Career Detail


Private Detectives and Investigator
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Private detectives and investigators assist individuals, businesses, and attorneys by finding and analyzing information.
The Job
Private detectives and investigators offer many services, including executive, corporate, and celebrity protection; pre-employment verification; and individual background profiles. Some investigate computer crimes, such as identity theft, harassing e-mails, and illegal downloading of copyrighted material. They also provide assistance in criminal and civil liability cases, insurance claims and fraud, child custody and protection cases, missing persons cases, and premarital screening. T
Work Environment
Many detectives and investigators spend time away from their offices conducting interviews or doing surveillance, but some work in their office most of the day conducting computer searches and making
College Majors
Bachelor's Degree
Minimum Qualifications
Most private detectives and investigators have some college education and previous experience in investigative work. In most States, they are required to be licensed.
Personality traits helpful for this career
A candidate must not be afraid of confrontation, should communicate well, and should be able to think on his or her feet.
Quick Facts
  • Work hours are often irregular, and the work can be dangerous.
  • About 30 percent are self-employed.
  • Applicants typically have related experience in areas such as law enforcement, insurance, the military, or government investigative or intelligence jobs.
  • Keen competition is expected for most jobs despite faster-than-average employment growth.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wages of salaried private detectives and investigators were $41,760 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,870 and $59,060. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,500, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $76,640. Wages of private detectives and investigators vary greatly by employer, specialty, and geographic area.
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Job Growth Outlook
Hyper growth industry Hyper growth industry
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H.S. diploma H.S. diploma
BA Degree BA Degree
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