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5 Ways a Background in Military or Law Enforcement Can Prepare You For a Second Career as a Private Investigator

Did you know that some of the most experienced and respected Private Investigators are also veterans of our nation’s military and law enforcement? A career in investigations requires a certain set of skills and abilities that are well aligned with the qualities of those who first began their career in service.

Skills Found in Military and Law Enforcement Officers


Certain occupations require more patience than others, and this is especially true in the field of private investigations. A significant amount of time and preparation is required to solve a case successfully. Patience is also required during interactions with suspects and other individuals. Law enforcement officers and military personnel understand why patience is a virtue, and these same skills can be valuable in a career in private investigations, too.


Teamwork is considered an essential part of daily life and is the foundation on which safe military and law enforcement operations are built. As a Private Investigator, you are expected to be able to work well with others. This might include interacting with various people with different skills to accomplish a task, or resolving conflicts within a group setting. Even if you plan to work for yourself one day, communication skills and the ability to perform well in a team environment will almost always come in handy.

Decision Making

Police officers and military personnel make decisions all the time, and many of these decisions could mean the difference between life and death. Though the decisions are rarely as critical in nature, Private Investigators are still expected to make balanced and informed decisions on behalf of their clients. In many instances, this requires strategic communication and coordination among a variety of key players and tasks.


In almost every job, there will be stressful situations that require calm and swift resolution. Veterans understand the value of stress management and are often well equipped with the skills they need to manage conflict. While some days may seem mundane in nature, there will be others days that require additional patience to get the job done. Much resilience is required to follow through on assignments, even under difficult or stressful circumstances.

The Return On Investment (ROI) For Becoming a Private Investigator

What do private investigators do?

Much of a private investigator’s success is attributed to his or her ability to collect, analyze and compile information gathered from an investigation. Private detectives and investigators find facts and analyze information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, including verifying people’s backgrounds, finding missing persons, and investigating computer crimes.

What is the return on investment (ROI) for becoming a private investigator?

For those considering a career in private investigations, the future looks bright. Consider this: The average per-hour wage for private investigators is $21.99, and employment of private investigators is projected to grow 11 percent from 2012 to 2022, according to the United States Department of Labor. It is estimated that 3,300 additional new private investigator jobs will become available in the next ten years.

In simpler terms… Training + Job = $$$

Do I have to go to school to become a PI?

Requirements vary by state. In order to establish a Class “CC” Private Investigator Intern license in Florida, for example, the applicant must submit proof of successful completion of a minimum of 40 hours of professional training pertaining to general investigative techniques by a school, community college, college, or university under the purview of the Department of Education. Further experience and training is required for full licensure.

What is NITA?

National Investigative Training Academy, Inc. (NITA) is an online provider of state-approved private investigator training classes. NITA offers students the convenience of achieving their investigative goals through a comprehensive online program that includes the required training needed to begin and maintain an investigative career. We provide students with a uniquely innovative training experience that has never before been offered within the investigative community. Our online courses are accessible 24/7, offering a flexible and convenient way for working adults to achieve their investigative goals.

Private Investigators and Licensing Laws

The field of private investigation is an extremely interesting and exciting field of work. The profession is displayed on television shows on a regular basis–taking pictures, tailing a person of interest, or sometimes even helping the police catch criminals. While the job may seem like a lot of fun and excitement, there are some serious details to consider before committing to a profession in the field.

People often wonder what it takes to become an official private investigator. Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer because the licensing requirements for becoming a private investigator are different for each individual state. Some states require a strict level of testing alongside background checks to be granted a license. Many other states do not carry any requirements or simply have limited requirements for becoming a private investigator.

Failing to receive the correct certification in a particular state can have dire consequences. A private investigator without proper certification will be ambushed in court by trial lawyers while they are testifying, which can have dire effects on the outcome of the trial. It’s extremely important for every aspiring private investigator to do their research on the licensing laws of their state before beginning their practice. Here are a few requirements that states have for someone to become a private investigator:

  • No requirements – Of the 50 states only Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Wyoming do not carry any requirements for someone to practice private investigation.
  • Tests and checks – Some states will simply have registration fees, background checks for good character and no criminal history, and fingerprint registration to obtain a private investigative license.
  • Education and experience – Some states require that a private investigator receive a formal education and/or experience in the field of investigations, usually through time served in the police force, before you can be licensed as a private investigator.

How to Determine What Type of Fees to Charge as a Private Investigator

Working as a private investigator carries a different set of responsibilities compared to your average desk job. Therefore, it stands to reason that private investigators also have a different norm when it comes to receiving payment the work performed.. For those of you considering becoming a private investigator or for those looking to hire a private investigator, here is what you need to know about the rate of pay.

Rules for Establishing Rates of Hourly Pay

  • Private investigators can charge an hourly rate or a package – depending on the type of work, private investigators can charge a client by the hour to continue their work, or package the service to be based on a certain amount of information delivered, regardless of time.
  • Rates will vary depending on complexity – the type of information or the difficulty to attain the information will affect how much it costs to retrieve it. Paying an investigator to go through public records will cost less than setting up surveillance to keep an eye on a person of interest.
  • Investigators will be traveling – gas isn’t free or cheap. The amount of traveling a private investigator has to do to gather information will affect how much they charge to compensate for the cost of traveling.
  • Levels of experience – just like attorneys, private investigators build reputations based on their performances in their line of work. The more successful and experienced a private investigator is at getting the job done, the more they will be expected to get paid. In contrast, a new or unsuccessful private investigator will usually charge lower rates in exchange for their services.

Building Credibility Through Private Investigator Organizations

Obtaining a private investigator license is crucial to building your credibility.  Depending on which state you live in, it may be a mandatory requirement.  A quick search online should help you determine whether the jurisdiction you are in requires a license.  You can also pick up the phone and call private investigators in your area.  Ask them whether a license is required in your state and whether there are any other state-specific requirements for private investigators.

Building Credibility as a Private Investigator

In terms of building credibility, another item that goes hand in hand with obtaining a private investigator license is affiliating with, and becoming involved in, respected private investigator organizations.  This is a critical step to help you get your private investigating career off of the ground.  Joining these organizations may entitle you to certain benefits, like member discounts on products and services, reduced insurance rates, and the ability to create an individual profile page on the organization’s web site – which can lead to more clients.  The resources these organizations provide can help you immensely.

Private Investigator Organizations

There are a number of different private investigator organizations located across the country.  Each of them can help you maximize the use of your private investigator license.  Below are a handful of well-respected organizations:

  • Florida Association of Licensed Investigators (FALI);
  • Florida Association of Private Investigators (FAPI);
  • American Medical Investigators Association (AMIA);
  • Association of Private Investigators (API); and
  • Certified Investigative Professionals, Inc. (CIP).

Take some time to do some research online.  You can find a large selection of organizations available for you to network and expand your resources.  You may have to pay dues to join, so choose the organizations you associate with wisely.  Joining these organizations is a great way to further your training and learn more about continuing education.  To stay connected with more opportunities to grow your career or learn how to obtain a private investigator license, visit our website at

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