Private Detectives

“Every man at the bottom of his heart believes that he is a born detective.” - John Buchan

A Private Detective is a person hired by an individual or a group to carry out investigating activities. Private Detectives are hired to collect information about an assigned topic which will be of concern to the client. They are also known as Private Investigators, PI and Private Eye. They find facts and analyze information about legal, financial and personal matters. They are often involved in carrying out background checks, tracing people and investigating computer crimes.

Becoming a Private Detective is an exciting and adventurous career choice. The career is expected to grow at a fast rate in the future due to the rise in cyber crimes and the increasing need to protect property and confidential information. Private Detectives are usually employed by Non – Governmental entities such as private citizens and businesses. They normally work within the current law framework and carry out their investigations discreetly. Private Detectives often work with attorneys in civil and capital punishment cases. They work with Insurance Companies to investigate suspicious claims. They work on divorce cases related to finding grounds for divorce, child custody, alimony etc. Private Detectives are also hired to check the genuineness of schemes and offers.

What do Private Detectives do?

The main aim of a Private Detective is to collect relevant information through investigative but legal means. They have to collect evidence in a proper manner so that it can be presented in court. A lot of their work is done on computers, which provide easy access to quick information regarding people and cases.

One of the main jobs of a Private Detective is to interrogate people and conduct interviews. They develop their own methods through which they can get important information out of the interviewees. This is an important task as the information they get out of the interviewees is crucial and often leads them to suspects and criminals.

Another important task that a Private Detective has to perform is to conduct research through computerized and non – computerized means. This research is often related to background checks. Computer based research is mostly used to learn more about the suspect through social networking sites and Government records. Non - Computerized research includes meeting people and inquiring about the suspect.

Conducting surveillance is a crucial job for a Private Detective. Conducting surveillances often include following suspects for longs hours and keeping a track of their activities and whereabouts. Private Detectives often follow suspects discreetly to collect information. This is extremely important in civil cases related to Infidelity and Adultery.

The most important job for a Private Detective is to collect evidence. This evidence forms the basis of the investigation and helps courts give decisions in favor of the innocent party. It is important for a Private Detective to collect evidence that is of use to his/her client through proper means, so that it can be presented in court.

Private Detectives often have to write reports and case summaries. These reports and summaries form a written record of the proceedings of the investigation and can also help the Detective revisit situations to find information that may be crucial to the investigation.

Private Detectives have to often testify in court as witnesses in favor of their client. They have to give crucial information to the court so that their client’s case becomes stronger and more convincing.

As Private Detectives have to conduct their investigations in a legal manner, it is important for them to keep in touch with latest rules, regulations and laws that are related to their occupation. They need to make sure that they collect evidence only through legal means otherwise it might not be considered as substantial evidence by the court.

Private Detectives have to often work on Civil and Criminal Liability cases which require them to perform a wide range of activities like tracing people and investigating suspicious insurance claims.

How to become a Private Detective?

Private Detectives are often hired to prove or disprove suspicions and information. They work in many specialized fields such as surveillance, computer forensics, skip training, background checks and asset searches. Becoming a Private Detective is not easy and you have to deal with a lot of competition. But if you have the right aptitude and skill, you can become very successful.


Even though there is no necessary education qualification required to become a Private Detective, clients would not prefer a Detective who has not completed his schooling. To become a Private Detective, concentrate on subjects like Political Science, Psychology, English and Math. Choosing your stream after the 10th depends upon which course do you want to pursue after school. If you wish to do Forensic Science, you should choose Science. For Psychology, Journalism and Law, you can choose to pursue Arts.

Once you complete your schooling, you should pursue an Undergraduate degree from a reputed college. This is not necessary, but can drastically increase your credibility. Studying subjects like Law, Psychology and Journalism can be very helpful.

An alternative route to become a Private Detective is by joining an Undergraduate course in Forensic Sciences. Forensic Sciences revolve around the application of different aspects of Science and technology to investigate situations and find out in detail about the events that occurred on the basis of the evidence. If you wish to pursue a course in Forensic Science, you should choose to the Science stream after your 10th and concentrate on Chemistry, Biology and Physics. You can choose to study further by doing a Master’s course as well as a Doctorate. You can also choose to take up a MBBS course and then do Forensic Science for your Master’s. The more you study, the better jobs you will get.

Once you complete your studies, you should join Private Detective training courses. Such courses are available throughout the country and give thorough training to aspiring Private Detectives. Such institutes normally offer Diplomas upon completion of the course.

Investigation as a field requires experience. Therefore, you should work as an intern in as many investigative agencies as possible during your school and college years. This will give you important industry experience and also teach you about the various investigative methods that are used by Private Detectives.

Networking is very important if you want to become a Private Detective. People should see you as trustworthy, loyal and honest. It can be helpful to know as many people as possible and promote yourself, so that they come to you when they need the services of a Private Detective.

An alternative route to become a Private Detective is to work in the armed forces or the Police force for a certain amount of years and then retire to work as a Private Detective. This will help you gain a lot of experience in the field as well as establish your credibility as an honest and intelligent officer. Most investigative agencies are owned by retired police officers or security personnel.


There are many reputed institutions that offer courses in the field of Private Investigation. The National Institute of Private Investigation, New Delhi offers a 1 year Diploma Course in Private Investigation. The ACE Detectives India International Securities, New Delhi offers an in house 6 month training program.

You can also choose to do a course in Forensic Science in order to become a Private Detective. Institutions like Sri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences, Indore and Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Karnataka offer great courses in this field. Both offer a MD in Forensic Science/Medicine upon completion of the course. Amity University, NOIDA also offers a M.Sc degree in Forensic Science.

What are the skills required to become a Private Detective?

A Private Detective’s skills are more important than his educational qualifications. Private Detectives need to have excellent communication skills so that they can extract information from people easily. Private Detectives need to be patient and have an eye for detail. They should be thorough in their work as even the smallest of details can make all the difference in a complicated case. They need to very organized and should possess strong observational skills. Private Detectives should have the ability to think logically and analyze situations. They need to be confident and honest. It is important for Private Detectives to have a strong knowledge base in law, psychology and criminology. They should have the ability to work independently and for long hours. Photography and Film skills can be a major help if you plan to become a Private Detective. Most importantly, Private Detectives should have a genuine intent to discover the truth and make sure that justice prevails under all circumstances.

Is this the right career for me?

Private Detectives lead stressful lives and deal with a lot of negativity and unfavorable circumstances. They normally have to work for long hours and deal with dangerous situations. It is an unpredictable career with no guarantees of success. Private Detectives have to work undercover a lot of times, therefore it is important for them to investigate discreetly and not disclose their identities. The job can be frustrating at times and involves a lot of travelling. On the other hand, the job can be very well paying and give immense satisfaction as you discover the truth and deliver justice to people.

So if you’re looking for a regular job that does not require you to work for long hours, and if you’re not comfortable in dealing with dangerous and unfavorable circumstances and working without any appreciation, then this is not the right career for you. But if you’re truly interested in using your investigative talents to uncover the truth and deliver justice, and if you’re willing to deal with all kinds of problems to lead an adventurous and an exciting life, then this might be the perfect job for you.


Entrance Exam


Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams, follow their interests & curiosities and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself.