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Get to the Bottom of Things as a Private Investigator

Crime is always a problem in society, and law enforcement officials are there for us to help keep us safe. But what about investigating personal matters that wouldn't pertain to public law enforcement officials? Private investigators are used in this case, and do things from surveillance to background checks. Earning a private investigation degree or certificate will be the first step in a career in this area.

Private investigators do confidential investigations by gathering as much information as they can by telephone, e-mail, surveillance, background checks, Internet databases and interviews in person. They may work undercover and act a part to observe suspected illegal actions. They work with businesses, attorneys, individuals and the public. They may work on legal, financial or personal issues. They work on domestic cases such as investigating parents to help a court establish their backgrounds in child custody cases. In a divorce case they may be hired to spy on, photograph and document a spouse's activity.

Private investigators give evidence and testimony when called to court. They also are hired to do pre-employment validation and background checks. All jobs end with a complete and confidential report.

Private investigators have to keep up with changes in the law that affect their jobs. Even though they are not working as police officers, they work closely with law enforcement officials and make sure evidence is correct and admissible in court. They are not authorized to make an arrest; they are only licensed by the state to investigate.

Private investigation training can vary from short term certificate programs to bachelor's degree programs. Course work in this field will likely involve criminal justice, police science and an introduction to the judicial system. The more in-depth your program is, the further you will delve in to the world of law enforcement.


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About Capella University

An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers both foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so that what you’re learning in your courses is immediately applicable to your career goals.

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  • In Walden’s PhD in Forensic Psychology program, you will explore the systems and programs that work to create positive change in the legal system and community settings.
  • Broaden your understanding of advanced forensic psychology and examine ways to evaluate programs designed for populations such as the incarcerated, recently released offenders, and the mentally ill.
  • Choose from the General Program or six specializations—including two self-designed options—to align your studies with your specific career goals.
  • Learn from subject matter experts and delve into real case studies. Walden’s faculty includes renowned forensic psychologists and other thought leaders in this exciting and diverse field.
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