Solve mysteries and find answers for people with a career as an Investigator! Choose from a variety of employment options depending on your interests.

Investigators delve deep into criminal and other legal issues to obtain the information required. Surveillance, interviewing & interrogation, sifting through evidence, and fact-checking are the main duties of investigators and detectives.

The Scoop
Investigators are tasked with searching for information that might be of legal, financial, or personal consequence. As an investigator or detective, you could be working with a law firm, a private security firm, or at the security department of a large corporation. Common roles and tasks include verifying personal or professional details, preventing and combating thefts, obtaining evidence for law suits, tracking computer crimes, locating witnesses, tracking suspects, and even giving evidence in court.

A career in Investigation requires certain traits in you. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an Investigations position that offers regular 9-to-5 hours. Travel, odd hours, and dangerous situations might be a part of your work in this field. The nature of the job can also involve sorting through documents and evidence, and attention to detail is a valued trait for anyone aiming for a career in Investigation. It’s also quite likely that your job will put you in contact with people from all walks of life, and being comfortable in dealing with others is vital.

Those with a legal, law enforcement, or military background are also well-suited for this career path, as their prior training and experience would make them comfortable with an investigations role.

What are my Study Options?
There are a number of courses that can help you build a career in investigations. Some institutes offer specific courses for this, while a Criminal Justice or Forensics course will also come in handy. Some common study areas include:

  • Legal requirements for investigators
  • Ethical issues
  • Privacy laws
  • Court standards for evidence
  • Human psychology
  • Interviewing and interrogation skills
  • Surveillance techniques
  • Computer security and accounting skills

Certificate and Associate’s courses are the basic qualifications required for an entry-level job in this field, while some employers might demand a Bachelor’s degree. As on-the-job training is an integral part of this career, you can also utilize your prior work experience and expertise to gain a head start. For example, an investigator who has a basic qualification in accounting will be well-suited to verifying the financial status of a suspect or to track down money that might have been siphoned off. Another popular specialization these days is that of a computer forensics investigator, and those with a background in Information Technology will find it easier to enter this career track.

Certification is another important issue prospective Investigations personnel must be aware of as different states have their own licensing requirements.

Career Opportunities
Law firms are a major employer of Investigations personnel – divorce cases, due diligence for business negotiations, and commercial disputes are some of the tasks which require trained Investigations personnel. Private security and investigation firms are other destinations, while many detectives and investigators also start their own businesses or work on their own. Large corporations – and even mid-sized businesses – usually have in-house security departments and this is another employment opportunity for a trained investigator.

With crime and financial mismanagement having become a sad fact of life, career prospects for trained Investigations personnel are excellent. According to the Department of Labor, this field is growing at a faster-than-average rate.