If you have good communication skills, great deductive reasoning and surplus patience, you may want to open your own home-based private investigator business. As a private investigator you will solve a variety of cases. These cases can range from adultery to theft to fraud. You will use physical surveillance and computer programs to complete your investigations.
Attend a private investigator preparation program. You can also get a degree in police science to learn more about the field. You must be at least 18 years old in order to become a private investigator.
Gain experience in the private investigator field. Find a job as an apprentice in civilian law enforcement, arson investigation or in an established detective agency. Learn things such as surveillance and counter-surveillance, as well as other necessary investigative skills.
Apply for the proper licenses for your home investigation business. Each state has different requirements for private investigators. Some states require you to have a license to be an accredited private investigator or you need proof of training or other certifications. Other states only require you to have a business license. Ask your local government office in charge of matters relating to private investigators for specifics.
Network yourself. Make connections with institutions such as police departments. Police departments may need the services of a private investigator to help them get additional leads regarding some of their cases. Hospitals, as well as other companies, may also need private investigators to do background check before they hire new employees. Give your name to local law firms and tell them the services you offer.
You don't need to be a college graduate to become a private investigator, but consider graduating with a degree in law or police science. This will give you an edge because you'll have enough background on surveillance and investigating cases. You need to have a clean criminal record in order to be a private investigator.
Expect stiff competition from qualified law enforcement retirees who most likely are in the same line of work.