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Private Detectives and Investigators
SOC Code: 33-9021.00

Gather, analyze, compile and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.

Sample of reported job titles: Asset Protection Detective, Field Investigator, Investigator, Loss Prevention Agent, Loss Prevention Associate, Loss Prevention Detective, Loss Prevention Investigator, Loss Prevention Officer, Private Investigator, Special Investigator

Tasks

  • Write reports or case summaries to document investigations.
  • Conduct private investigations on a paid basis.
  • Search computer databases, credit reports, public records, tax or legal filings, or other resources to locate persons or to compile information for investigations.
  • Conduct personal background investigations, such as pre-employment checks, to obtain information about an individual's character, financial status, or personal history.
  • Expose fraudulent insurance claims or stolen funds.
  • Obtain and analyze information on suspects, crimes, or disturbances to solve cases, to identify criminal activity, or to gather information for court cases.
  • Testify at hearings or court trials to present evidence.
  • Question persons to obtain evidence for cases of divorce, child custody, or missing persons or information about individuals' character or financial status.
  • Observe and document activities of individuals to detect unlawful acts or to obtain evidence for cases, using binoculars and still or video cameras.
  • Confer with establishment officials, security departments, police, or postal officials to identify problems, provide information, or receive instructions.
  • Investigate companies' financial standings or locate funds stolen by embezzlers, using accounting skills.
  • Perform undercover operations, such as evaluating the performance or honesty of employees by posing as customers or employees.
  • Alert appropriate personnel to suspects' locations.
  • Count cash and review transactions, sales checks, or register tapes to verify amounts or to identify shortages.
  • Monitor industrial or commercial properties to enforce conformance to establishment rules and to protect people or property.
  • Apprehend suspects and release them to law enforcement authorities or security personnel.
  • Warn troublemakers causing problems on establishment premises and eject them from premises when necessary.

Technology Skills

  • Data base user interface and query software - Data entry software
  • Electronic mail software - Email software; Microsoft Outlook
  • Graphics or photo imaging software - Computer imaging software
  • Information retrieval or search software - LexisNexis
  • Internet browser software - Web browser software
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Binoculars - High powered binoculars
  • Biological evidence collection kits
  • Desktop computers
  • Digital camcorders or video cameras - Digital video cameras
  • Digital cameras - Compact digital cameras
  • Digital voice recorders - Digital audio recorders
  • Fingerprint latent print kits - Fingerprint evidence kits
  • Global positioning system GPS receiver - Global positioning system GPS receivers
  • Handguns
  • Light enhancing cameras or vision devices - Night vision goggles
  • Notebook computers - Laptop computers
  • Personal computers
  • Scanners - Computer data input scanners
  • Still cameras - 35 millimeter cameras
  • Telescopes - Optical telescopes

Knowledge

  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Skills

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Abilities

  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Selective Attention - The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Fluency of Ideas - The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Originality - The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Perceptual Speed - The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.

Interests

  • Interest code: EC
    • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Telephone - 94% responded “Every day.”
  • Electronic Mail - 80% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 80% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 64% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 60% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Contact With Others - 56% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Time Pressure - 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 53% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Sitting - 47% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 49% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 50% responded “Very important results.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 46% responded “Every day.”
  • Letters and Memos - 49% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 57% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 32% responded “Important.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 31% responded “Extremely important.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment - 31% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 37% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others - 26% responded “Very important.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People - 44% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Physical Proximity - 37% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”

Education

Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
38%Bachelor's degree
25%High school diploma or equivalent
16%Associate's degree

Work Styles

  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Social Orientation - Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Work Values

  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Achievement - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Recognition - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $24.38 hourly, $50,700 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 41,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Faster than average (10% to 14%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 4,500

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