The job of a Private Investigator (P.I.) is well known to anyone who watches TV because it's the stuff shows are built around in prime time. A Private Investigator looks glamorous on the shows, but in the real world is it as glamorous? And do those investigators really get paid? Do they have psychic or extraordinary mental abilities or are they trained for the job like any other profession? Let's examine the real job of the Private Investigator.
A P.I. can be employed by lawyers, insurance companies, military, law enforcement, individuals, FBI and other criminal justice systems. 30% of Private Investigators have their own office and may also employ people to assist them in cases. The type of work a Private Investigator performs can vary, and there are additional office duties that have to be managed if the investigator operates his own business. Here is a list of the activities performed by the Private Investigator:
- A self-employed P.I. would have to do his own marketing and networking with lawyers, companies and other businesses in need of investigative assistance. As a business owner, a P.I. must bill and do collections. He will also comply with any licensing for himself and his employees to practice as a P.I. If other P.I.’s are hired he must do training in the field or in the office and provide supervision.
- Meet with prospective clients and explain the nature of services provided and the cost.
- Schedule meetings with clients or others to obtain information for the investigation.
- Monitor, do surveillance, use the internet and other sources to track information to find people for the client.
- Order equipment such as cameras, computers, fax machines, and radios for assignments.
- Keep records, report evidence and complete reports for clients. File legal paperwork when necessary and give testimony.
The essentials to be a Private Investigator in most states require a license and often work as an apprentice. Licenses vary in each state and requirements can be found easily on the internet. Training can be obtained from institutes, colleges or universities with programs in Private Investigation or Criminal Justice. An Investigator must know the law and work within its schema so evidence is legal and admissible to a court of law.
The Private Investigator can work independently or as an employee for many businesses who need Investigators on staff. The salary range for a Private Investigator is currently $32K to $50K according to salary.com. The outlook for this occupation will grow by 33% over the next 10 years. This growth rate is well above the average but the competition in the field is expected to rise. If you have the essentials necessary for this job, then it could be for you. No psychic skills are required, just good investigative techniques.