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Thread: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

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    Arrow U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!


    U.S. Department of Labor
    Bureau of Labor Statistics

    Occupational Outlook Handbook



    EMPLOYMENT OF PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS
    EXPECTED TO GROW FASTER THAN ALL OCCUPATIONS
    IN PROTECTIVE SERVICES
    THROUGH 2020!

    (Source - US Department of Labor statistics)

    NATURE OF WORK:

    Private investigators and detectives use many methods to determine the facts in a variety of matters. To carry out investigations, they may use various types of surveillance or searches. To verify facts, such as an individual’s place of employment or income, they may make phone calls or visit a subject’s workplace. In other cases, especially those involving missing persons and background checks, investigators often interview people to gather as much information as possible about an individual. In all cases, private investigators and detectives assist attorneys, businesses, and the public with legal, financial, and personal problems.

    Private investigators and detectives offer many services, including executive, corporate, and celebrity protection; pre-employment verification; and individual background profiles. They investigate computer crimes, such as identity theft, harassing e-mails, and illegal downloading of copyrighted material. They also provide assistance in civil liability and personal injury cases, insurance claims and fraud, child custody and protection cases, missing persons cases, and premarital screening. They are sometimes hired to investigate individuals to prove or disprove infidelity.

    Most private investigators and detectives are trained to perform physical surveillance. They may observe a site, such as the home of a subject, from an inconspicuous location or a vehicle. They continue the surveillance, which is often carried out using still and video cameras, binoculars, and a cell phone, until the desired evidence is obtained.

    Private investigators and detectives also may perform computer database searches or work with someone who does. Computers allow investigators to quickly obtain massive amounts of information on individuals’ prior arrests, convictions, and civil legal judgments; telephone numbers; motor vehicle registrations; association and club memberships; and other matters.

    The duties of private investigators and detectives depend on the needs of their clients. In cases for employers that involve fraudulent workers’ compensation claims, for example, investigators may carry out long-term covert observation of subjects. If an investigator observes a subject performing an activity that contradicts injuries stated in a worker’s compensation claim, the investigator would take video or still photographs to document the activity and report it to the client.

    Private investigators and detectives often specialize. Those who focus on intellectual property theft, for example, investigate and document acts of piracy, help clients stop illegal activity, and provide intelligence for prosecution and civil action. Other investigators specialize in developing financial profiles and asset searches. Their reports reflect information gathered through interviews, investigation and surveillance, and research, including review of public documents.

    Legal investigators specialize in cases involving the courts and are normally employed by law firms or lawyers. They frequently assist in preparing criminal defenses, locating witnesses, serving legal documents, interviewing police and prospective witnesses, and gathering and reviewing evidence. Legal investigators also may collect information on the parties to the litigation, take photographs, testify in court, and assemble evidence and reports for trials.

    Corporate investigators conduct internal and external investigations for corporations. In internal investigations, they may investigate drug use in the workplace, ensure that expense accounts are not abused, or determine whether employees are stealing merchandise or information. External investigations are typically done to uncover criminal schemes originating outside the corporation, such as theft of company assets through fraudulent billing of products by suppliers.

    Financial investigators may be hired to develop confidential financial profiles of individuals or companies that are prospective parties to large financial transactions. These investigators often are certified public accountants (CPAs) who work closely with investment bankers and other accountants. They search for assets in order to recover damages awarded by a court in fraud or theft cases.

    Detectives who work for retail stores or hotels are responsible for controlling losses and protecting assets. Store detectives, also known as loss prevention agents, safeguard the assets of retail stores by apprehending anyone attempting to steal merchandise or destroy store property. They prevent theft by shoplifters, vendor representatives, delivery personnel and even store employees. Store detectives also conduct periodic inspections of stock areas, dressing rooms, and restrooms, and sometimes assist in opening and closing the store. They may prepare loss prevention and security reports for management and testify in court against persons they apprehend. Hotel detectives protect guests of the establishment from theft of their belongings and preserve order in hotel restaurants and bars. They also may keep undesirable individuals, such as known thieves, off the premises.

    WORKING CONDITIONS:

    Private investigators and detectives often work irregular hours because of the need to conduct surveillance and contact people who are not available during normal working hours. Early morning, evening, weekend, and holiday work is common.
    (IPIU poll shows an increasing amount of assignments are conducted during business hours, as well as the early evening hours and weekends)

    Many private investigators and detectives spend time away from their offices conducting interviews or doing surveillance, but some work in their office most of the day conducting computer searches and making phone calls. Those who have their own agencies and employ other investigators may work primarily in an office and have normal business hours.
    (IPIU poll shows 75% of all agencies are operated from a private home office)

    When the investigator is working on a case away from the office, the environment might range from plush boardrooms to seedy bars. Store and hotel detectives work in the businesses that they protect. Investigators generally work alone, but they sometimes work with others during surveillance or when following a subject in order to avoid detection by the subject.

    Some of the work involves confrontation, so the job can be stressful and dangerous. Some situations call for the investigator to be armed, such as certain bodyguard assignments for corporate or celebrity clients. Private investigators and detectives who carry handguns must be licensed by the appropriate authority. In most cases, however, a weapon is not necessary, because the purpose of the work is gathering information and not law enforcement or criminal apprehension. Owners of investigative agencies have the added stress of having to deal with demanding and sometimes distraught clients.
    (IPIU poll shows 95% of cases are not dangerous)


    TRAINING, OTHER QUALIFICATIONS, AND ADVANCEMENT:

    There are no formal education requirements for most private investigator and detective jobs, although many private investigators have college degrees. Private investigators and detectives typically have previous experience in other occupations. Some work initially for insurance or collections companies, in the private security industry, or as paralegals. Many investigators enter the field after serving in law enforcement, the military, government auditing and investigative positions, or Federal intelligence jobs.
    (IPIU poll shows 90% of all private investigator trainees had no prior experience prior to completing their academic and on-the-job training assignments)

    Former law enforcement officers, military investigators, and government agents, who are frequently able to retire after 25 years of service, often become private investigators and detectives in a second career. Others enter from such diverse fields as finance, accounting, commercial credit, investigative reporting, insurance, and law. These individuals often can apply their prior work experience in a related investigative specialty. A few enter the occupation directly after graduation from college, generally with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees in criminal justice or police science.

    The majority of States and the District of Columbia require private investigators and detectives to be licensed.

    Licensing requirements vary, however: seven States—Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota—have no statewide licensing requirements, some States have few requirements, and many other States have stringent regulations.

    A growing number of States are enacting mandatory training programs for private investigators and detectives. For example, the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services of the California Department of Consumer Affairs requires private investigators to be 18 years of age or older; have a combination of education in police science, criminal law, or justice and experience equaling 3 years (6,000 hours) of investigative experience; pass a criminal history background check by the California Department of Justice and the FBI (in some States, convicted felons cannot be issued a license); and receive a qualifying score on a 2-hour written examination covering laws and regulations. There are additional requirements for a firearms permit.

    For private investigators and detectives jobs, most employers look for individuals with ingenuity, persistence, and assertiveness. A candidate must not be afraid of confrontation, should communicate well, and should be able to think on his or her feet. Good interviewing and interrogation skills also are important and usually are acquired in earlier careers in law enforcement or other fields. Because the courts often are the ultimate judge of a properly conducted investigation, the investigator must be able to present the facts in a manner that a jury will believe.

    Training in subjects such as criminal justice and police science is helpful to aspiring private investigators and detectives. Most corporate investigators must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a business-related field. Some corporate investigators have a master’s degree in business administration or a law degree, while others are CPAs. Corporate investigators hired by large companies may receive formal training from their employers on business practices, management structure, and various finance-related topics. The screening process for potential employees typically includes a background check for a criminal history.

    Some investigators receive certification from a professional organization to demonstrate competency in a field. For example, the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI) confers the Certified Legal Investigator designation to licensed investigators who devote a majority of their practice to negligence or criminal defense investigations. To receive the designation, applicants must satisfy experience, educational, and continuing-training requirements and must pass written and oral exams administered by the NALI.

    Most private-investigative agencies are small, with little room for advancement. Usually, there are no defined ranks or steps, so advancement takes the form of increases in salary and assignment status. Many private investigators and detectives work for investigative agencies at the beginning of their careers and, after a few years, start their own firms. Corporate and legal investigators may rise to supervisor or manager of the security or investigations department.

    EMPLOYMENT:

    Private investigators and detectives held about 43,000 jobs in 2004. About 26 percent were self-employed, including many who held a secondary job as a self-employed private investigator. Around 27 percent of jobs were in investigation and security services, including private investigative agencies, while another 15 percent were in department or other general merchandise stores. The rest worked mostly in State and local government, legal services firms, employment services companies, insurance agencies, and credit mediation establishments, including banks and other depository institutions.


    JOB OUTLOOK:

    Keen competition is expected because private investigators and detectives careers attract many qualified people, including relatively young retirees from law enforcement and military careers. The best opportunities will be in entry-level jobs with investigative agencies or in stores that hire private investigators and detectives on a part-time basis. The best prospects for those seeking store detective jobs will be with large chains and discount stores.
    (IPIU poll shows the most employment opportunities are with both established agencies and new agencies who choose to expand nationwide, or through the IPIU Executive Agency Program.)

    Employment of private investigators and detectives is expected to grow faster than the average for all protective service occupations through 2020. In addition to growth, replacement of those who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons should create many job openings.

    Increased demand for private investigators and detectives will result from fear of crime, increased litigation, and the need to protect confidential information and property of all kinds.

    The proliferation of criminal activity on the Internet, such as identity theft, spamming, e-mail harassment, and illegal downloading of copyrighted materials, will increase the demand for private investigators.

    Employee background checks, conducted by private investigators, will become standard for an increasing number of jobs.

    Growing financial activity worldwide will increase the demand for investigators to control internal and external financial losses and to monitor competitors and prevent industrial spying.

    EARNINGS:

    Median annual earnings of salaried private investigators and detectives were $46,480 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,870 and $59,060. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,500, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $76,640. Earnings of private investigators and detectives vary greatly by employer, specialty, and geographic area.

    (IPIU poll shows self-employed private investigators are earning an additional 50% to 150% above the salaried reports, in addition to having the benefit of tax deductible items not afforded by a salaried employee, which explains why private investigators can earn $50,000 to $100,000 a year)

    Quote Originally Posted by Donna Reagan
    The government report is only including waged hourly employees, and NOT the majority of private investigators who also own their own agency or are independent investigators.

    If I need $100,000 a year to live in New York City and I report my taxes as an employee of my own agency, my employment check from my agency is going to be in the area of what the government is showing and NOT $100,000 a year. But the remaining income that I do not report on my personal tax return is reported on my business report as authorized business related "expenses", which include a very good portion of how I spend my money, only I spend it under the agency instead of under my personal wage.

    Examples: Internet, transportation, food, computer, some clothing, phone, postage, utility, cable, books, insurance, just about everything (but not all) that is not reported to the government report.

    Curious? Talk to your CPA.


    RELATED OCCUPATIONS:

    Private investigators and detectives often collect information and protect the property and other assets of companies and individuals. Others with related duties include bill and account collectors; claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators; police and detectives; and security guards and gaming surveillance officers. Investigators who specialize in conducting financial profiles and asset searches perform work closely related to that of accountants, auditors, financial analysts, and personal financial advisers.






    Source:
    http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos157.htm#outlook

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    John G - is offline Retired Forum Moderator

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    Allen, this is a very interesting source of information. Thank you for posting it.

    Johnny

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Ginsberg
    Allen, this is a very interesting source of information. Thank you for posting it.

    Johnny
    You're welcome Johnny! Just thought everyone in our field would like to know about the tremendous oportunities that are ahead of us.

    With Success in Mind,
    Allen

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    :,) I was trying to find information like this. I wasn’t sure where to look. Thanks this is perfect!

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    Thumbs up Great place to check mutiple workforces

    Allen,

    That is a great place , i am also involved in the insurance adjuster end of the feild and was surfing through the info yesterday. Gee i didn't think about posting the link. Good Job!
    [/COLOR]Steve Lofing
    Trainee

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    Ashley Mayne--'s Avatar
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    Thanks Allen,

    Interesting to see the wages for the USA, it seems over here, they are higher. But I would expect that because it seems the cost of living is higher too.

    Regards

    ASHLEY MAYNE
    Licensed Private Investigator (Vic.AU)
    Victoria, Australia

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    Hugh Brown Jr's Avatar
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    I am glad for this because I want to do this for as long as I can.

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    Do you know what that means? Job security. P.I.s rock!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashley Mayne
    Interesting to see the wages for the USA, it seems over here, they are higher. But I would expect that because it seems the cost of living is higher too.

    Regards
    To all,

    We have added the full text of the government's latest report, plus the IPIU polls that show additional important data for those starting out.

    The government report does not provide earnings for private investigators who are self employed. But the IPIU poll found that self-employed private investigators enjoy an additional 50-150% increase in earnings, rather than just earn as a salaried employee.

    Self employed private investigators also earn a substantial benefit of tax exempt deductions that salaried employees do not.

    IPIU's mission is to teach and educate all private investigators in becoming self-employed in some respect, even if they hold a salaried position. The tax savings can be enormous.

    All my best,

    Robert
    Robert Donovan
    Director - Agent Relations
    Sr. Director - IPIU Ethics Board


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    Thumbs up Thanks for the information

    Thanks for giving all of us this vital infomation.. It is good to know that IPIU is always working to keep us informed.

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    Great news! I'm happy to know I will be part of a growing industry .

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    Great Feedback. Thanks for posting this information and informing me about job security and services for private investigators.

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    Thumbs up great

    thank-you for passing this on I was wondering about this!!

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    Great information !! Thanks for posting!

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    Thats a lot of good information; thank you.

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    Thanks for all the great information. It was informative and positive. I was wondering how to find this information and it's good to see it in writing!

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    Thanks for the great information, I'm excited about all the different fields I can get into!

    Cheryl Mason
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    cheryl.mason@pi-agency.us

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    That's outstanding information, especially for those of us who are new to the field.
    Thanks for passing it on!

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    Steven D Mahan's Avatar
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    Allen this seems like a good time to start a new venture,from your input the field looks like a secure future.

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    Thanks for posting this info. It is very informative and I think it should be posted in the FAQ section as well. The outlook of this profession is very encouraging and I'm happy to be part of it.

    Thanks again.

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    Great infomation about the investigator field of work!! Kenneth

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    I have been in and out of the business for over ten years now, and i have to say that it is an encouragement to see that the industry is doing very well. Thank you for the information.

    Ernest luque

  23. #23

    I just saw this...

    My husband had sent me to the Dept. of Labor's page showing this info (he was skeptical about IPIU). I thought it conflicted with what I had read here, but didn't know which source to fault. I did mention the discrepancy on my "Introduction Thread," and people generally agreed with me that IPIU was offering more than what the Dept. of Labor acknowledges in the field. I just saw this post (maybe I finally had a high enough lvl to view it?). Thanks for the added notations! I need to show this to my husband

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    Robert Davis is offline Lifetime Professional Management Member

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    Great info

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer Samson
    My husband had sent me to the Dept. of Labor's page showing this info (he was skeptical about IPIU). I thought it conflicted with what I had read here, but didn't know which source to fault.

    I did mention the discrepancy on my "Introduction Thread," and people generally agreed with me that IPIU was offering more than what the Dept. of Labor acknowledges in the field.

    I just saw this post (maybe I finally had a high enough lvl to view it?). Thanks for the added notations! I need to show this to my husband
    The government report is only including waged hourly employees, and NOT the majority of private investigators who also own their own agency or are independent investigators.

    If I need $100,000 a year to live in New York City and I report my taxes as an employee of my own agency, my employment check from my agency is going to be in the area of what the government is showing and NOT $100,000 a year. But the remaining income that I do not report on my personal tax return is reported on my business report as authorized business related "expenses", which include a very good portion of how I spend my money, only I spend it under the agency instead of under my personal wage.

    Examples: Internet, transportation, food, computer, some clothing, phone, postage, utility, cable, books, insurance, just about everything (but not all) that is not reported to the government report.

    Curious? Talk to your CPA.

    As for your husband, if he does not fully support you then you will not be around IPIU very long. You will end up on your own trying to become a private investigator. And the same goes for any spouse.

    I suggest the two of you carefully read the following copy of your Oath & Code of Ethics:
    http://www.ipiu.org/forums/showthread.php?t=6688

    IPIU is a fraternal "union" of those who help and aid and sustain each other through the easy times and the hard times. Allowing one critic and naysayer in the union can become like a cancer. The union Board of Ethics is very protective, even by saying that IPIU is not for everyone - only for those who use their free will to abide.

    I don't mean to come across as too stern, but I'd rather tell you now what is ahead if you chose to just ignore your spouse's misgivings. A spouse can make or break their counterpart's esteem and ambitions.

    I wish both of you well,

    Donna


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    I have 23 years military experience and 20 years law enforcement experience.I work p/t as a Private Investigator and I'm looking to start my own business soon.It looks like I'll have job security in the P.I. business.

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    Talking wow!

    I cannot believe I missed this post!

    U can be assured it has been converted to a word doc....and filed

    Thank U for posting this valuable information ......

  28. #28
    Hi Great info: Keep it up!

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    Wow!! This is great information...Thank You.

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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    Thank you for this information, I was wondering what the job outlook was for PI's, although it was not the underlying factor in my decision to join, I guess I was just curious, but it is good to know.

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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    The article was very interesting and informative.

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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    Hi really good info and thanks. It is something I wondered about and didn`t know who to ask so thanks again.

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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    Good information that answered alot of our questions.....Thanks.

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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    Thank You Allen for the very insightful information here in your post. It's well worth reading. I enjoyed reading it very much!

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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    This is still some very accurate information 2 years later. This is very promising for those just now getting in the field. Although I would say the pay posted in the original posting is somewhat depressing. LOL.

  36. #36
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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    Shaun,you are correct,the more in the field tends to lower the rate.

  37. #37

    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    Hi Shaun You sent me this email, dont know whats it about. Please define. Thanks

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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    Nancy I apologize but I do not know your email address. It could be that you are subscribed to this thread and you got an automatic update when someone posted on this thread. Other than that I am not sure what email you are talking about. Sorry for the mix up.

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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Andrews View Post
    Need some marketing ideas, I recommend;
    Bob Mackowiak, of Toledo, Ohio.
    Funny you should mention him. Bob is here on our forums
    http://www.ipiu.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=364

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    Re: U.S. LABOR DEPT: Private Investigator Employment Fastest Growing Jobs!

    California (the Ninth Circuit) has the most overturned cases yet California has the strictest laws about PI Industry. I think, California can be bit lenient and let us enjoy our work .... The above mentioned article is superbly informative.

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