Private Investigators - How Do You Become One?

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Who do Private Investigators work for? Before you look into the training involved with becoming a P.
I.
it is worth considering what becoming a Private Investigator actually involves and who you might work for.
Professional P.
I.
s carry out many different types of investigations and their clients can vary from private individuals to large commercial companies and even public bodies such as councils and government departments.
The type of work you might undertake varies widely and can include background checks, surveillance, matrimonial investigation, status enquiries, insurance investigations, process serving, employee theft, due diligence, competitor profiling and private security among other things.
Whoever you work for and on whatever case it is necessary to always remain professional, discrete and honest.
Client confidentiality is of the utmost importance and reassuring clients of your discretion and sensitivity to their situation is also imperative to being a good P.
I.
What qualifications and training are required to become a Private Investigator? At present there are no educational standards established by a governing body for this profession but there are several routes you can take to gain training.
Many P.
I.
s are self-employed but there are larger investigation companies that provide employment and may provide training or work shadowing possibilities as well.
There are also no formal qualifications required at present to start up your own business in this profession but a common route to go is from a military, police or a security background.
This type of background is not essential but it does have some advantages.
If you haven't got experience in any of these fields it is still possible to become a private investigator through private training.
It is beneficial to have a good level of general education plus business skills are an advantage if you plan to work on a freelance or self-employed basis.
You can also complete a BTEC Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Private Investigation by undertaking a course with the Academy of Professional Investigation (API).
If you are self-employed you will have to arrange your own training but most employers will provide on-going training while working.
What skills are required to become a Private Investigator? Regardless of training certain skills are required to become a P.
I.
and these include observational skills, attention to detail, logic, patience, honesty and perseverance.
Computer skills are also necessary nowadays as is the ability to quickly and accurately evaluate a situation.
You must also show discretion at all times and possess excellent communication skills to deal effectively and discretely with clients.
As technology advances almost daily it is also essential to stay up to date by constantly learning and adapting.
Training can be ongoing and even practicing P.
I.
s should be aware of changing laws and investigative methods.
Who do I contact to learn more about training? There are several official bodies you can contact for further information including the World Association of Professional Investigators (WAPI) or the Association of British Investigators (ABI).
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