How to become a Private Investigator - Career HQ
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How to become a Private Investigator

Do you have great observational skills, a curious nature and gifted computer research skills? Whilst these alone don’t quite make you James Bond, it might be worth learning how to become a Private Investigator.

How to become a private investigator

What is a Private Investigator?

Private investigators are hired by people to investigate and gather information and evidence for situations like insurance fraud or missing persons. They usually work on behalf of lawyers, individuals and businesses.

The confidential work of private investigators might require finding and following leads to locate missing people, gather information to be used in legal proceedings, conduct financial and background checks and verify employment and income details.

To accomplish their work, private investigators would usually search for clues in public or court records, take photographs or videos as evidence, find and interview witnesses to supply evidence and conduct surveillance work.

Being a private investigator would require you to have excellent observational skills, strong computer research skills and a solid understanding of legal issues. You would also need to have confidence for court appearances and great communication skills. Because of the sensitive nature of your work, you would need to be unobtrusive and discrete.

Hours & Conditions:

Private investigators usually work irregular and quite possibly long hours depending on the information you are trying to gather. Many private investigators are self employed. You may work in an office or from home but you will generally need to travel especially when you gather information or evidence.

When doing surveillance work you may spend long periods of time sitting, waiting and observing.

How to become a Private Investigator: Qualifications

If you want to become a private investigator you would usually need to complete a VET qualification in investigative services or a traineeship in Investigative Services. Employers would usually require a junior secondary school certificate equivalent.

Most states require you to have a license to operate as a private investigator. To qualify for this license you need to be at least 18 years old and provide a Criminal History Check.

To look at courses that will help you find a role as a private investigator, check out

The job outlook for private investigators is expected to be positive and likely to grow as fast as the average for all occupations. The demand for this type of job will continue to grow because of people’s security concerns, the need to protect private information and the ability of people to pay for private investigation services. Expect strong competition for the job.