Become a Private Detective How to Become a Private Investigator Become a Private Detective How to Become a Private Investigator Detective Become a Private Detective Become a Private Detective Become a Private Detective How to Become a Private Investigator
Become a Private Detective
Become a Private Detective
Become a Private Detective
Become a Private Detective

What is the work like?
Private investigators carry out undercover enquiries for their clients including solicitors, insurance companies, councils, private companies and individuals.
As a private investigator, your enquiries could range from family issues surrounding divorce or adoption to business support, regarding internal shrinkage or theft.
Generally you would carry out background research, which may involve asking questions and analysing information. Your work may also include:

  • surveillance
  • fraud investigation (for example, insurance or accident claims)
  • tracing missing persons
  • investigating commercial piracy
  • personnel vetting.

You would typically work alone as a self-employed or freelance investigator. You would use a computer to process detailed reports and often maintain your own accounts.

What qualifications and experience will employers look for?
You may not need any qualifications to start as a trainee investigator, however, you are likely to find a paid traineeship (with a company or independent private investigator) difficult to come by if you do not have some relevant skills and knowledge. You could set up on your own, but to attract clients and provide a good service would also require appropriate skills.

It would be useful to have a good general standard of education plus experience in a field work (such as the marketing/sales etc.). Business skills are also important because most opportunities involve working on a freelance or self-employed basis.

You may further increase your chances of securing paid work if you take a course such as the Advanced Diploma in Private Investigation. Check with the Indian Detectives Institute for course details and arrangements.

You can contact local private investigators directly to find out about work shadowing opportunities and/or vacancies; see the Asoosciation of Private Investigators & Detectives (APDI) website for a list of investigators.

A driving licence is usually essential for this work.
What further training and development can I do?
Your training will vary depending on the circumstances of your employment. For example, if you have a franchise with an investigation company, you may have access to a range of courses as part of your franchise agreement. If you are working as an employee with an agency, you will usually receive training on the job from your employer. As a sole practitioner, you would need to organise your own training.
There is a range of courses available that could help you develop your skills and knowledge, for example:

  • the Indian Detective Institute (IDI) has details of providers offering a 10-day Foundation Course in Investigation, and a 30-day Professional Private Investigator course
  • the Indian Detective Institue (IDI) has details of courses in tracing, and setting up business
  • the Indian Detective Insitute's Advanced Diploma in Private Investigation can be completed before or after you start work in this field.

Where can I go for more information?
If you would like to discuss your career options with a learning adviser, E-mail to
What salary and other benefits can I expect?

  • Private investigators may earn between Rupees 1,25,000 to 2,50,000 a year.
  • Top salaries in corporate investigation, for those with detailed legal knowledge, can be Rupees 5,00,000 to 10,00,000 a year.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.
What are the hours and working conditions?
Your hours of work could be irregular and include nights and weekends, and up to 12 hour shifts.
You would work in an office, however, you would also spend a lot of time travelling and gathering information

What skills and knowledge will I need?

  • good spoken and written communication skills
  • excellent observational skills
  • strong analytical skills
  • self-confidence to present information in court
  • basic computer skills
  • a knowledge of the law
  • honesty and integrity
  • the ability to work independently
  • a logical approach to your work
  • patience and perseverance
  • empathy with clients who may be distressed by your findings.
What opportunities are there?
Opportunities for work have increased in this area, and investigators are taking on more work previously done by the police. However, competition for work is still strong.
You could find work as an employee with an investigation agency or buy a franchise, which may combine working alone with the benefits and contacts associated with being part of a larger organisation. Alternatively you could set up on your own as a sole practitioner. The success of your business will not only depend on your investigative skills, knowledge and experience, but also on your ability to advertise, market and sell your services.
Although there is no single regulatory body for this field, you can find a list of agencies (and potential employers) who meet the professional standards of the APDI, CII and WAD on their websites.
With experience, you could progress to senior investigator or team manager, or set-up your own agency and have other investigators working for you.
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