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What to Do to Become a Private Investigator

Many people wonder how they can enter the private investigation industry when they don't have any experience in it. In the UK, it is quite easy to do this since the licensing of private investigators is not yet a requirement. There are various ways that you can join the industry depending on your past experience (or lack of) and even continue to become a top investigator.

How To Become A Private Investigator With No Prior Experience

If you lack experience that is relevant to investigative work, you'll have to start at the very bottom. This means you'll have to undergo all aspects of investigative training to impart the knowledge and skills that you need when working as a private investigator.

This will mean undertaking training to learn:

  • Investigative skills e.g. surveillance
  • Investigative tools e.g. spy cameras and listening devices
  • Laws governing data collection
  • Evidence gathering and analysis etc.

There are various institutions that offer these courses. You should give preference to those that lead to an IQ Level 3 Award. This is because these are the only qualifications recognized by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) when licensing private investigators.

Once you have attained the IQ Level 3 Certificate for Private Investigators, you'll be able to apply for a license from the Security Industry Authority. A license isn't a requirement to become a private detective. However, it may make it easier for clients to trust your abilities. It's also a good way of ensuring you're covered when licensing becomes mandatory in the future.

Other things you'll need to get the license include the right to work in the UK and a clean criminal record. Once you have this license, you can start working for an agency with more experienced individuals. This will offer you the experience you need to start your own agency or rise up in the ranks.

How To Become A Private Investigator With Experience

When you have experience, you may find it easier to become a private investigator. However, the exact type of experience will also matter.

For example, experience in the armed forces or working for a law enforcement agency can be quite useful for investigators working on cases such as:

  • Criminal cases
  • Tracking missing persons
  • Counter surveillance

Alternatively, experience in a field such as accounting can give you a major advantage when working on cases such as:

  • Corporate fraud investigations
  • Insurance fraud
  • Due diligence etc.

You may still need to undergo additional training to become a private investigator even with experience. You'll also need to apply for a license to become recognized by professional associations. However, the experience can help you when seeking out employment opportunities.

Progressing To Senior Positions In Private Investigations

There are several ways that you can reach a senior position in private investigation.

These include:

  • Gaining Experience: Becoming an experienced investigator with a large portfolio of successful investigations will definitely give you what is needed to take on a senior role in a private detective agency.
  • Increasing your skill set: Having more skills will enable you to take on more cases. It will also enable you to oversee a number of cases at once.
  • Starting your own agency: If you'd rather not work under some other person, you can also decide to start your own private detective agency and be your own boss.

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