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All About Private Investigators

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The idea of a private investigator may sound illegal, but there are well within the law. They do follow and/or document the moves a person makes, but they are conducting or assisting with an investigation. The information they find can be crucial.

What Is a Private Investigator?

Private investigators are civilians that are hired by various people or companies to perform private investigations for them. Some states may require private investigators to be licensed to practice in their state. Private investigators can be employed through a business or company, or they can be freelancers. 

What Does a Private Investigator Do?

Private investigators are responsible for finding the information on a person or business for the person who hired them. 

They can do this by:

  • Going undercover
  • Conducting research
  • Interviewing people
  • Doing surveillance

After completing their investigations, they will be expected to complete any documentation and reports required by their employer. 

Where Can a Private Investigator Work?

Private investigators do not generally need a workplace. Many investigators are freelance and get contracted by different people and companies. 

However, some investigators are employed full-time for the following industries and services:

  • Computer forensics
  • Criminal investigations
  • Polygraphs
  • Undercover investigations
  • Missing persons
  • Personal investigations
  • Crisis intervention
  • Pre-employment screenings
  • Terrorism investigations

Because they offer a wide variety of services, anyone can hire a private investigator, including police and the government. 

Requirements for Becoming a Private Investigator

If you're employed through a business or company, they may look for someone who has a background in criminal justice or has obtained a bachelor's degree in a related field. Most states today require some education in a related field to become licensed and most states now also require private investigators to be licensed. The requirements for a license vary slightly between states.

Common license requirements can include:

  • High school diploma
  • Various age restrictions
  • US citizenship
  • Clean record
  • College education
  • Passing an exam

Some states require the license to be renewed every few years. Renewing your license may require you to continue education and training to prove you have all the knowledge you need.

What Makes a Good Private Investigator?

Private investigators must be very observant. A huge part of their job involves observing people and places. They need to be able to notice the smallest details. They also need to be excellent analyzers. If they are unable to analyze the information they have collected, the work they did to get that information becomes pointless. They also need the ability to blend in. It's crucial to most investigations for the investigator to not get detected. 

If you need a private investigator, contact a company like Gary Litton Investigators.