Private Investigations and Personal Security/PI Career

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Question
Hi Jeffrey,

I apologise if you donít like to answer these sort of questions but unfortunately none of the experts on this topic have given this as an option so I thought I would just give it a go anyway!

I am 25 and have spent most of my working life (8 years) as a Personal Assistant.  I have however always been very interested in investigation, problem solving and general searching through information to find answers.  So with that in mind have recently been thinking about trying to become a Private Investigator.

Obviously I donít expect overnight success.  I just wondered whether you could give me a few tips as to where I should start?  

I have found a few online courses, but have no idea whether these are either necessary or helpful.  And I canít find any jobs that are available in the offices of current Private Investigators.  So Iím a bit stuck!

I live in the UK and Iím not sure how that differs with the US.  But any help you can give me would be very much appreciated.

Thank you so much in advance,

Kate

Answer
Kate,

I am happy to give you my thoughts.  Your age is perfect for a career transition.  Your field of interests make you a natural candidate for the profession.  You have to like helping clients and solving or providing solutions to sometimes complex problems/situations.  I am not sure how the licensing process works in the UK but you simply need to roll up your sleeves and start digging around for answers.  After you find what the licensing requirements are you should begin educating yourself on the legal system, and about the criminal justice field in general.  You will need to do this part-time while still holding your full-time employment.  If you can find a certification course that you feel would help you I would encourage you to take it.  You need to become proficient in business management and office organization/administration tasks.  Microsoft Word, Excel, etc. are all computer based applications you need to get good at.  If you possess these skills already you are ahead of the game.  For me personally, I preferred to hire associates who were proficient in office skills and had little or no law enforcement background.  Sometimes former police officers make the best, and sometimes the worst private investigators.  More on that another time.  Last, I would suggest that you contact every agency in your region and schedule an appointment to discuss an internship.  This would be unpaid initially but you would learn quite a bit.  That is a resume builder.  It is easier to do if you are enrolled somewhere as a student.  However, I recommend honesty.  Tell potential employers that you are seriously researching the field and you want to learn everything you can about it.  Honestly assess how many hours you can give each week toward an unpaid internship and offer that to an agency.  Trust me, it will be worth it.  When you have some experience/education under your belt begin to look for employers. Keep your resume updated and stay strong and focused.  Hope this helps.

Private Investigations and Personal Security

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Jeffrey Hauck

Expertise

I would welcome the opportunity to answer questions about the business operations, duties, and ethics of the modern professional private detective/private investigator.

Experience

Criminologist. Professor of Criminal Justice. Licensed Private Detective with expansive clientele base encompassing hundreds of cases. Donates resources and time to the Children's Rescue Network in Orlando, FL.

Education/Credentials
Associate of Science; Bachelor of Arts; Master of Science, Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree.

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