Private Investigators

Private Investigator Works with Police

Private investigators provide investigative services for clients who may be individuals or businesses. They help solve crimes and provide information for law cases by searching for information on legal, financial, and personal matters. Depending on their specialty, they offer services such as verifying people's backgrounds and their statements, locating missing persons, and investigating computer crimes. They may go undercover to conduct surveillance and gather information. Types of private investigators include computer forensics investigators, legal investigators, corporate investigators, and financial investigators. According to the Department of Labor, there were 30,460 private investigators and detectives working in the United States in May 2015. The private detective industry generates $5 billion in revenue, has experienced steady growth the past few years despite the recession, and is expected to continue performing strongly the next few years.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Corporate Investigators, Financial Investigators, Forensics Investigators, Legal Investigators, Private Detectives
Duties Gather and analyze information about legal, financial, and personal matters; interview people; conduct surveillance; research court records; conduct surveillance; report findings to clients
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions across the country; the states with the highest employment level of private investigators and detectives are California, Texas, Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
School Subjects
  • Business
  • Computer Science
  • Government
Experience Law enforcement, military, or federal intelligence experience
Personality Traits
  • Curious
  • Organized
  • Problem-Solving
  • Computer
  • Interpersonal
  • Research
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Private Investigator Manager
  • Private Investigator
  • Intern

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