What degree should I get if I want to be a private investigator?

The field of private investigation is more complex than ever, thanks to people living much of their lives online. Private investigators are known for going undercover and finding answers on everything from fraud to infidelity. Private investigators can be hired by large companies or individuals, depending on their skills.

The best degrees for a private investigator are traditionally rooted in law. This could include a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or pre-law. For those wanting to focus on the financial sector – including financial fraud – having a bachelor’s in accounting would be an excellent choice.

If you’re wanting to focus on technology, earning a certified forensic analyst designation or certificate is the way to go. This type of degree focuses on recovering information from computer hard drives, email servers, smartphones, tablets, and other pieces of technology. This type of private investigator typically works in tandem with local law enforcement, the military, and other government agencies as well as IT companies.

Other people may wish to specialize in missing persons investigations. This type of private investigator would need an associate’s of science or bachelor’s of science in criminal justice. Obtaining a bachelor’s of science in criminal justice administration with a specialty in human services would also be a good choice. All of these degrees focus on clear communication skills and being able to access details. This specialization would require a license in addition to the student’s degree of choice, so keep that in mind as you decide what type of private investigation career you’d like to pursue.

Online learning institutions that offer a bachelor’s of science in criminal justice include Penn State World Campus, Arizona State University Online (ASU Online), St. John’s University, and Post University Online and you can see details of these fine schools by viewing our list of the Top 20 Online Schools for Bachelor’s of Criminal Justice Programs!