If you are considering becoming an investigator, chances are that you are asking yourself what degree you need in order to be an investigator. The truth is that private investigators’ job requirements rarely include degrees. However, a degree would be useful some branches of detective work, for example forensics. A degree in Forensic Sciences would arm you with the relevant knowledge and skills valued at private investigation agencies that specialise in forensics, as well as general investigations.
The degree in forensic sciences or other relevant subject, such as computing, photography or law, can be obtained from the Open University, and it would also allow you to gain work experience while studying. Work experience plays an important part in what it takes to be a detective, and you can gain it by volunteering at well-established PI firms that you can approach locally. This experience would also provide you with an insight into the business and help you learn what detectives do on the job.
Work experience and education are very important parts of the process of becoming a detective, but certain personal characteristics and skills are also invaluable. If you are asking yourself how to become a detective, it is possible that you already possess some of them. A private investigator needs to be flexible and open-minded – the nature of the occupation and the clientele requires unique approaches towards each customer, because the circumstances surrounding them are unique to them and them alone. In addition, the job comes with unpredictable long hours and sometimes working on weekends; therefore, you need to be flexible enough to be available any day of the week.
A big part of being an investigator is subject surveillance, which can take place anywhere and at any time of day or night. It is therefore important for a detective to have a good geographic knowledge and be able to use a map in order to survey your subject.
It is also possible that you would have to travel internationally for particular cases, and therefore you would have to be prepared for world-wide travel, which can be a big commitment. In fact, deciding to offer your professional services as a private investigator generally signifies a long-term commitment, and you need to make sure that you are ready for that. You should check the employment ratio for private investigators, and that you would be able to find job before you decide to commit to becoming an investigator.
Private detective jobs are available in most areas of the UK – you can approach agencies and organisations for potential opportunities in your area or look for the vacancies online. If you volunteered at an agency or an in-house organisation, you can also approach them to see if they are willing to employ you full-time. Alternatively, if you have sufficient experience as, for example, a detective or a criminal investigator, you can start your own private investigation enterprise.