How to Become a Private Investigator

In order to become a licensed private investigator you need to have specialized investigator training that usually comes from attending and graduating from professional licensed private investigator schools.

Attending private investigator school is necessary because a private investigator not only needs to learn their tradecraft, which is how to use the tools and techniques necessary to conduct an investigation, but he or she must also become thoroughly familiar with the laws the govern what a private investigator can and cannot legally do while conducting an investigation.

In order to learn to become a private investigator, you should choose investigator training that is conducted by actual private investigators who have years of experience in the field. That way you’ll benefit not only from receiving practical knowledge, but you’ll get an opportunity to discuss actual cases and see how the private investigator handled themselves during those cases.

There are private investigator schools throughout the world, but you’ll get the best training if you choose one that is in the same jurisdiction that you plan to get your private investigator license in. That’s because the laws that regulate the private investigator vary among jurisdictions and you need to know about the specific laws that will be governing your day-to-day activities.

Although the instructors and their level of experience may vary between schools that teach private investigator skills, you’ll find that the best licenses private investigator schools will teach this core curriculum:

1) Background Investigation Techniques

You’ll learn how to investigate a person’s past in order to determine their education level, criminal and financial records, employment history, income level and their general reputation for honesty and good citizenship.

2) Skip Tracing

Skip tracing is the art of finding people who have either gone missing on purpose, because they are running away for debts, legal issues or family responsibilities, as well as people who are not actually in hiding but their current location needs to be determined for any number of legitimate reasons. These people might be heirs in a will, witnesses to an event that occurred, or even former lovers who are trying to get reunited. Skip tracing is a very common assignment among private investigators.

3) Surveillance and Counter-Surveillance Techniques

Yes, private investigators are often required to follow people, or observe their behavior from concealed locations, without being discovered. This is particularly true during investigations involving insurance or workman’s compensation fraud investigations as well as domestic private investigations involving a suspected cheating spouse.

4) Legal Investigation Techniques

Many private investigators spend nearly their entire career working with attorneys, insurance companies and corporations conducting investigations on their behalf. That’s why private investigation schools spend so much time teaching you how to write professional reports and give courtroom testimony.

Of course, you’ll also learn about self-protection techniques, the weapons laws covering private investigators in your state or government jurisdiction, and whether or not you have the right to make an arrest as either a private investigator or private citizen.

Once you graduate, many private investigator schools will even help you find your first job in the exciting field of private investigations!