When someone wants to uncover sensitive and private personal information, have someone followed, or verify a person's identity, they often turn to a private investigator for help. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), private investigators perform a range of services for their customers including locating missing persons, performing thorough background checks, and investigating online crimes.
The BLS states that some private investigators move into the profession after spending time in law enforcement, although this isn't always a requirement. With or without a background in law enforcement, private investigator training typically teaches students how to conduct research in a way that doesn't attract too much attention and allows clients to maintain their privacy.
Skills taught in private investigator courses
Private investigator career training encompasses a range of essential skills and training that may vary from school to school. However, most private investigator courses teach students these valuable skills, as noted by the BLS:
- How to gather information about subjects or firms
- How to conduct surveillance in an inconspicuous manner
- How to search public records for additional information
- How to prepare information for presentation in a court of law
Private investigator courses may also teach students to use the basic tools required by this profession including:
- Use of binoculars
- Word processing
- GPS tracking, and other handheld devices
In addition to these general skills, private investigator courses sometimes offer instruction that pertains only to certain industries. For example, according to the BLS, private investigation training that focuses on corporate crimes may offer additional training in finance, accounting and business. Likewise, a school that focuses on cybercrimes might offer private investigator courses that introduce students to the basics of computer programming or computer forensics.
How do private investigators use these skills in the real world?
Private investigator career training can also help prepare students for a career as a computer forensic investigator, legal investigator, corporate investigator, or financial investigator, according to the BLS.
Legal investigators, for example, who may learn how to search public records and prepare evidence for trial during private investigator training, could apply those skills to their career. Likewise, computer forensic investigators may use the basic computer programming skills they learned in private investigator training to discover cybercrimes.
The BLS states that many of the skills learned during private investigator training also have the potential to contribute toward a career in other industries.
Students interested in this profession should consider researching private investigator courses in their area before moving forward.
"Private Detectives and Investigators," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/protective-service/private-detectives-and-investigators.htm#tab-1