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How Can I Become a PI, for Real?

Home Forums Financial Security How Can I Become a PI, for Real?

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  joe_r82 7 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #1197 Reply

    Maru Quevedo

    My ex cheated on me, and I couldn’t afford a private investigator.  Now I’m seriously considering this as a career, except I’ll have affordable packages that women can afford to buy.  Hiring a PI is like $100+ an hour.

    I also really like the idea of making my own hours and it looks exciting.  Plus I like the idea of helping women catch their dirt bag boyfriends and husbands that might be bringing home diseases and fathering kids with other women.

  • #1198 Reply


    Magnum, P.I. and Paul Drake made it look glamorous, but starting a career as a private investigator can be quite rewarding. The field is both diverse and expanding, with new jobs opening up every day and many opportunities for specialization.

    Where to Start Becoming a Private Investigator

    Most states require a private investigator to obtain a license. No formal education is mandated for the license, but you must be able to pass the license exam. Professional organizations can help you with that, and offer ongoing training programs, continuing education (a requirement for maintaining your license in many states), and certifications for investigators. These organizations can be especially helpful with job placement and career networking, and are a good place to start.

    Choosing Your Specialty Skills

    The private investigator field can be highly competitive, but fortunately it also offers a high level of specialization so that you can carve out a career niche for yourself. Some types of investigators include those hired by lawyers or insurance agents to investigate a case (like Paul Drake did for Perry Mason), those hired to build financial background profiles, bounty hunters, loss prevention agents for stores, and those who recover lost data and information. Most of the time, no matter what your specialty, you will be using computer software and data mining, so these are good skills to have and gain experience with.

    Gaining Professional Investigative Experience

    This is perhaps the most difficult part of the job, since detective agencies rarely want to hire a gumshoe. Look for detective agencies that hire junior investigators or interns so that you can get experience at least part-time. If you are having trouble finding any paid positions, you may consider asking the agency to let you shadow an investigator for free in exchange for being able to put that experience on your resume.

    Career Networking for Beginner Investigators

    Breaking into the private investigator world can be tricky, so it helps to know the right people. If you do not have any private investigators in your professional circles, try meeting some through people who come in contact with them. This group includes insurance agents, lawyers, police and private security agents, federal marshals, or people who work at stores that hire loss prevention investigators. Networking with current or past members of the military can also be fruitful, since oftentimes military training is a great background education for private investigation.

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