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How Do I Become a Background Investigator?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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The requirements you will have to meet to become a background investigator may depend on the jurisdiction in which you live. In some places, earning a college degree will help you along your way to this career, even if such education is not mandatory. In most places, you will need good written communication skills and training in investigation techniques to pursue this career. Additionally, many jurisdictions require background investigators to seek licensing.

Though specific education isn't always required, it may prove helpful when you want to become a background investigator. For example, earning a degree in a subject related to law, justice, or political science is often recommended — such majors may provide you with valuable insight into legal processes. Degrees in other areas may prove beneficial for this career as well. For example, a business degree may prove particularly helpful if you are hoping to become an independent background investigator instead of working as an employee. In such a case, you'll need to know how to run a successful business in addition to performing investigation work.

No matter what educational path you choose to pursue as you work to become a background investigator, you will likely benefit from taking courses that help you improve your writing skills. This is due to the fact that you will usually deliver the results of your investigations in written form and your clients or employers will expect your reports to be clear and understandable. As such, courses, or even independent study options, that help you improve your written communication skills may increase your chances for success in this career.

Training is also important when you want to become a background investigator. You could choose to seek detective school training in investigation techniques and practices, for instance. You may even find opportunities to learn from experienced background investigators. For example, an established investigator may hire you to assist him, giving you the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of this job firsthand.

Depending on the jurisdiction in which you are located, you may also need a license to become a background investigator. The requirements for licensing vary, but often include being of legal adult age and free of a felony criminal record. Some jurisdictions may also require you to have work experience before you can receive a license. For example, you may need experience in a criminal justice job or have an investigation-related work history.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
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Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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