A private investigator is a person who makes investigations or collects information for a private person or any other organization or entity. But generally these persons or organizations are not in any way connected to the government or police. A private investigator can work for anybody in civil cases on behalf of the defense attorney; for insurance companies to investigate claims which are suspicious; to search for adultery or any illegal conducts in the personal lives of people.
In many states, private investigators require a license to work. In several states, that is not mandatory. Private investigators cannot transcend the law but they may keep firearms depending on the laws of the area. In some cases, they are also required to testify in the court for their clients. Another important thing about private investigators is that they are required to stay within the scope of the laws of the area.
In the U.S., the demand for private investigators is on the rise. In other countries like Canada, United Kingdom, France, South Africa, Australia, Spain and Japan, private investigators are in great demand.
Regarding the degrees and other formal education required to become a private investigator, there are no stringent rules. Most of the detectives have a simple college degree. Only a few of them have a legal or criminal investigation degree. Most of them are professionals working in insurance collecting companies, or as paralegals. Many of them are also ex-military and police professionals. Some may have even worked in federal intelligence jobs or in government auditive and investigative positions.
Thus, people from diverse fields enter this field to excel. Excelling in this field requires certain personal traits that are conducive to the professional parameters the person must be fearless, assertive, and persistent. He must have good communication skills and must be able to think quickly and logically. Also he must be able to present all the facts and information which he gathers in a proper manner.
Nowadays, a lot of subjects as well as private detective schools have come up to help the aspiring detectives. Some subjects like criminology, criminal justice, police science are developed as part of their training program.
The pay or salary of private investigators differs according to the area and the person. Still studies have revealed that the average salary of a private detective in America is $32,110 USD.
The working hours of a private investigator are quite irregular. Because they need to meet people at odd times, they may also need to work on early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays. They may either work in the office to search on the Internet or make phone calls and even can be out for the whole day making inquiries or collecting evidence. The environment of the work may differ according to the projects it can range from a plush hotel to a cheap bar. One must be prepared to work under any conditions. You also need to realize that this job is very stressful and dangerous.
For those who are adventurous and want to solve mysteries, this is definitely the best job!