Commonly speaking, the job of a private investigator is usually stereotyped as alluring and hazardous. Private investigators, in reality, have a much different and to be honest pretty dull life. Much of the work they do can accurately be described as hurry up and wait.
For every job they take on, there are usually hours of routine enquiries, investigation, surveillance, and various red tape related duties, with any action counted in minutes and that is only if it occurs at all.
Are There Various Types of Private Investigators?
The simple answer is yes, there are. The usual first thought that may come to mind of many when thinking of private investigators is that they trail people around and take photos and video evidence. There are many that do just that, but there are also many classifications of private investigator that just do not spring to mind right away. Private investigators may work for large companies, doing background checks on workers before, during and possibly after the hiring process. Investigative forensic computer work is another facet of PI endeavour and so is investigating insurance fraud.
Not all private investigators track cheating partners or weed out industrial spies, although there are those that do. Investigators maybe employed by hotels, stores, legal agencies, financial institutions, and other places that any type of investigative work is deemed necessary. There are a huge amount of diverse things that investigators look into.
What are the requirements to be a Private Investigator?
Usually there are no hard and fast rules with reference to requirements to become a private investigator. Many of those who become PIs have a background that stems from law enforcement and have a working knowledge of how the law works.
It is a must for PIs to know the law as it applies on all levels. The job is about trying to make things right for their clients, not aid their clients in law breaking.
Many feel happier with a private investigator that has a degree in some type of law or criminal justice and it also helps when they have some form of working experience. A law degree is not as helpful for those PIs that are more into some type of computer forensics or insurance fraud investigations but it all depends on the actual type of investigations the PI is concerned in doing or specialises in.
With very few exceptions, most states in America require that a private investigator be licensed to do investigative work, and this license does have to be renewed.
At the time of writing, there is no national standard in place for the licensure of private investigators.
Most states also have a minimum age limit that ranges from 18 to 21. A PI that has a license may find it much easier to do their investigations, and any additional certifications can improve both peer and client acceptance of you.
If the circumstances call for a private investigator to be armed, then it is imperative that the PI have the correct certifications to carry any type of firearm. Remember, laws differ from state to state and PIs must know the laws of a particular state before entering into that state with a firearm, ignorance is no excuse.
What are the different types of work environment?
The environment that a private investigator may find themselves in largely depends upon the sort of investigation they are doing. If they are working primarily on computers, it is likely that the environment will be climate controlled and much more agreeable than those that work out on the street.
The hours can be incredibly protracted and erratic, particularly during a surveillance job.
Undercover work can be even more changeable as the circumstances normally call for a change to the lifestyle of that usually lead by the investigator. You must understand from the outset that this job is not nine to five.
It is not unusual for many PIs to work alone, and many have a preference to do so. However, on the flipside circumstances may dictate that PIs work with one or more team members as they may be called into a working group that involves the liaison between different bodies.
The job is demanding most especially for PIs that come into contact with distressed clients or have a conflict with someone they are investigating. The job can be hazardous and physically challenging at times. What this means is that a PI must keep as healthy and physically fit as possible to help endure the stressing demands of long hours and possible conflict situations.
And finally, they must also be emotionally stable, as the job can be mentally and emotionally traumatic at times. This aspect of the job alone is of the utmost importance and must not be overlooked or dismissed out of hand.