Online Private Investigator Courses at Accredited Schools

Penn Foster Career School, the school below with the highest overall ranking, is effective at equipping students via its private investigator courses to be successful private investigators, crime scene investigators, investigators, personal investigators, etc. and connect them to future employers. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, at present there are 31,250 people employed as private detectives and investigators alone in the US, and their average annual salary is $47,130. Detectives and criminal investigators make on average $65,860 per year and there are about 110,380 of them employed today.

Private Investigator Organizations Private Investigator Common Job Tasks
  • conducting various types of surveillance or searches
  • locating witnesses
  • carrying out covert observations
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Ranked by Excellence

Private Investigator Courses at Penn Foster Career School

Program Name: Private Investigator
Instruction Set 1

Learning Strategies The advantages of learning at home; types of study materials; types of examinations; accessing and using the features of our web site; determining what kind of learner you are; establishing a study schedule; using study tips; preparing for and taking examinations. Investigation as a Career Various job opportunities in private investigating; how to collect and use information; how to perform private investigations; the difference between the real world of private investigations and the fictional version described by writers and moviemakers; basic knowledge of related fields you might need to call on as an investigator; personal characteristics of a private investigator.


Instruction Set 2

Legal Principles and Requirements The principles of law related to private investigators; the basic legal system; Supreme Court cases and constitutional amendments related to private investigation; local, state, and federal laws that affect the work of a private investigator. Communication Skills and Investigation The importance of communication skills in private investigation; verbal and nonverbal communication; developing good communication skills; how having good communication skills helps the investigator gather information. Investigation Business Basics Running an investigation business; administrative procedures; record keeping; billing; writing reports; business forms; supplies; equipment.


Instruction Set 3

Sources of Information Classifications of investigative information resources; role of the Internet in private investigation; differences between public and private records; computerized databases; field investigation. The Computer and the Investigator The role of the computer in investigation; personal computer technology; using online computer databases; field investigation. Reporting Basics of report writing; how to report to clients; appropriate use of intermediate reports and final reports; how to prepare a report; when to verbally advise a client.


Instruction Set 4

Locating People and Performing Background Investigations Shows the difference between routine and specific locates; power of the Uniform Commercial Code; methods of approaching clients; accessing public records, motor vehicle reports, and credit reports; employment verification; presenting gathered information to your clients. Observation and Description How the terms of observation and description are related to investigations; systematic approach to observing persons, objects, events, and places; systematic approach to asking others for their observations and descriptions in interviews; building a rapport with a witness; observing and interpreting body language. Surveillance How to plan, prepare, and conduct a surveillance; when to use foot and vehicular surveillance; how to detect and defend against counter-surveillance; the use of photographic equipment for surveillance; the techniques of covert photography; appropriate indoor and outdoor observation posts; recording in the surveillance log.


Instruction Set 5

Equipment Usage The equipment used by private investigators, including operational equipment, surveillance equipment, evidence collection equipment, and safety equipment. Evidence Obtaining, recording, preserving, and analyzing evidence; processing an arson crime scene; getting evidence admitted into court; obtaining dental records and identifying what records are important. Court-Related Issues for Private Investigation Working with the court system; the operation and procedures of both civil and criminal trials; preparing to be a witness and providing testimony.


Instruction Set 6

Sub Rosa and Undercover Investigations The types of undercover investigators and the different kinds of undercover investigations; steps in conducting an undercover investigation; the personal characteristics of successful undercover investigators; the high stakes of drug investigations. Competitive Intelligence and Corporate Espionage Methods used to collect competitive intelligence; methods used to commit corporate espionage; counterintelligence measures; ethical issues associated with corporate intelligence gathering; how to implement counterintelligence measures for corporate clients. Homeland Security the historical and current developments in homeland security; the relationship of homeland security to private security; and private investigation; sources of valuable training material; business emergency recovery teams.


Instruction Set 7

Interviewing and Truth-Verification Techniques Procedures and techniques of conducting interviews and interrogations; types of interviews; what's involved in planning the interview; process of conducting the interview; interrogation techniques and legal issues; the polygraph examination. Fingerprinting and Handwriting Analysis History of fingerprinting and handwriting analysis; fingerprint technology; biometrics; classification systems used to categorize fingerprints; fingerprinting equipment; techniques for developing latent prints; formal and informal handwriting samples collection; interpreting the findings of the expert. Firearms and Other Weapons The history and development of firearms, safe handling practices; moral, ethical, legal, and financial issues; major types of firearms; special licenses.


Instruction Set 8

Executive Protection Differences between body guarding and executive protection; adequate budget and authority for executive protection; risks of protecting a person; protection techniques; relationship between a bodyguard and a principal. Retail Security and Loss Prevention Different types of shoplifters; how a business can protects itself from shoplifting; how vendors and delivery persons steal from their customers; how employees steal from their companies; how a business can avoid credit card fraud; check fraud; computer theft. Marketing Yourself as a Private Investigator Making good marketing decisions for yourself and your business; maintaining confidentiality; writing a cover letter and a résumé; professional appearance and demeanor; how to become licensed as an investigator*; private investigator certification.


Graduation Set

• ION Inc. Mentorship Work Experience Option (Not required for graduation.)


Program description: As a Private Investigator, you’ll have an exciting and challenging career. Private Investigators conduct investigations involving missing persons, corporate intelligence, or other fascinating areas. Enjoy the special satisfaction that comes with working as a Private Investigator on an important case. Train quickly and conveniently!

You will learn about:

Investigation and reporting techniques
Sources of information and background investigations
Surveillance equipment and techniques
Ethics and professional responsibility for private investigators
And you’ll learn it all at home — no classroom needed! You’ll get valuable information about the private investigator’s role in civil and criminal litigation, corporate intelligence gathering and espionage, and professional development and employment.

Private Investigator Courses at Ashworth College

Program Name: Private Investigation Online
History of Investigation
Course Number Lesson 1

Local, state, and federal investigators; what private investigators do; the detective mystique; licensing issues; the third degree; scientific methods and the research revolution in investigating.


The Investigation Process
Course Number Lesson 2

An overview of investigating; qualities and skills you'll need; types of investigations; patterns, leads, tips, and theories; verifying the crime report; the role of ethics; basic techniques.


Types of Investigations
Course Number Lesson 3

Personal injury; insurance fraud; product liability; missing persons; medical malpractice; corporate espionage; background checks; marital cases; wrongful death.


Crime & Security in the U.S
Course Number Lesson 4

Crime defined; public and private crime and protection; private security vs. public law enforcement.


The Crime Scene
Course Number Lesson 5

Protecting, photographing, recording, and reconstructing the crime scene; the command post; preserving and processing evidence; the chain of custody; marking and packaging evidence; the death investigation.


Interviewing & Interrogating
Course Number Lesson 6

Types of interviews; suspects; victims; informants; door-to-door canvassing; interviewing children and sexual abuse victims; special interrogation aids; the Miranda Ruling; tactics to obtain confessions; recording the interview; written statements


Sources of Information
Course Number Lesson 7

Cultivating sources; the paper trail; law enforcement, government, and private record sources; books and directories; computerized information brokers; psychics; psycholinguistic analysis; criminal profiling.


Surveillance & Undercover Investigations
Course Number Lesson 8

Preparing for surveillance; going undercover; types of undercover investigations; tactical strategies; stationary and moving surveillance; if the tail is "made"; avoiding common mistakes; recording and debriefing the surveillance; legalities.


Case Management & Report Writing
Course Number Lesson 9

History of evidence law; the criminal law process; the civil law process; discovery; the trial; the jury; circumstantial, prima facie, and direct evidence; forms and rules of evidence; the hearsay rule; using expert witnesses; privileged communications; presenting testimony in court.



Criminalistics & Technology
Course Number Lesson 11

Fingerprinting, photography, blood analysis, ballistics, DNA profiling, and other criminalistics techniques; the modern crime lab; using automated information systems; electronic surveillance devices; videotaping.


Retail Security & Loss Prevention
Course Number Lesson 12

The store detective; the store camera system; fraudulent credit cards; bad checks; employee theft; audits; shoplifting methods; apprehending shoplifters; price switching and altering; taking a statement.


Domestic & Child Custody Cases
Course Number Lesson 13

The preliminary interview; working on contract or retainer; working with domestic relations lawyers; investigating and surveilling subjects; what constitutes adultery; the unfit parent; locating hidden assets; handling evidence; client protection; documentation


Insurance Investigations
Course Number Lesson 14

Investigating property/casualty, workers' compensation, liability, disability, life/health, personal injury, and accidental death claims; how to spot fraud; surveillance and the activity check; the pretext; note-taking; testifying in court.


Executive Protection
Course Number Lesson 15

Celebrity and corporate clients; the command post; advance work; the travel route survey; airport and hotel security; lowering the profile; motorcades; the "arm's reach" principle; interviewing unwanted visitors; portable protection; etiquette, and protocol; using force.


Firearm Use & Safety
Course Number Lesson 16

Defensive shooting; the last restraint; owning, handling, and maintaining guns safely; tactical handgun operation; low-light shooting; ammunition, sights; carrying a concealed handgun.


Specialized Investigations
Course Number Lesson 17

Arson, product liability, missing person, medical malpractice, probate, and criminal defense investigations; locating heirs; security counter-measures; pre-employment checks; bounty hunting; repossession; process serving.


Program description: For a private investigator, no two days are alike as you
help to solve mysteries and bring criminals to justice.
Learn the inside secrets of how to conduct electronic
surveillance, interview witnesses, reconstruct crime scenes,
serve subpoenas, gather photographic evidence, interface
with the police and much more.

Private Investigator Courses by State & City

Top 20 US Private Investigator Schools (campus and online)

University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Total Programs 243
Number of Subjects 168
Rank in USA 26th
George Washington University
Total Programs 194
Number of Subjects 171
Rank in USA 52nd
Northeastern University
Total Programs 10
Number of Subjects 126
Rank in USA 56th
Washington State University
Total Programs 2
Number of Subjects 93
Rank in USA 131st
Seattle University
Total Programs 106
Number of Subjects 118
Rank in USA 169th
Texas State University-San Marcos
Total Programs 164
Number of Subjects 152
Rank in USA 204th
Harding University
Total Programs 105
Number of Subjects 105
Rank in USA 224th
Rowan University
Total Programs 84
Number of Subjects 92
Rank in USA 226th
Oklahoma City University
Total Programs 102
Number of Subjects 97
Rank in USA 310th
Midway College
Total Programs 35
Number of Subjects 46
Rank in USA 327th
Saint Xavier University
Total Programs 123
Number of Subjects 105
Rank in USA 348th
Hardin-Simmons University
Total Programs 108
Number of Subjects 100
Rank in USA 390th
Bay Path College
Total Programs 27
Number of Subjects 48
Rank in USA 393rd
Suffolk University
Total Programs 139
Number of Subjects 118
Rank in USA 410th
Cedar Crest College
Total Programs 94
Number of Subjects 86
Rank in USA 414th
Florida Gulf Coast University
Total Programs 77
Number of Subjects 106
Rank in USA 417th
Muskingum College
Total Programs 92
Number of Subjects 84
Rank in USA 429th
University of New Haven
Total Programs 118
Number of Subjects 106
Rank in USA 438th
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Total Programs 145
Number of Subjects 128
Rank in USA 441st
Stephen F Austin State University
Total Programs 114
Number of Subjects 117
Rank in USA 457th