How to Become a Private Investigator

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Becoming a licensed private investigator can certainly provide a good income for you and your family, particularly once you’ve established a reputation in the community for being professional and discreet.

And once you’ve developed a good list of clients and some effective word of mouth advertising (the very best kind), you should be good to go for some time.

But before making a final decision on this career choice, you’ll want to do your due diligence to ensure that a life as a private investigator is, in fact, right for you. Once you’ve done so, you can begin the process of actually getting to work and becoming known in the community.

Let’s go over a few of the steps that you’ll need to work through in order to begin your career as a professional private investigator.

Obtain a license in the state or states in which you plan to work. This is a necessary first step and something that will definitely need to be done before you can begin accepting clients. If you live in an area of a certain state that is close to neighboring ones, you may want to consider becoming licensed in more than one state. Keep in mind, if you don’t do this, that you will be limited to working in only the state where you do hold a valid private investigator’s license.

Obtain a concealed weapons license. This isn’t technically necessary in order to work as a private investigator, but due to the type of work that you’ll be performing, it is highly advisable. If you want to carry a weapon, you will need to apply for this license. As with the point above, you’ll need to do this separately in each state where you’ll be doing business.

Open a business or interview with another agency. It’s up to you which direction you want to go, but you may want to consider working for someone else for a while before going it on your own. But if you do open your own business, be sure that you have all of the proper licenses, certifications and other documents necessary to do so. “We hire between 10 and 15 new detectives a year” says Danny Gomez, a licensed Private Investigator in Austin TX. Gomez went on to say, “Degrees, military and law enforcement experience is always a plus, but someone that is trainable alsp goes a long way.”

Submit to a background check. You’ll need to be fingerprinted and submit to a background check before starting work with any reputable agency. This is fairly routine and, as long as you don’t have anything particularly bad in your past, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Find a job. Now that you’ve handled all of the preliminaries, you’ll need to accept a job offer and get to work. With a little bit of good fortune, you’ll have more than one to choose from and can pick the one that best suits your wants and needs. You can always search WAPI for investigation firms around the world.

Complete your on the job training. After accepting a job, there will be a little bit of a learning curve as you adjust to your work as a full-time private investigator. Just be patient during this process and learn as much as you can from those who have come before you. In no time at all, you’ll be on your own and building what will hopefully be a long-time career as a professional private investigator.

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