How to Become a Private Investigator

How to Become a Private Investigator


Pop culture loves to play with the world of law enforcement, but no career has been toyed with more than that of the private investigator.

With their tan trenchcoats, large magnifying glass, and their penchant for “dames”, private eyes have been the subject of many forms of media.

Today though, we look into the real life of a private investigator. If you pick up a few “clues” that interest you, a criminal justice degree may be in your future.

What does a private investigator do?

Private investigators are responsible for the investigations of legal, financial, and personal matters. They use a variety of methods to gather information, including searches on computers, surveillance, and interviews. Private investigators often work alone, with many starting their own start-up investigation firms.

A private investigator will find work with a variety of employers. Entire businesses will hire investigators to look into legal and financial problems. Individuals will hire a private investigator for more personal matters, like a missing person. Attorneys will even hire private investigators to help them dig deeper into a legal case.

Private investigators technically need no formal training but holding a criminal justice degree will make you a more trustworthy and valuable option as opposed to a private investigator without one. A criminal justice degree will also prepare you for aspects of the job that otherwise would only be acquired on the job. On top of that, most private investigators come from a background in criminal justice, which is just another perk of getting a criminal justice degree.

Private Investigator Salary and Job Expectations

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the job market for social workers is in the middle of a influx of jobs that will last another seven years. 7,100 jobs (or a 21% job increase in relation to its size) will be/have been made available from 2010 to 2020. Private investigators are proving to be more valuable with more citizens concerned about their security.

According to, the average private investigator earned $42,870 in 2010. According to, a private investigator can expect to make around $43,000 in today’s market.

Private investigators are in higher demand than ever before. With the advent of computer hackers and the continuing threat of dangerous criminals, any average citizen may call upon the services of a private investigator.

Getting a criminal justice degree will start you towards becoming the next real-life Sherlock Holmes. Once you make that step, becoming a private investigator is just that much easier.

Get information on criminal justice degrees using the form on this page. School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the various programs that are available to help you earn your criminal justice degree.