Take a Private Investigation Course and Start Your Career as a PI

If you are interested in becoming a private investigator, you need to take a private investigation course. Nowadays there are plenty of schools offering private investigation courses and these schools can provide you good training on how to be a successful private investigator.

Private investigation courses focus on how you, the private investigator, can use any available resources to meet the needs of your clients. In order to take advantage of these courses, you must be a person with a lot of determination. You must also be able to thrive and enjoy being in a dynamic and challenging work environment.

Become a PI from home by taking online courses

Many online schools offer private investigation courses, which makes earning certification as a private investigator very convenient for many. You can complete the courses whenever you have time and Internet access available. Many people choose to take private investigation courses from online schools because doing so enables them to fit their classes around their current work schedules.

Taking a private investigation course online is becoming increasingly popular because they hardly interrupt daily routine. The courses also do not take very long to complete. Their duration is usually dependent on how much time you have available to devote to studies. Typically, it takes 5-12 weeks to complete an online course.

Private investigation courses offered by local colleges

Local colleges or universities offer most offline private investigation courses. These schools typically offer other courses in the field of criminal justice. Schools with police academies are probably the best places to take private investigation courses. Check with your local colleges to see if they offer a private investigation course. If they do not offer one, they may have information on where you might find one near you.

Various private investigation courses available

When you take private investigation courses you will learn a wide variety of skills that will be pertinent to your work as a private investigator. Among the private investigation courses typically offered are:

o First-Hand versus Second-Hand Knowledge
o Types of Private Investigation Work and Services
o Public Records Research
o Interviewing and Interrogation, Surveillance
o Undercover Operations
o Information Documenting Methods
o Investigative Report Writing
o Licensing Requirements
o Investigation Planning
o Case Management
o Case File Preparation
o Ethics
o Criminal Investigations
o Civil Investigations
o Support Investigations
o Trial Support Services
o Special Investigative Services
o Rules and Regulations of Private Investigation
o Role of the Private Investigator

Each private investigation course transitions into the next course as you move towards getting your private investigation certification.

If you pursue a private investigation course, you will find that you have unique skills that qualify you for dynamic and exciting work. You will learn how to get things done that other people do not know how to do while complying with local laws and regulations. Choose a course that fits you best as this is an important factor in your ability to stick with it and learn new skills.

The 6 Most Important Things To Consider When Hiring A Private Investigator

Should you ever find yourself suddenly in need of the services of a private investigator, you are bound to quickly realize that it is not so easy to find an individual or firm that is just right for your particular case. After all, there are many service providers out there who all look capable enough to get the job done.

By making an effort to find out some key information about the private investigators you are considering, you will find it much easier to confidently choose one.

1. Is your private investigator properly licensed and insured?

Most folks may not be fully aware of the long list of possible problems that they can easily run into by hiring an investigator who is not licensed. For instance, such a PI will not be able to testify on your behalf in a court of law. Even written reports from such investigators can end up doing more harm than good to your case because the investigator can easily be blocked as a credible witness even if the information they have collected qualifies to be classified as critical evidence. And remember that life has all kinds of unexpected twists and turns so that at the time you contract a PI, you may not think the matter will ever end up in court. But what if it does? Are you prepared to have your investment go down the drain because of the legal issues surrounding the investigator you hired? You should also make sure that the investigator you hire has adequate professional insurance. Some states require this in order to obtain a license, but ask to see proof of an up-to-date policy.

2. Does your investigator have the experience and expertise to handle your assignment?

As much as a license is important, it is just not enough. There are other factors to be considered. The most important thing to determine is the experience of the investigator who will be handling your case. It really doesn’t matter if a company has fifteen years of experience or three years of experience, your case is dependent on your investigator, not the company.

You should always ask for the name and the private investigator license number of the person who will be handling your case. This can then be verified by checking their license on the state’s website. Most every state has this. It will tell when the person got his license. A person who has had a license for at least four years is usually someone who is serious about the profession. If the agency you call will not tell you the name and license number of the person who will be assigned your case prior to you signing a contract, this is a red flag indicating they are trying to hide something.

Ask questions about your investigator. Just because someone has prior law enforcement or military experience does not automatically mean they have much experience in covert investigations. Ask how your investigator learned to do surveillance and where they got their experience. The ideal investigator has done work for a large national private investigation company for several years in the past. These companies specialize exclusively in surveillance for workers comp/disability cases and are extremely busy so the investigator was probably assigned surveillance cases five or six days a week. The training and experience they got doing these are invaluable and can be used in all types of surveillance.

Find out if your investigator has training in report writing and inquire as to whether he has ever had to testify in court concerning his findings. A good lawyer can often tear apart a report and can make the investigator look incompetent in court if he doesn’t know exactly how to word reports and how to handle the questions asked of them. Your case can be won or lost based on this testimony.

Also ask if they have any other training that might be of value, such as a college degree in a related field, or prior jobs related to investigating. This may show the commitment they have to the profession of private investigating.

3. Are you clear on how billing works?

Many clients may not understand the billing system used by the PI they have hired simply because it may differ from one investigator to the next. You should always expect to pay a retainer. Find out if you must refresh the retainer when the money is spent or if they will continue to work and bill you the final amount when the work is done. Make sure that you know whether you are paying “door-to-door” or if you are only paying for actual case time. Find out how they charge for mileage. It is extremely important to ask where your investigator is located as this can quickly add hundreds of dollars to your case if you are paying mileage and “door-to-door” charges. This can vary greatly from one investigator to another so make sure you are clear on this.

Discuss any other fees that might be associated with the case. Some companies charge “set-up” fees which is merely a charge for them to take your case. Some charge report writing fees and fees for any video which may be obtained while others include it at no extra charge.

Remember that the hourly rate is not an indication of how good or experienced an investigator or his company is. It is merely an indication of how much overhead the person has or how much profit he is wanting to make from your case.

By simply asking and making the effort to understand all the small print related to billing, you can actually save yourself misunderstanding later.

4. Do you have a written contract?

Incidentally, a detailed written contract can also help to clear lots of possible future misunderstandings or misconceptions. Make sure all the charges are clearly stated. Do not expect to find a guarantee in the contract of the results you are hoping to obtain. The investigator is being paid for his time and expertise. No one can guarantee results. Do not work with anyone who refuses to provide you with a written contract. This will protect both you and the investigator should there be any problems. Read it carefully and ask for an explanation should you find something that doesn’t sound right to you.

5. Are they active in any professional association within their field?

Belonging to a professional organization or association in one’s field and being active in it usually sends out a powerful message about an individual’s commitment to maintaining and even improving the industry standards in their area. This is an ideal test that will quickly tell you how professional the PI you are considering hiring is.

6. Are they high pressured or do they want you to make an informed decision?

Unfortunately, there are investigators or agencies who have high pressure salesmen who insist you contract with them immediately or their price may go up if you wait. You may also be told that the price will be higher if it becomes a “rush case”. Most honest investigators will want you to make an informed decision. They also will not charge you extra if you have a case that needs to be done immediately. It is your money so don’t fall for stories or gimmicks from an investigator who is trying to get your business.



The truth is that private investigators can be extremely useful in many kinds of situations and can help solve many problems we face every day. By checking their license to find out how long the investigator has had his license, by asking about previous work experience as an investigator, by getting details about the billing, and by taking your time, you will be able to find an excellent investigator.

Women in Private Investigation Work: Part I: Advantages

Advantages of a Female Private Investigator

When it comes to selecting a private investigator, we are all so

hung up with the male bastion that we forget that a woman can excel as private investigators and possibly in some situations even more so than men.

Perhaps we have pre-conceived ideas of a private investigator as a male. You might blame this on detective books and movies. Mostly what we have read and seen in films or TV is about extremely smart,swanky, not to mention attractive men playing the roles of investigators. Women are often relegated to the background playing the private assistant or a sexy companion at best. The other popular perception is that of honey trappers who have been known to use their charms to expose cheating husbands.

From our experience it is best to use a range of agents depending on the case at hand. Sometimes men are ideal, and at other times women make the best choice.

A Growing Presence of Women Private Investigators

When it comes to the real world where private investigation is a profession like any other, women are doing exceedingly well. Even till about a decade ago only 15 per cent of private investigators in the developed nations were women, but over the past few years there has been a sea change with a number of women joining this profession.

The UK especially deserves a special mention because it has seen a rise of 86 per cent in the number of female private investigators over the last ten years or so. Not to mention Indonesia where IPIA, as one of the first Private Investigation Agencies, was started by a woman and still uses many female agents.

The Gender Advantage in Private Investigation Work

Hiring a private investigator typically means that you are going through a situation that is difficult to understand and often extremely sensitive.

I have read some argue that a woman often has a way with words and thus makes for a better communicator. The argument follows that women are ideally suited to give a patient ear to the problems of their clients and take a more sympathetic approach. It is also claimed that women also have a natural ability to put people at ease with their presence, so both clients and people being investigated seem to trust them better.

I have also read that women seem to bring to the profession natural abilities to network. A woman also can have better access to information because they have a larger access to people and places.

In one article I came across recently I read that PI agencies that are hiring women as private investigators see women as having a clear advantage as they have better abilities to multitask and unlike men, do not find it difficult to suppress their egos in order to attain their set goals. Finally, the article argued, to use a cliché, there is seldom a substitute for a woman’s intuition which more often than not can be a clincher when it comes to solving the most complex of cases.

All these claims seem particularly over the top to me and there was certainly no scientific evidence offered. I

Another common theme I have come across regards the fact that many of an investigator’s targets are cheating men. So the client is generally a woman. So the argument goes that a woman dealing with a woman can establish trust more easily. When it comes to female clients, another woman can repose their trust in a woman in good faith. The comfort factor with a woman is much more when it comes to investigating things like a premarital verification or a case of domestic infidelity.

All these arguments are difficult grounds to prove at least scientifically. Having said that from our experience there is certainly a growing comfort with our clients of using women and a number have specifically asked for a female agent, particularly where the case involves suspected infidelity. Clients often seem to trust women more in some instances than their male counterparts.

For all the arguments put forth about the advantages and disadvantages of women agents I know of no scientific evidence to support an argument either way. I would tend towards the opinion that possibly at the end of the day the difference between a man and a woman is mostly due to differences of character and not that of gender.

“Mostly” – I do believe there are some instances where, rightly or wrongly, gender makes a differences.

In terms of safety it is not unknown for agents to find themselves in some potentially threatening situations.

From our own experience there have been occasions where we have been approached by the bodyguard type of man. Possibly (probably) being a woman reduced any threat of a more physically violent confrontation.

It is very difficult to be 100% sure that gender played a role here. However, what I can say for sure is that whilst all our female PIs have found themselves in potentially violent situations none have ever had violence done to them. Our male agents on the other hand have. I have no scientific evidence if this difference is due to gender, but I do know for sure it is a fact.

It is a sad fact, but I do believe this, that everyone without exception has prejudice of some kind.

Indeed the following illustration may not be true but I appreciate the point being made. In the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles there are, apparently, two doors to enter through. One door has a sign over it reading “Enter here if you are without prejudice”. The second door has a sign over it reading “Enter here if you have prejudice”. This is the first lesson of the museum – the door “without prejudice” is locked.

I recall once at school being told the following “riddle”: a man, who is a doctor, is driving his son to school. They have a car accident and the man dies. The young boy, the son, has a severe head injury and is rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment. He needs instant surgery on his skull. The brain surgeon walks into the operating theatre and seeing the patient says “Oh My God. It’s my son”.

The question is “what is the relationship between the boy and the brain surgeon”? The answer, if you do not know, is at the end of this article. Most people get the answer eventually but I have never known anyone to jump to it immediately.

I would argue that the pre-conception and prejudice of a man as an investigator can be turned to an advantage for a woman. Many cases require surveillance and people would be less likely to suspect a woman as targeting them, making the woman private investigator more inconspicuous.

To finish – the relationship between the boy and brain surgeon? The surgeon is of course the mother.