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Online Private Investigation Degrees

Private investigators get to the bottom of mysteries, whether it's an employment background check or a missing person search. In addition to deductive reasoning, aspiring PIs can learn the techniques of the trade at online private investigation school.

Private Public Investigations

What is private investigation?

Hired as a private service by an attorney, business or interested individual, the private investigator methodically collects and analyzes information. Cases vary, but often include cyber-crime investigation, extramarital affair surveillance, individual background checks and pre-employment verification, celebrity protection and investigation of identity theft. Tools of the trade include computer database searches, surveillance, background checks and interviews.

Private investigators may hone their skills in a particular area of investigation. PI specialties include computer forensic investigator, corporate investigator, legal investigator and financial investigator.

Private investigation: education and training

Formal training in private investigation covers the skills and professional tools of the craft. Online private investigation school programs offer the following PI credentials:

  1. Private Investigation certificate
  2. Associate degree in private investigation, criminal justice or police science
  3. Bachelor's degree in private investigation, criminal justice or police science
  4. Master's degree in criminal justice

Private investigator education requirements vary by specialty. Corporate and computer forensics investigator jobs may require training or a college degree in accounting, business or computer science. Current investigators with their sights on a lucrative corporate specialty may qualify for the specialty with a master's degree in business administration, a J.D. or a CPA. Computer forensics specialists can learn these specialized skills in a brief, 15-21-credit certificate program.

Many states offer licensure for private investigators. Education requirements vary, but the most stringent require three years of formal training in criminal justice or police science, available via an investigation degree online.

Career outlook and salary

Even as demand for private investigators grows, professionals can expect keen competition for this popular job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 22 percent job growth over the 2008-2018 period, much faster than average for all occupations. Key growth areas include cyber-security, background checks and financial crime prevention. Alternative job titles for private investigators include loss prevention officer or investigator and asset protection detective. The 2010 average salary for private investigators was $47,830, according to the BLS.

What's affecting the field of private investigation?

Private investigation is going high tech, both in the nature of the cases and the tools used to solve them. Industry podcast The American P.I. covers the use of databases, polygraph testing, social media to investigate cases. In addition, data recovery, cyber forensics and GPS tracking technology is expanding the scope of private investigation.

As private investigation tools become more and more sophisticated, from surveillance to data mining, formal training becomes increasingly important. Learn the ropes of private investigation at a private investigation school online.

Private Investigation Schools

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  • Online BS, MS, PhD, and DIT degrees in IT.
  • Specializations available in information assurance and security, system development, network technology, health information technology, network defense, digital forensics, and more.
  • FlexPath—an innovative, self-paced learning option—lets you move quickly through familiar subjects or more slowly as needed in select IT programs.
  • Start your program now and you may be able to save thousands—$5,000 for bachelor’s degree and $3,000 for select MS programs. Must meet scholarship eligibility requirements.
  • Earn IT certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, SAS, and CompTIA while completing your program.
  • Capella Education Company was named one of Forbes magazine’s “100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America” for 2014 (Forbes, 2014).
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  • The M.S. in Cybersecurity provides the necessary foundations for the design and development of systems that are assured to be secure
  • Founded in 1901, the school has maintained its reputation as a leader in the field, offering a curriculum built on theory, fundamentals, and application with a worldwide community of over 20,000 engineering and computer science alumni
  • Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is designated by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education (CAEIAE) since 2001 and as a Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Research (CAE-R) since 2009.
  • Designed and taught by Syracuse faculty, the curriculum built on theory, fundamentals, and application.
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  • Ranked one of the Best for Vets schools in Military Times Edge magazine’s 2013 “Best for Vets” edition.
  • Offers MUSE (My Unique Student Experience), a content delivery system that gives students the option to watch, view, read or listen to required course materials.
  • Allows students to complete courses at whatever pace they want.
  • Provides IntelliPath, a proprietary learning technology that lets students learn at their own pace.
  • A DANTES-affiliated university and member of the Service Members Opportunity Colleges.
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  • Each year since 2004, The Princeton Review has included California University in its Best in the Northeast listing, recognizing Cal U as one of the best regional universities in the northeastern United States.
  • Ranked #35 in Best Online Graduate Education Programs by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
  • Offers private school amenities at a public school cost.
  • Grants students in its Global Online program the same diploma as graduates from Cal U’s traditional degree programs.
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