what degree do you need to become a Private Detective and Investigator
majors for Private Detectives and Investigators

Private Detectives and Investigators

Other names for this job might include Alarm Investigator, Asset Protection Detective, Background Investigator, Bonding Agent, Cash Shortage Investigator, Certified Legal Investigator, Detective, Detective Investigator, District Agent, Field Investigator

  • $52840
  • 73%
    Job satisfaction
  • Medium
    Becoming one
  • Medium
    Job growth
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Be A Private Detective: What You Really Need

In this requirements guide for Private Detectives and Investigators, you will find out what do you need to become a Private Detective and Investigator and what it takes to become one.

After reading this, you will be able to plan for your future if you want to be a Private Detective and Investigator.

Degree required

Recommended degree level

Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)

Bachelors degree

High School Diploma

Associates degree

Some college courses

Post-bachelor certificate

Generally, employers are looking for Private Detectives who have a Bachelors degree. They also prefer someone who is good in Active Listening and Speaking.

1 common question that we always get is what major or degree do I need to become A Private Detective or what courses do I need to take.

We did a survey to ask other Private Detectives what did they major in college or university and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Criminal Justice/Police Science
Law Enforcement Record-Keeping and Evidence Management
Cyber/Computer Forensics and Counterterrorism
Financial Forensics and Fraud Investigation
Protective Services Operations

Education requirements vary greatly depending on the job. However, a high school diploma is the minimum requirement to be a Private Detective / Investigator. Some Private Detectives and Investigators jobs may require a 2- or 4 year degree. Although previous work experience is usually the most important requirement, candidates sometimes enter the occupation directly after graduating from college with an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or police science.


schools for Private Detectives

Interested in becoming A Private Detective? Find the right schools that can help you to become one. You will need some of your details to get you matched with the right college or university. This service is free thanks to our sponsors.

Questions to ask the university or college:

  1. How many students are in the program?
  2. Is your program accredited?
  3. How many faculty members do you have? Do they hold the right credentials?
  4. What is your job placement rate?
  5. Does your school hold career fairs or other on-campus events with employers? How many employers typically attend?
  6. How many of your students have at least one internship by graduation?

Click to start becoming a Private Detective and Investigator

How long does it take


You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge or experience to be A Private Detective.

For example: An electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

To become A Private Detective, you will usually need 1 to 2 years of training which includes both on-the-job experience and training with experienced workers.

How long does it take
4 to 6 years

Work experience
4 to 6 years

4 to 6 years

2 to 4 years

1 to 2 years

Over 10 years

6 to 8 years

Job training
1 to 3 months

0 to 1 month

2 to 4 years

6 months to 1 year

1 to 3 months

3 to 6 months

Most Private Detectives have 4 to 6 years work experience and 1 to 3 months job training.

To increase your chances of getting a job, you can look for job training while studying to be one.

License and certifications

Do you need any license or certification
Requirements vary by state

The vast majority of states require private detectives and investigators to have a license. Requirements vary, depending on the state. Professional Investigator Magazine has links to each state’s licensing requirements. Because laws often change, jobseekers should verify the licensing laws related to private investigators with the state and locality in which they want to work. In most states, detectives and investigators who carry handguns must meet additional requirements.

Skills required

We asked other Private Detectives if they could only have 5 skills, what would they be. Here is what they said.

1. Active Listening what does this mean
2.Speaking what does this mean
3.Critical Thinking what does this mean
4.Social Perceptiveness what does this mean
5.Complex Problem Solving what does this mean
= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

We did some research and found that most successful Private Detectives have these 5 common characteristics. Most of them had Integrity and Attention to Detail.

2.Attention to Detail

Knowledge required

Just like any other job, you will need some know-hows to do the job. To become a successful Private Detectives you need to acquire knowledge in these 5 key areas.

1. English Language what does this mean
2.Customer and Personal Service what does this mean
3.Law and Government what does this mean
4.Clerical what does this mean
5.Administration and Management what does this mean

As A Private Detective, you may also be required to know how to use certain Graphics or photo imaging software, Data base user interface and query software and Electronic mail software tools.

Computer imaging software (Graphics or photo imaging software)
Data entry software (Data base user interface and query software)
Email software (Electronic mail software)
LexisNexis software (Information retrieval or search software)
Microsoft Excel (Spreadsheet software)
= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

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Security and Protective Services

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