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Private Detective or Investigator

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What Do Private Detective or Investigator Do?

Position 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?

  • Observe and document activities of individuals to detect unlawful acts or to obtain evidence for cases, using binoculars and still or video cameras.
  • Perform undercover operations, such as evaluating the performance or honesty of employees by posing as customers or employees.
  • Testify at hearings or court trials to present evidence.
  • Count cash and review transactions, sales checks, or register tapes to verify amounts or to identify shortages.
  • Warn troublemakers causing problems on establishment premises and eject them from premises when necessary.
  • Write reports or case summaries to document investigations.

Private Detective or Investigator Required Skills

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.

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

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

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

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Types of Private Detective or Investigator

  • Private Investigator
  • Protection Specialist
  • Intelligence Agent
  • Cash Shortage Investigator
  • Investigations Director

Private Detective or Investigator Employment Estimates

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 41,400 jobs in the United States for Private Detective or Investigator. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 10.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 4,400 new jobs for Private Detective or Investigator by 2026. There will be an estimated 4,500 positions for Private Detective or Investigator per year.

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

The states with the most job growth for Private Detective or Investigator are Utah, Tennessee, and Iowa. Watch out if you plan on working in Nebraska, Montana, or Kansas. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does a Private Detective or Investigator Make?

The typical yearly salary for Private Detectives and Investigators is somewhere between $29,310 and $89,200.

Salary Ranges for Private Detectives and Investigators

Private Detectives and Investigators who work in Nevada, District of Columbia, or Alaska, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Private Detectives and Investigators in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $54,200
Alaska $69,210
Arizona $53,680
Arkansas $47,090
California $67,970
Colorado $53,860
Connecticut $53,410
Delaware $49,250
District of Columbia $72,190
Florida $41,850
Georgia $49,360
Idaho $57,420
Illinois $60,630
Indiana $48,250
Kansas $52,090
Kentucky $46,940
Louisiana $47,070
Maryland $58,520
Massachusetts $49,290
Michigan $52,010
Mississippi $46,890
Missouri $56,700
Montana $49,090
Nevada $64,080
New Hampshire $52,810
New Jersey $64,250
New Mexico $55,360
New York $61,950
North Carolina $53,050
Ohio $43,060
Oklahoma $42,820
Oregon $55,240
Pennsylvania $45,950
Rhode Island $55,290
South Carolina $50,150
South Dakota $39,040
Texas $49,250
Utah $46,310
Virginia $66,590
Washington $61,210
West Virginia $42,290
Wisconsin $43,790

What Tools & Technology 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 Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Data entry software
  • Email software
  • LexisNexis
  • Computer imaging software

How to Become a Private Detective or Investigator

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

Private Detective or Investigator Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Private Detective or Investigator Work Experience

Where Private Detectives and Investigators Work

Private Detective or Investigator Sectors

Private Detectives and Investigators work in the following industries:

Private Detective or Investigator Industries


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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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