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Ashworth College Blog

How Do You Become a Private Investigator?

Written by Autumn Granza on Thursday, 17 October 2019. Posted in Career

Lamp over papers on a desk.

You’re curious and enjoy analyzing details. Thoroughly reviewing information and exposing the truth excites you. Uncover how you can turn your interests into a career with Ashworth’s Private Investigation Career Diploma.

What does a private investigator do?

A private investigator searches for information involving legal, financial, or personal matters. They can help verify people’s backgrounds and statements or find missing persons. Typically, private investigators conduct interviews, search records, do surveillance, and collect evidence. Individuals, businesses, or attorneys may use their services. Sounds like fun, but do you have what it takes? A good private investigators should have:

  • Communication skills. As a private investigator, you’ll need to actively listen and ask questions when conducting interviews.
  • Decision-making skills. You’ll need to be able to make quick decisions based on the information you have at the time.
  • Patience. Private investigators spend a lot of time conducting surveillance and waiting for events to occur.

What kind of training do you need to be a private investigator?

Understanding the investigative process is an important part of becoming a private investigator. Our online Private Investigation Career Diploma program starts with the basics and helps prepare you for the field in as little as four months. You’ll complete lessons such as

  • The Investigation Process. In this lesson, you’ll receive an overview of investigating, the qualities and skills you’ll need as a private investigator, patterns, how to verify a crime report, and more.
  • The Crime Scene. This lesson covers how to protect, photograph, record, and reconstruct crime scenes. You’ll also learn how to preserve, mark, and package evidence.
  • Interviewing and Interrogating. This lesson will teach you the types of interviews, suspects, and victims you may encounter. You’ll learn tactics on how to obtain confessions and recording interviews.
  • The U.S. Legal System and Rules of Evidence. In this lesson, you’ll be introduced to the history of evidence law. You’ll also learn the criminal and civil law processes, and more.

Becoming a private investigator usually requires obtaining a license. Licensing requirements vary by state, so it’s important to verify any prerequisites with your state board.

What is the average salary of a private investigator?

After completing the program, students should be able to understand the roles and responsibilities of a private investigator, recognize components of the investigative process, and understand the investigative process for different types of investigations. In 2021, private investigators earned a median salary of $59,380 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With a faster than average job growth, now is a great time to become a private investigator.

Start your career with Ashworth

Working in the field may require you to gather legal, financial, or personal information. If you’re ready to explore the possibilities of becoming a private investigator with Ashworth by calling an Admissions Advisor at or enroll online today .

Let's talk about your educational goals. Call 1-800-957-5412