Inside Investigator Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Law Enforcement Family...
What most people aren't aware about is the fraternal brotherhood that accompanies being a police officer. I was surprised at how friendly my coworkers were as well as how supportive other police officers are from other agencies." (State Trooper.; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, male
School: Studied Organizational Leadership at Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Licensing Is The Most Important Part Of Starting Your Business...
I was surprised to learn that after you go to school for 4 years you have to receive a license from the state you want to work in in order to do any investigating if you decide to do private and not public. Also, you might need to get other licenses in order to start your own business and licenses in surrounding states as well as a concealed to carry license." (Guard Officer; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Investigations at Bellevue University in Nebraska; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Political Skills Needed...
Even though I work for the Government, it is a very small agency and I'm in a field office many levels away from Washington DC so I was very surprised by the amount of political savvy and public speaking that I needed for the position." (Program Specialist/Grant Manager; 2013)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, female
School: Studied Math at Linfield College in Oregon; completed Bachelor degree in 1986

"What has surprised me most about my profession is how many lives are impacted by what I do. I am a recovery analyst for the state that I live and I investigate personal injury, malpractice, third party product liability and worker's compensation cases. Even though my primary job for my state government is to recover funds from settlement proceeds as a result of the monies that were paid out on the above mentioned case types, the decisions I make in each case investigation directly impact my clients and their families. If I decide to take money rightfully owed to the state, I take money from the families who really need it. The second surprising aspect of my work is the fact that some of my clients have accidents over and over and over again. Sometimes I wonder if they are accident prone." (Recovery Analyst; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Criminal Justice at Virginia Commonwealth University in Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"Stereotypes Ring True...
A lot of the stereotypes about beltway politics are actually right. Most of the politicians are only there to get reelected." (Analyst; 2012)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in District of Columbia, female
School: Studied Political Science at University Of Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"I was surprised to find that you actually have to see dead people and investigate the scenery for clues and evidence. As an investigator I need to make sure I have really good eye sight and I can stay on top of things to make sure I learn from everything and get the job done right to fight for justice for the victims." (Investigator; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Criminal Justice at Ashford University in Iowa; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"I was surprised to learn that social skills -- especially the ability to influence people to your way of thinking -- was far more important than technical expertise. These skills, which not only help you argue your point effectively, help to build allies throughout the organization and come back to pay large dividends later in your career." (Foreign Affairs Analyst; 2012)

Career: 14 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Chemical Engineering at Columbia University in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 1999

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Background Investigator: "Best part is meeting different types of people. Worst part is having to explain everything about someone's life can be very long and tedious." (2011)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"Advice For Those Seeking Private Investigations...
If you want to be a successful investigator you must remember that it takes a lot of time to do the work and you are your own boss. If you don't want to be a private investigator you can do public work with a police department." (Guard Officer; 2014)

"Stay Out Of Trouble...
Becoming a police officer can be a long and tedious process. One tip I can give to a student is to continue to work hard, don't give up, and stay out of trouble." (State Trooper.; 2013)

"Maintain A Clean Record...
Remember that everything you do, every decision you make (good and bad) can have consequences. If you hope to enter into the military, or have a career in law enforcement, it is important to maintain a clean record. By clean I don't mean that everyone has to like you, I mean that most people around you see you as someone who tries hard, has a good attitude and stays pretty much out of trouble." (Background Investigator; 2011)