Corporate espionage and competitive intelligence
  • Background: conduct, habits, credibility, character & reputation
  • Relationship, marital, and custody investigations
  • Skip tracing
  • Locating missing heirs and witnesses
  • Conducting injury or wrongful death investigations
  • Investigating accidents, fires, damage to property
  • Locating assets, stolen property
  • Providing patrol, guard, and bodyguard services
  • Gathering evidence for civil and criminal proceedings
  • Serving legal papers
  • Investigating employee theft, loss prevention, narcotic & alcohol abuse
 

The Private Investigator's Arena

The investigative and security industries are big and getting bigger.  Each year new high-tech clients vie for the services of experienced PI's who understand the diverse technologies and possess the up-to-the- minute skills required to meet those particular demands. Following are just a few of the industries that contract with and hire Professional Investigators.

Retail Investigations

More than fifty percent (50%) of employees steal from their employers.  Shoplifters abound.  Security personnel and Professional Investigators work undercover to prevent theft and revenue loss.

Attorneys

Attorneys depend on PI's to investigate many situations.  PI's assist attorneys in cases ranging from relationship and child custody disputes to corporate espionage to product liability litigation to wrongful death and personal injury.

Insurance Investigations

PI's earn more from the insurance industry than from any other single industry.  PI's investigate and prove suspicious and fraudulent claims for insurers, investigate false injury claims and other fraud, perform background and assets checks. Some insurance investigators provide skip tracing services: the more hits, the more lucrative the tracer's earnings.

Computer Crime

As computers become more and more a part of our daily lives, the crooks become wiser in ways to use them to commit crimes. This area of investigative endeavor promises to pay handsome rewards to those well-versed in the computer sciences.

Industrial Espionage Investigations

A prosperous company hires a high-paid expert to work on a problem concerning an important component in one of its major systems.  Two years later, that same expert (the expert that management thought would produce the magic solution from his hi-tech bag of tricks), has quit the team and departed for a better life with a major competitor. And he's taken the company secrets with him.

To prevent this and other costly corporate espionage, firms hire PI's to weed out spies and wrongdoers.  Experience and knowledge of the inner workings of corporations and businesses are prerequisite training for this type of assignment.

Professional Investigators Associations

There are many state and national professional private investigator associations you might consider joining.  By aligning yourself with these groups, you will benefit from the educational, networking and business opportunities each affords.  Private Investigators who begin networking from the beginning of their career enjoy the greatest success.  Attend association meetings and functions: you'll increase your knowledge of the industry as a whole and broaden your base of contacts. See Private Investigator Associations

 
 

 
Follow Us  

Join Us 
How to Investigate Blog   Join our Yahoo Group   Ask How to Investigate    
Better Business Bureau

Course Includes | Instructors | Q & A | Sample | ReviewsEndorsements
Licensing | National Associations | State Associations
Contact | Company | Order  | Guarantee | Site Map


Secrets of Top Private Eyes ©1993-2013 - Private Investigator Training Course
A Division of Investigative Professionals - On the Web Since 1996