Private Investigation Program Curriculum

Our Private Investigation program introduces you to the real-world skills that private investigators use every day. It's a fascinating field if you are naturally curious, don't mind working flexible hours, get along with all kinds of people and want to solve crimes. Enroll now.

A career in this field may require you to meet certain licensing, training, and other requirements that can vary by vocation and state. You should check with your state, local government and/or licensing board to find out which requirements may be applicable in your state. Click here for contact information on state licensing/regulatory boards and certain professional licensing information.

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Lesson 1: History of Investigation  

Local, state, and federal investigators; what private investigators do; the detective mystique; licensing issues; the third degree; scientific methods and the research revolution in investigating.

Lesson 2: The Investigation Process  

An overview of investigating; qualities and skills you'll need; types of investigations; patterns, leads, tips, and theories; verifying the crime report; the role of ethics; basic techniques.

Lesson 3: Types of Investigations  

Personal injury; insurance fraud; product liability; missing persons; medical malpractice; corporate espionage; background checks; marital cases; wrongful death.

Lesson 4: Crime & Security in the U.S  

Crime defined; public and private crime and protection; private security vs. public law enforcement.

Lesson 5: The Crime Scene  

Protecting, photographing, recording, and reconstructing the crime scene; the command post; preserving and processing evidence; the chain of custody; marking and packaging evidence; the death investigation.

Lesson 6: Interviewing & Interrogating  

Types of interviews; suspects; victims; informants; door-to-door canvassing; interviewing children and sexual abuse victims; special interrogation aids; the Miranda Ruling; tactics to obtain confessions; recording the interview; written statements.

Lesson 7: Sources of Information  

Cultivating sources; the paper trail; law enforcement, government, and private record sources; books and directories; computerized information brokers; psychics; psycholinguistic analysis; criminal profiling.

Lesson 8: Surveillance & Undercover Investigations  

Preparing for surveillance; going undercover; types of undercover investigations; tactical strategies; stationary and moving surveillance; if the tail is "made"; avoiding common mistakes; recording and debriefing the surveillance; legalities.

Lesson 9: Case Management & Report Writing  

The importance of case management; note-taking; preparing the case folder; preparing official reports; report writing; using a computer.

Lesson 10: The U.S. Legal System & Rules of Evidence  

History of evidence law; the criminal law process; the civil law process; discovery; the trial; the jury; circumstantial, prima facie, and direct evidence; forms and rules of evidence; the hearsay rule; using expert witnesses; privileged communications; presenting testimony in court.

Lesson 11: Criminalistics & Technology  

Fingerprinting, photography, blood analysis, ballistics, DNA profiling, and other criminalistics techniques; the modern crime lab; using automated information systems; electronic surveillance devices; videotaping.

Lesson 12: Retail Security & Loss Prevention  

The store detective; the store camera system; fraudulent credit cards; bad checks; employee theft; audits; shoplifting methods; apprehending shoplifters; price switching and altering; taking a statement.

Lesson 13: Domestic & Child Custody Cases  

The preliminary interview; working on contract or retainer; working with domestic relations lawyers; investigating and surveilling subjects; what constitutes adultery; the unfit parent; locating hidden assets; handling evidence; client protection; documentation.

Lesson 14: Insurance Investigations  

Investigating property/casualty, workers' compensation, liability, disability, life/health, personal injury, and accidental death claims; how to spot fraud; surveillance and the activity check; the pretext; note-taking; testifying in court.

Lesson 15: Executive Protection  

Celebrity and corporate clients; the command post; advance work; the travel route survey; airport and hotel security; lowering the profile; motorcades; the "arm's reach" principle; interviewing unwanted visitors; portable protection; etiquette, and protocol; using force.

Lesson 16: Firearm Use & Safety  

Defensive shooting; the last restraint; owning, handling, and maintaining guns safely; tactical handgun operation; low-light shooting; ammunition, sights; carrying a concealed handgun.

Lesson 17: Specialized Investigations  

Arson, product liability, missing person, medical malpractice, probate, and criminal defense investigations; locating heirs; security counter-measures; pre-employment checks; bounty hunting; repossession; process serving.

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Program Description

Students will learn the basic skills needed to enter private investigation field. Topics include professionalism; the investigative process; interviewing and interrogating skills; investigative tools and techniques; case management; firearm usage and safety; the different types of investigations.

Program Objectives

After completing the Private Investigation program, students will be able to:

  1. Outline the roles and responsibilities of private investigators and the professional skills, personal qualities, and ethical principles private investigators should possess.
  2. Recognize and describe the components of the investigative process and explain the basic steps taken to process crime scenes.
  3. Describe the lawful use of common investigative tools and techniques, such as interrogation, surveillance, fingerprinting, media, and evidence collection as well as the special considerations involving the use of force and firearms.
  4. Recognize and describe the investigative process for different types of investigations, such as domestic disputes and child custody, insurance claims, arson, medical malpractice, missing persons, retail security, loss prevention, and executive protection scenarios.

Get an excellent education in our online Private Investigation program. Investigate Ashworth College: Call 1-800-957-5412 or enroll online.