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Private Investigator Training And Salary

Trying to Figure out the Private investigator training and salary can be a little confusing at first, as it’s not a straightforward training course and single salary. The difference in salary can be quite significant depending on if you work for a small company, large company, corporation, or are self employed and own your own company. Likewise the training can entail many different courses, although some can get by just on previous experience, variants also include how successful you are at solving cases.

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Private Investigator Training

First of all lets take a look at specific qualifications, a high school diploma is generally required wherever you work. Some specific jobs may require a 2, or even a 4 year degree, jobs like corporate investigators may require a bachelors degree as does computer forensic investigators. You can now often take these courses online, and many universities are offering computer forensics programs where you can achieve a bachelors degree and sometimes even a masters degree.

Many investigators start their training going through police academy, this gives a strong feel of how the investigators field operates, and much of the training you need as an investigator will be part of the job. Ex military personnel often enter into the investigating field as it can quite often be related, as do some that have spent time in the legal profession. There is no substitute for experience, so in a way an investigator is always training as he/she is always getting better the more cases they have to deal with.

Other ways to start training to be a private investigator is to take a job that is related to that career like working for an insurance company. Furthermore, you will learn how to recognize computer fraud, or large companies that hire investigators, and will often receive formal training in areas like finance, business practices, and management skills. Many keen investigators starting out will attend extra classes, or conferences to keep up to date with the latest methods of fraud detection. By far the best form of on job experience is working with the police academy, or an already established investigation company.

The majority of investigators will also be required to carry a gun, in turn this also means you have to acquire the correct permits, and licenses related to your state. This would also require training in firearms skills, and you would probably need to attend firearm training on a weekly basis. The majority of investigators that carry guns often attend training once, or twice a week to keep up their aiming, and keep them up to date with any new laws that have been passed recently.

Private Investigator Salary

When it comes to salary for a private investigator this can vary a lot, from starting out with a small company where you may earn only $12 per hour. This is about the lowest, but if your eager to get that experience this may be the way to start out. Furthermore, other larger companies may start you off at around $15 per hour. An experienced investigator with two years, or more experience under their belt could expect a starting salary of between $16 and $21 per hour depending on the company or corporation. However, this does not always turn out to be a yearly salary due to the fact there will be quiet periods between jobs, especially if your in one, or two specific areas of investigating.

When being self employed, or owning your own investigating company this is when the larger money comes into play. keeping that in mind, some charge anywhere from $55 per hour to over $100 per hour. The amount charged usually depends on the type of job, if there is risk involved you would charge more, if it’s a surveillance job only then you would charge less. The bottom line, is if your not too experienced take the job that will give you the most experience, as that is what is going to get you future jobs. Additionally, clients want to know what results you’ve had, and how much experienced you’ve had in the field.


When looking into private investigator training, and salary you can see that it is a little more involved than one would first think. According to projected figures it is estimated that the private investigation will grow as much as 21% by the year 2020, and that could be a conservative estimate, meaning there is plenty of room for upcoming investigators. One should bear in mind though, that the hours can be long, and there could be dry spells between jobs, yet it can be a very rewarding career choice.