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How to get a Job as a Private Investigator

Once you've undergone training as a private investigator, and perhaps received your license as well, the next challenge you'll be facing will be looking for private investigator jobs.

The field of private investigation is quite diverse and there are many ways that you can go about looking for investigator jobs. Depending on the kind of training you've received, other qualifications you may possess, and the kind of investigative work you'd like to be doing in the future, there are many jobs for private investigators that may be suitable for you.


What Do You Need To Be A Qualified Investigator?

In the UK, because licensing isn't required for one to do detective jobs, there are no specific criteria that define who is a qualified investigator or who isn't. However, there are certain things that should be expected of most private investigators to believe they are capable of handling private detective jobs competently. These include proper private investigator training from an accredited institution.

However, there are other things that can improve your chances of getting investigator jobs including:

  • A private investigator license from SIA
  • Additional qualifications in fields relevant to private investigation
  • Experience performing investigative work
  • Experience in roles relevant to investigation e.g. forensic accounting etc.

Training To Be A Qualified Investigator

There are many training institutions that can prepare you for jobs for private investigators. However, not all these institutions are accredited, and this can cause you some issues later on.

The best way to ensure you've gotten the kind of training you need to qualify for detective jobs is to go to an institution that is accredited by professional bodies such as Association of British Investigators (ABI). Another way to know that you're receiving the kind of training you need to handle private investigators jobs is to check whether it leads to an IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators. This is the requirement to get a private investigator license.


Qualification For Investigators

In the UK, there are no minimum qualifications for all jobs for private detectives. However, if you're hoping to be employed as an investigator, it definitely helps to have some qualifications.

A certificate that shows you've undergone investigative training is definitely a good place to start, and having additional qualifications in relevant fields also goes a long way when you apply for detective jobs.


Is Experience Required To Be A Qualified Investigator?

In the UK, a private investigator doesn't need to have any experience to get investigator jobs. However, a little bit of experience can increase your odds of getting a detective job. In fact, it can help you to get more clients since you'll be able to show them proof that you know what you're doing. This is why it's a good idea to spend some time working with an experienced investigator before you start taking on your own private detective jobs.


Places To Search For Private Investigator Jobs

Where you should go looking for private investigator jobs will be determined by your training, qualifications and ambitions.

Some of the organisations and institutions that offer private investigators jobs include:

  • Private investigation agencies
  • Law firms
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Accounting/ Auditing firms
  • Employee Recruitment agencies etc.

The most efficient way of searching for jobs for private investigators is to check online. Most recruiters and companies with a job for private detectives will advertise the open position in one of the many job sites on the internet. Individual clients may also post their ads in the classified sections of newspapers.


Should You Be Self-Employed Or Part Of An Agency

Self-employment and working in an agency both have their pros and cons. The average salary for those doing investigator jobs in the UK is around £23,000. The employment path you choose will dictate whether you end up above or below the average.

When you're self-employed, i.e. taking on your own private investigator jobs, you have greater control over everything, including the type of cases you work on. You also keep a bigger share of the returns from the detective jobs you do.

However, when you do detective jobs as part of an agency, you don't have to worry about finding clients, especially if the agency is well known, and you may also have a guaranteed minimum salary. If you're just starting off as an investigator, it's a good idea to first look for a private detective job in an agency or some other environment that will enable you to work with and learn from more experienced investigators.

Once you have a few years of experience under your belt, you'll be better placed to make a decision regarding whether you're be better off starting your own agency and taking on your own investigator jobs. If there are no agencies hiring, you can start off as a freelancer, working on small detective jobs to build your portfolio in preparation for the future.