Private investigators are responsible for finding facts and analyzing information about financial, legal, and personal issues. They may also investigate computer crimes, verify people's backgrounds and look for missing persons. Job outlook for private investigators looks positive with 11% projected employment growth from 2012 to 2022 (The Bureau of Labor Statistics). A number of degree and certificate programs are offered that can help students get into the field of private investigation. Though there are no specific requirements to get into this profession, students can prepare for this career by enrolling in the private investigator certificate.
Private investigators may work in the capacity of computer forensic investigators, legal investigator, corporate investigators or financial investigator.
Certificate in Private Investigator
Earning a private investigator certification shows a level of competence and may increase the chances of finding employment. The certificate programs for private investigators may last for 6 months to 1 year. The duration may vary by the enrollment status of the students. Students in these programs get a chance to learn the methods and techniques in the field.
Students in the private investigation courses may go through instruction in business law, legal writing, law enforcement and legal studies. They also learn about law regulations, and the criminal justice system and its procedures. Courses are also available in crime scene investigation, private investigation and report writing. Besides, classes are also available in criminology, abuse and domestic violence, and the court system.
To enroll in a private investigator certificate students need to hold a high school diploma or equivalent. Some programs may require students to have a bachelor’s degree.
Online Private Investigator Certificate
Some distance learning schools also offer private investigator certificate in online format. These programs can be useful for those who are already working in this field and seek to improve their career prospects by earning additional credentials. Students are provided with a variety of tools that help them study remotely. These may include elearning software, online chat forums, emails and more. These technologies allow students to study, submit assignments and communicate with instructors and classmates without being physically present in the class.
Private investigators can find a number of opportunities. They may work in investigation, guard, and armored car services or government. Jobs are also available in finance and insurance as well as legal services.
The BLS reported that entry-level positions in detective agencies will be greater in number than other industry-related job openings. The experienced private investigators may have an edge over the ones without experience.
Compensation may vary by location, experience and type of employer. Private investigators’ median wage in 2014 was $44,570 (the BLS).
Finding a School
There are plenty of schools that offer private investigator certificates in traditional as well as online formats but it is important to look for the accredited schools. While selecting a program, students must also take into account the general reputation, program duration and fee structure. Making an evaluation of the most popular programs may also help candidates choose the program which is according to their educational and career objectives.