How do I turn out to be an investigator? • Benzinga

Do you have a knack for solving puzzles? Perhaps you have dreamed of getting to the bottom of unsolved cases involving infidelity, organizational theft, or other matters?

This guide delves into the profession. You can also discover steps you should take to become a private investigator.

Investigator overview

Benzinga will help you decide whether a career as an investigator is right for you. Here you will find a job description, average salaries, data on job prospects and training requirements so you can make an informed decision.

job description

Private investigators are used by agencies to solve puzzles. Core tasks include conducting interviews and monitoring, analyzing background data and gathering evidence to facilitate the search for missing people. You may also need to review court records for criminal and civil judgments, do background checks, and conduct investigations into corporate theft.

The top employers for private investigators are in these sectors:

  • Armed cars, investigative and security services
  • Financing and insurance
  • government

Do you prefer to work independently? Many private investigators choose this route to have more flexibility and to increase their earning potential.

Salary information

In 2019, the median annual wage for private investigators was $ 50,510, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Here are the averages by industry:

  • Armed cars, investigative and security services: $ 45,530
  • Finance and Insurance: $ 60,300
  • Government: $ 60,120

Educational requirements

You can start as a private investigator with a high school diploma and work experience. However, getting an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and doing an internship is a good idea to make yourself more marketable.

Before you can be hired, you will also need to gain work experience. Many states require you to be licensed before you can work locally.

Many employers offer on-the-job training to show you the ropes and prepare you for a successful career.

Job Outlook

According to, the demand for private investigators is expected to increase 8% by 2028. This is 3% higher than the average expected growth rate for all occupations.

Tips for becoming an investigator

Keep these tips in mind as you work towards becoming an investigator.

Register for a bachelor’s degree

You want a study program that is offered by a reputable institution and that is rated positively in the eyes of employers. The program should be accredited and have a high placement rate among the youngest graduates. Be aware of the cost of participation – only consider colleges and universities with competitive tuition fees.

Get hands-on experience

Ask about internship opportunities while enrolled in an undergraduate degree. They allow you to gain hands-on experience and learn from seasoned professionals before joining the workforce. Having this experience on your resume is also beneficial – it is impressive to potential employers and helps you stand out from the competition.

Consider an online course

Would you like to better understand the criminal justice system or would you like to learn more about how to become an investigator? Online courses are worth considering. You can find different options for all skill levels, and the registration fees are very affordable. Plus, there are no strict deadlines, so you can view lectures and complete tasks at your own pace.

Best universities to become an investigator

Consider these online criminology degrees to prepare for a career as an investigator.

Find an online university

1. Florida State University

Florida State University offers an online Bachelor of Science degree in criminology and criminal justice. It is tailored for non-traditional students with demanding class schedules and gives you the skills you need to succeed as an investigator. Students receive excellent instruction from seasoned professionals and support from the institution to ensure they graduate on time.

Learn more.

2. Arizona State University

Track an online Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice or a Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University. Both courses are ideal for aspiring researchers and offer 7.5-week courses designed to help you get through the program faster. Classes are led by industry professionals who have advanced knowledge of the judicial system, crime, fraud, gangs and the police.

Learn more.

These online courses cover the basics of criminal justice and private investigation.

Introduction to Criminal Justice

Beginners • 31 videos • 11.2 hours

1. Introduction to Criminal Justice through Udemy

Would you like to learn more about the basic structure and function of the American criminal justice system? Look no further than this highly rated course from Udemy. Introduction to Criminal Justice features 11 hours of on-demand video instruction from Professor of Criminal Justice, Dr. Kevin W. Jennings. The material is divided into sections on Criminological Theory, Victimization, Law Enforcement, Terrorism, Legal Trial, Sentencing and Punishment, Corrections, Probation, Probation, Recidivism, and more. Registration is easy and you will receive a certificate of completion after completing the course.

Get this course.

Skip tracking basics, background and asset research

Beginners • 8 videos • 0.8 hours

2. Jump tracking basics, background and asset research

This introductory course covers the basics of finding people and learning more about who they are. Offered by Associates in Forensic Investigations Beers, Basics of Skip Tracing, Backgrounds and Assets Investigations, the offering features 2.5 hours of on-demand video and 11 downloadable resources to improve your understanding of the material. Sign up today with confidence and know that the course comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if for any reason you are not satisfied.

Get this course.

Prepare for a career as an investigator

Take the first step today to become a super sleuth. Take note of our top recommendations for degree programs and online courses, check their offerings and choose the best solution. Hard work, determination, and strategic networking mean you could find yourself in a role as a private investigator much sooner than expected.

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