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Private Detectives and Investigators

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Life As a Private Detective or Investigator

Occupation Description Gather, analyze, compile and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.

Life as a Private Detective or Investigator: What Do They Do?

  • Expose fraudulent insurance claims or stolen funds.
  • Confer with establishment officials, security departments, police, or postal officials to identify problems, provide information, or receive instructions.
  • Count cash and review transactions, sales checks, or register tapes to verify amounts or to identify shortages.
  • Conduct private investigations on a paid basis.
  • Conduct personal background investigations, such as pre-employment checks, to obtain information about an individual’s character, financial status, or personal history.
  • Alert appropriate personnel to suspects’ locations.

Skills Needed to be a Private Detective or Investigator

These are the skills Private Detectives and Investigators say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

  • Background Investigator
  • District Agent
  • Loss Prevention Officer
  • Certified Legal Investigator
  • Loss Prevention Analyst

Are There Job Opportunities for Private Detectives and Investigators?

In the United States, there were 41,400 jobs for Private Detectives and Investigators in 2016.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10.6% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,400 new jobs for Private Detectives and Investigators by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 4,500 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Private Detectives and Investigators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Private Detectives and Investigators are California, Florida, and Texas.

Watch out if you plan on working in Nebraska, Montana, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Private Detective or Investigator Average Salary

The salary for Private Detectives and Investigators ranges between about $29,310 and $89,200 a year. The median salary for this occupation is $50,090.

Salary Ranges for Private Detectives and Investigators

How much do Private Detectives and Investigators make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

District of Columbia

$72,190

Alaska

$69,210

California

$67,970

Virginia

$66,590

New Jersey

$64,250

Nevada

$64,080

New York

$61,950

Washington

$61,210

Illinois

$60,630

Maryland

$58,520

Idaho

$57,420

Missouri

$56,700

New Mexico

$55,360

Rhode Island

$55,290

Oregon

$55,240

Alabama

$54,200

Colorado

$53,860

Arizona

$53,680

Connecticut

$53,410

North Carolina

$53,050

New Hampshire

$52,810

Kansas

$52,090

Michigan

$52,010

South Carolina

$50,150

Georgia

$49,360

Massachusetts

$49,290

Texas

$49,250

Delaware

$49,250

Montana

$49,090

Indiana

$48,250

Arkansas

$47,090

Louisiana

$47,070

Kentucky

$46,940

Mississippi

$46,890

Utah

$46,310

Pennsylvania

$45,950

Wisconsin

$43,790

Ohio

$43,060

Oklahoma

$42,820

West Virginia

$42,290

Florida

$41,850

South Dakota

$39,040

What Tools do Private Detectives and Investigators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Private Detectives and Investigators:

  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Data entry software

How do I Become a Private Detective or Investigator?

What education is needed to be a Private Detective or Investigator?

Private Detective or Investigator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become Private Detective or Investigator?

Private Detective or Investigator Work Experience

Where Private Detectives and Investigators Are Employed

Private Detective or Investigator Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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