The Duties of a Private Investigator

A private investigator must have an eye for detail. Oftentimes, a private investigator may have several cases going at once. This requires excellent organizational skills, otherwise, the investigator may lose track of one case and become distracted, which can compromise the overall investigation. They also need to be meticulous and cautious, as they may be called on to solve cases that the police have abandoned. The following are common tasks of a private investigator. Read on to learn more about the different duties of this type of professional.

Investigations – Private investigators perform background checks to verify the validity of documents. Many people have a mental image of a private investigator. They picture a man in a dimly-lit office in a less affluent part of town, greeting walk-in clients (often women).


A private investigator may conduct surveillance and interview witnesses or suspects. While the person being interviewed is under no legal obligation to provide information, this process may involve building rapport and making the person feel comfortable. Unfortunately, some investigators may use ruses to gain information, which could have legal consequences. If you’re looking to hire a private investigator for a personal matter, it’s a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau before you sign up.

Education and training

Private investigators generally work full-time, although they can work irregular hours. They may work during the day, at night, or on weekends. The educational requirements for this position vary from state to state, but you can expect to need at least a high school degree and a few years of work experience. You should also consider whether you have any relevant work experience, such as sales or customer service. Those with criminal justice experience can also gain the legal knowledge they need to become a private investigator.

License and certification:

As a private investigator, you must be licensed by the state where you live or work. Some states require private investigators to be licensed by the state they work in, while others don’t. Some states require private investigators to be United States citizens and residents of the country. Other states may require them to pass an examination or maintain ongoing education. Most states require a thorough background investigation and fingerprinting is standard. When hiring a private investigator, ensure that they are reputable and ethical.

Investigations and surveillance:

These services are provided by investigators who specialize in various disciplines. Private investigators work with law enforcement or intelligence agencies to gather evidence for cases. In New York City, for example, they specialize in private investigations. Their investigators also conduct background checks, conduct surveillance, and interview witnesses. A private investigator may be called upon to help with a divorce case or business case, as well as a personal investigation. The agency’s investigators also handle missing-persons investigations, including cases of unfaithfulness.

License to operate as a Private Investigator

A license to operate as a private investigator in New York State requires a passing score of 70 percent. Private investigators in New York State are required to renew their license every two years. A private investigator license costs $400 for individuals and $500 for corporations. Applicants must complete an application form and be thumb-printed. During the examination, any electronic devices must be turned off and must have a government-issued photo ID. They must also pay a $15 examination fee.

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