What does a Private Investigator do?
Investigators work with law enforcement agencies, individuals, and businesses to investigate and solve crimes to secure a successful conviction. They conduct detailed investigations of complex criminal activities and other violations of local, federal, or state law and collect, analyze, and preserve evidence. They direct crime scene investigators and other law enforcement members while at crime scenes and utilize deductive reasoning and analysis to make informed decisions and conclusions that lead to prosecution.
Investigators write detailed case reports, file and maintain records, coordinate search and arrest warrants, arresting suspects as needed. They operate firearms and electronic surveillance equipment and testify in court regarding case evidence and findings to secure a conviction. Investigators undergo continuous training and development as required and must maintain strict confidentiality. Investigators need a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or related fields and equivalent training at a federal law enforcement college.
- Administer and/or make referrals for drug testing as appropriate.
- Specific duties or tasks may vary and be documented separately.
- Obtain facts or statements from complainants, witnesses and suspects.
- Child Protective Services (CPS) investigators investigate claims of child abuse and neglect.
- Prepare court documents such as petitions, affidavits and court reports
- The field inspector is responsible for perform inspections at residential development sites.
- Curate signatures, tune systems/tools, and develop scripts and correlation rules.
- Incumbent will be required to furnish a personal vehicle for carrying out assignments which may include transporting clients including children.
- Participate and assisting in preparation for settlement negotiations and trial.
- Prepare and present information and evidence to the prosecuting attorney.
- Own the outcome of ongoing improvement activities.
- Assist in obtaining fieldwork in a rapid, time-sensitive work environment.
- Work on audits, reviews and special projects as assigned by management.
- Provide investigative support to public safety entities.
- Communicate inefficiencies to job superintendents and educate them and their trades on correction items.
- Investigate and reply to correspondence regarding hearings, accidents, and other legal matters.
- Coordinate with administrative support staff to best serve the needs of the client and case.
- Bachelor's or Graduate's Degree in business, computer science, engineering or business administration, or equivalent experience.
- A quick learner with an eye on critical thinking and problem solving.
- Experience running operating systems and software programs.
- Skilled at paying attention to detail.
- Demonstrated professionalism and ability to prioritize tasks.
- Can maintain composure in high-stress situations.
- A leader and advocate with demonstrated skills at collaboration.
How much does a Private Investigator make?
Private Investigator Career Path
Learn how to become a Private Investigator, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.
Years of Experience Distribution
Private Investigator Insights
“There is a structured and clear career path if one choses to remain on the investigation career track.”
“There is no job security as a contractor and there was no heads up about the end of my contract.”
“I worked with a great group of social workers who really cared about the children and families they served.”
“Work life balance isn't the best however changes are coming into place to rectify this”
“It's ridiculous to feel that much stress to just do your job to the best of your capability.”
“The remote online training (due to COVID) was the best job training that I have received.”
“I was able to do my job without too much interference or political issues muddying the waters.”
“There is no incentive to make a career out of this job because there are no opportunities to do so.”
Private Investigator Interviews
Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of investigators
The typical day of an investigator includes obtaining information and helping solve crimes. These professionals work for law enforcement, businesses, and individuals. They are responsible for visiting crime scenes, communicating with clients, keeping records, interviewing witnesses, and putting together evidence.
The best part of working as an investigator is the excitement of following leads and uncovering crimes. Investigators frequently work for themselves, offering control over the types of cases they take. Investigators also have some control over work environments; some may choose work that requires more computer work than legwork.
Yes, an average salary for investigators is $58,643 a year for those working in the U.S. Salary ranges from $36,152 a year to $95,731 a year. Pay varies widely among investigators depending on location, investigative job type, and years of experience.
Becoming an investigator can impact work-life balance. These professionals often have erratic schedules that require long nights and weekends. They spend long hours standing or sitting while gathering information and may encounter stressful circumstances like encountering suspects or testifying in court.