PI Profile: Career As a Private Investigator

Most booklovers have had a healthy dosage of detective novels throughout their youth and maybe even through middle age. Be it teenage investigators like Nancy Drew or the astute Sherlock Holmes, investigators and their stories generally draw popular attention from people worldwide.

Private investigation as a career may not be as well-liked as its fictional representation. But the job of a private investigator definitely has attractions. It’s not as colorful as the romantic TV version, but challenge and thrill are always present. Those with a yen for solving mysteries, surveillance and research, and open to long working hours can consider a career as a private investigator.

Job description:

Private investigators are hired by the police force, corporate companies, individuals and organizations that require investigation services. On the whole, a private investigator or PI may have to locate missing people, investigate frauds, robberies and murders etc.

Companies may hire investigators to check employees and detect any illegal activity. They work on the side of the law to collect evidence for trials – this involves interviewing people, researching, and surveillance.Sometimes, investigators recover and study data from a computer for the purpose of presenting evidence in court.

A private investigator thus has a myriad of duties to perform. He/she works during the day, night and weekends if required. It’s a demanding job but the excitement of looking into crimes, small or big, and getting to the root of the problem is worth the long hours. Traveling to various places is a part of a private investigator’s job though desk work is also involved.


There are no specific qualifications required for becoming a private investigator except being of age and having a valid license to practice. However, if one seeks employment with companies, then a diploma course in private investigation would help. A degree in any stream is important to help boost your status in the job market.

A good standard of education is necessary; excellent communication skills, business skills and good observational and analytical skills are a must. Knowledge of computers and the law is important.

The money:

Pay scale depends on the field, your qualifications and the quality of your work. With a strong legal background or experience in a security-related field such as the police force, the income can be higher than others.