Private Investigations and Personal Security/being a detective


I'm really into this type of career and i hope to become a detective in the future but i got a couple of questions.  Are there any types of detective that specialize in murder cases like detectives that investigate crime scenes and try to collect evidence to figure out the truth? One more question. Do you need to have any type of experience in law enforcement before you can become a detective? Thanks


This is an excellent question and although I have to keep it somewhat brief, the depths and implications for yourself if you choose to continue on this career path are quite far-reaching.  In short there are many off-shoots from the criminal justice/legal/law enforcement career path so you must start to plan and prepare for the profession that interests you most (in this case that of "private detective").       

Let me break down your question into parts and answer them
one at a time.  First, there are detectives that "specialize in murder cases ... that investigate crime scenes and try to collect evidence to figure out the truth."  Please understand that the primary duty of a private detective is to do just that with any type of investigation they are currently dealing with.     

Television glamorizes many private detective, police, and crime scene investigation serials.  Oftentimes complex crimes are solved and important questions are answered through high-tech gadgets and equipment within the hour.  

The reality though is that a private detective must take his or her time to interview victims and witnesses, record pertinent facts, and to begin to compile an entire portfolio as part of the beginning of working on any investigation.  The private detective will then have to follow up on old leads in an attempt to uncover new facts and evidence.  Again, this pertains to any investigation, not just "murder."  Please understand that a private detective plays a very important role in the American Criminal Justice System.      

Your second question, "do you need to have any type of experience in law enforcement before you can become a detective" is regional specific.  The State of Pennsylvania, for example, requires that the candidate who is applying for a private detective license have experience as a detective or investigator or be a state trooper or municipal police officer with three or more years of supervisory experience.  

As part of your journey toward understanding you will have to research the requirements for your particular state, possession, or territory.  I would then recommend that you find a licensed private detective in your area and request an appointment with him or her to interview them and "pick their brain" about this particular career path.  You will be        
surprised, I believe, with the valuable information you receive.  

I would then request an internship with a private detective or investigative agency in your area to begin to "learn the ropes."  This most likely will not be a paying position but it will pay off as an educational experience and you may be awarded college credits for the endeavor if you are enrolled at the time.  

Last, if you are not currently enrolled in college studying criminal justice or some similar liberal arts discipline I would recommend enrolling in a low cost private detective diploma program just to learn the basics of the profession.  
Check out the "Global School of Investigation" for example at  Also buy or check out of the library a survey type book called "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Private Investigating."  See link at:

Don't let the name fool you, this is a very complete yet succinct book that will guide you on your own learning path  to fill in the gaps from any questions that you might have and ultimately to help you see if this is the profession you want to join.

Good luck to you and best wishes.


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Jeffrey Hauck


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


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.

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

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