Private investigators, also called private detectives, function for corporations and individuals to seek information on people. They can also perform other types of investigations, getting financial, legal, or personal information; conducting background checks; and engaging in spy activities. Companies use private investigators because they have an obligation to maintain confidentiality of information that their employees access and handle. They are also able to look into the affairs of others so that they will be aware of any problems that their clients may encounter.
There are many benefits to hiring professional private investigators. For one, they are capable of conducting thorough investigations into the background, including employment and criminal history, driving records, and civil matters such as sexual harassment claims or discrimination. They can also do pre-employment background checks for security reasons, as well as to determine whether potential employees have what it takes to work in certain industries. With their background checks, they will be able to determine if individuals have outstanding credit or criminal records that could affect their ability to get a job or a license. For some companies, they even perform investigations into the claims a person might file after filing for unemployment.
Because of the job market crisis that has affected many businesses in the past few years, many private investigators have tightened their belts and have stayed home to do only the most basic investigation job possible. In contrast, there have been a number of private investigators who have found new opportunities on the online job market. Since there is little or no competition for jobs online, those aspiring private investigators who know how to market themselves effectively can certainly find good jobs.
As you may know, private investigators do not just sit in offices all day and conduct background checks. In fact, they often spend the better part of the day meeting with their clients face to face and performing background checks and other services. For example, some private detectives are hired to perform background checks and criminal records searches to aid mortgage companies in making their lending decisions. In other instances, private investigators may be called in to locate missing people.
Because there are so few options for people in the private investigation field today, some employers offer incentives to those private investigators that have been hired to work for them. For example, some companies hire private investigators on a contractual basis to serve as temporary employees while the company conducts an investigation or performs other business related tasks. In some cases, the company will not hire the individual right away but will instead train the private investigator on a job-training schedule until such time as the company feels the private investigator is ready to make the transition to full-time employment. Often, those interested in private investigation may find such employment to be financially rewarding and worth the effort and time required to get hired.
In addition, since many private investigators are often required to have a law degree, there is an abundance of educational options available to those looking to begin a career in the field. Most private investigators will receive some sort of formal education prior to entering the workforce, although they can also find vocational courses and online courses to help them prepare for the rigors of the job market. In many cases, those interested in private investigation will complete a four-year degree, which prepares students for their aptitude for the job market and helps them develop the analytical skills necessary to succeed. In recent years, an increasing number of four-year universities have offered accredited degrees in criminal justice. Students pursuing criminal justice degrees are usually eligible for admittance into law schools that specialize in the field and may be able to transfer some or all of their credits towards their bachelor’s degree.
Since criminal justice degree programs are rigorous and require a great deal of study and effort, most prospective private investigators will take a year off from their current careers to complete their degree programs. Many colleges that offer criminal justice degree programs will accept a limited number of students, who will then complete the coursework over a set period of time. The criminal justice degree typically takes two years to complete, and students will learn an assortment of subjects, such as police procedures and government regulations, as well as more specialized topics, such as surveillance techniques. Depending on the college or university offering the degree program, students will often work one-on-one with faculty members and be permitted to perform clinical studies as well. With their Bachelor’s degree in hand, aspiring private investigators may work in a variety of departments, including homeland security and intelligence, law enforcement, paralegal services and private investigation.
Becoming a private investigator can be an exhilarating and rewarding career. Those wishing to become private investigators will need to carefully consider the type of work they wish to pursue, and gain a thorough understanding of the many legal requirements and ethical responsibilities that come with the job. Although the field may initially seem intimidating, it is a career that requires research and perseverance, as well as a good amount of intuition. Those who successfully enter the private investigator arena may be rewarded with a lifetime of fascinating work, and social media access that will allow them to stay connected to friends and family.