While a formal education is typically not required for private investigators since most experience is gained on the job, many postsecondary institutions offer classes and courses for those wishing to obtain a career in the field. These courses are usually part of certificate or diploma programs in private investigation. Some private investigation classes may also be offered through undergraduate degree programs in criminology or justice administration.
Here are some of the most common things you'll learn while taking private investigator courses:
- Criminal cases
- Interviewing techniques
- Public records research
- Research of individuals
- Surveillance technology
List of Typical Courses
Fundamentals of Professional Investigation Course
This course provides an overview of the professional investigation field. Individuals examine the various jobs that private investigators perform and how they assist businesses, individuals, attorneys and corporations. Students develop skills such as interviewing and researching in addition to learning about surveillance techniques.
Background Research Course
People taking this course learn why background checks on individuals are needed and how to perform them. This course explores individual and corporate background investigations. It presents the ways information can be obtained. Students learn about the laws regulating background checks. They also examine organizational skills for documenting this research.
Investigative Interviewing and Surveillance Course
Students learn how to conduct and record interviews. This course explores the techniques of video surveillance for case scenarios. Participants examine various ways of preparing and presenting their findings to clients.
Public Records Research Course
Individuals explore the structure and role of public records research in private investigations. This course examines the availability and access of public information at the local, state and federal levels and discusses where this information can be obtained. Participants study the laws governing public information and the ways in which the Internet is used to access databases. This course also covers the resources available to perform an asset research of an individual or business.
Missing Persons Course
This course teaches the fundamental skills used to locate missing persons. Participants learn about the resources available. They examine the techniques used to verify an individual's identity and to determine that a person is actually missing.
Private Investigation, Ethics and the Law
Individuals in this class discuss the ethical conduct required as a private investigator. Students learn to identify common ethical problems and how to avoid these pitfalls. This course outlines the ethics of professional investigators along with the laws and regulations governing their conduct.