Private investigators conduct secret research on people using a variety of different methods. A lot of the work is done over the telephone. Another way that a growing amount of research is done these days with the aid of computers and as a result there is more and more work available in this sub-field. They are also hired to conduct interviews to screen certain individuals. Another typical duty is on-site surveillance, where the private detective will spend several hours in a car watching certain people and events.
Businesses, private individuals and lawyers all hire private investigations specialists to carry out these duties. They are even hired by large corporations to conduct external and internal investigations. An example of external investigation is false billing by crooked suppliers trying to bilk the company out of cash. Internal investigations can focus on employee drug use, stealing funds, or ripping off merchandise. Retail stores also hire private investigators, for example, to look into false compensation claims. If a certain employee is off work collecting benefits for a bad back and a private detective records him at home putting on a new roof, the employer is definitely going to want to know about it. There are even specialized private investigators, like those who track intellectual property theft rings. There are many options available.
There are certain tools that private detectives use in the course of a day. Computers are used mainly to find out certain personal information about the subject. Binoculars or scopes are used to see people from long distances. Recording equipment such as video cameras are also used. Finally, there is nothing simpler than a cell phone and note pad. There is a lot if information that can be gathered using a cell phone.
Although there is no one prerequisite course for becoming a private investigator, there are introductory courses available. Often applicants with related backgrounds, such as military, policing, insurance, government intelligence or auditing, are chosen. People involved in collections or private securities are also given preference. We recommend finding a private investigator training school below and work towards a certificate program.
Generally speaking, people with a criminal history are not allowed to become private investigators. In most states, you must hold a private investigations license. Depending on the state the applicant must also have a certain number of hours completed working in a related field. Also, a personal background check is usually required. Finally, the student must often pass a legal test before entering the field.
Although there is some competition for positions in the private investigations field, there is expected to be a growing demand. Because of the Baby Boomer phenomenon, many individuals in the field are expected to retire in coming years. Many entry-level positions are expected to continue to be offered by the retail sector, especially large chain department stores. Also, there is a growing number of lawsuits, so many lawyers are expected to hire private investigators. Security needs with regards to business documents also dictate a high demand. And finally, businesses that conduct large numbers of transactions and that are concerned about intellectual property will need many private investigators.