Private Detectives and Investigators

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • Undercover Operator
  • Undercover Agent
  • Surveillance Investigator
  • Store Detective
  • Special Investigator
  • Skip Tracer
  • Skip Locator
  • Shopping Investigator
  • Security Consultant
  • Security Analyst
View All

What They Do

  • Warn troublemakers causing problems on establishment premises and eject them from premises when necessary.
  • Apprehend suspects and release them to law enforcement authorities or security personnel.
  • Monitor industrial or commercial properties to enforce conformance to establishment rules and to protect people or property.
  • Count cash and review transactions, sales checks, or register tapes to verify amounts or to identify shortages.
  • Alert appropriate personnel to suspects' locations.
  • Perform undercover operations, such as evaluating the performance or honesty of employees by posing as customers or employees.
  • Investigate companies' financial standings or locate funds stolen by embezzlers, using accounting skills.
  • Confer with establishment officials, security departments, police, or postal officials to identify problems, provide information, or receive instructions.
  • Observe and document activities of individuals to detect unlawful acts or to obtain evidence for cases, using binoculars and still or video cameras.
  • Question persons to obtain evidence for cases of divorce, child custody, or missing persons or information about individuals' character or financial status.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: EC.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Enterprising interests, but also prefer Conventional environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Achievement, but also value Independence and Recognition in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • 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.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 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.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • 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.

Education Required

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Wages

In 2017, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $44,430 with most people making between $28,080 and $69,190

Outlook

0.25%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 1,980 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 2,030 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 5 openings due to growth and about 55 replacement openings for approximately 60 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education