Is Private Investigation A Good Career?

Discovering our passions in life and how we want to spend our days is a question that we begin to be asked as children. Deciding what we want to do for a job can come naturally to some, but it often feels like a difficult quest for others. As we explore potential career paths, the world of private investigators may seem appealing. Popular culture, such as movies and television, certainly paints the role as being full of excitement and adventure, diving into the scandalous lives of other people. But is that truly how it is in real life?

Before entering into any job field, it’s always a smart idea to do your own research and gain a thorough understanding of the role. If you are considering a future career in a certain position, you want to eliminate any surprises and feel confident that you are dedicating your time and energy to a job that you’re going to excel at. So let’s explore whether private investigation is the right career for you!


Not A 9 To 5 Job

If having a set, stable schedule that allows you to be home for dinner every night is your preference, that’s totally understandable. However, private investigation may not be the right job for you. Regardless of the type of case you’re handling, whether that be one about infidelity or criminal fraud, the subject of your investigation doesn’t stick to business hours. This means that you will have to be out and about through all hours of the day, ensuring that you are taking all the necessary steps to gather evidence and document facts. For those who like to have a different schedule every day, the life of a private investigator may seem appealing!


A Mix of Tedious and Exciting

Private investigation can truly feel like a rollercoaster at times. Expect to perform mundane, repetitive tasks on the daily, from sitting in your car for hours to reading documents. However, mix this with the occasional close encounter while tailing someone and the rush that you feel when you find the key to proving your client’s case, and you won’t want to do anything else.

An old detective is looking at photos of suspects in his office

Get Comfortable With Your Car

You will likely spend hours inside your car, similar to living in it. Therefore, it’s important to find ways to engage your mind and stay alert. While staying focused on the task at hand is crucial, it’s also imperative that you consider your mental health as well. Being a private investigator can be isolating at times, so having an understanding of how you would hold up on your own with little to do could be beneficial before entering the field.


Consider Your Experience

It is incredibly rare that individuals can enter the world of private investigation with simply a high school diploma. Most employers, whether that be an agency or a law firm, require a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. Plus, many private investigators have had a previous life in the military or police force. While this isn’t necessary, many find that a similar set of skills and knowledge are required in both industries.


Consider The Pay

For the unusual hours you work, the pay may not seem worth it to some. The average salary for a first-year private investigator typically starts at around $40,000. While this is certainly more than minimum wage, it can feel like a lot of work for a relatively small reward.



Ultimately, private investigation can be a good career if it’s a field that you’re passionate about. While the schedule and type of work may be unpredictable, the feeling you can have at the end of a case is indescribable. If being a private investigator is a job that interests you, consider speaking with someone in the industry and get that personal feedback, allowing you to make a more informed decision as to whether your personality would fit this role.