Trades & Services

Private Investigator

Private investigators work confidentially on behalf of clients to investigate and gather information and evidence.

  • Entry-level education

    VET qualification

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Private Investigator do?

Private investigators work confidentially on behalf of clients to investigate and gather information and evidence in areas such as insurance fraud or missing persons.


Work activities

As a private investigator, you would:

  • conduct surveillance
  • take photographs or videos as evidence
  • follow leads to find missing people
  • search public or court records to uncover clues
  • conduct financial and background checks
  • verify employment and income details
  • locate and interview witnesses to find evidence
  • work on behalf of individuals, lawyers, and businesses
  • gather information required for legal proceedings.

Key skills and interests

To become a private investigator, you would need:

  • excellent observational skills
  • an unobtrusive nature
  • good communication skills
  • confidence for court appearances
  • a thorough knowledge of legal issues
  • strong computer research skills
  • the ability to keep information confidential.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

As a private investigator you would work irregular, and perhaps long, hours depending on what information you are trying to obtain.


Many private investigators are self-employed. You would work in an office or from home but spend a lot of time travelling to gather information. If you are undertaking surveillance, you might spend lengthy periods of time sitting, waiting and observing.


How to become an Private Investigator?

Entry Level Education

To become a private investigator you usually have to complete a VET qualification in investigative services.

You may also become a private investigator through a traineeship in Investigative Services. Generally, employers would require a junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.

Most States require you to have a licence to operate as a private investigator. In order to obtain this licence, you would need to be at least 18 years of age and provide a Criminal History Check.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of private investigators is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Demand for private investigators will continue to grow as a result of security concerns, the need to protect confidential information, and the ability of individuals to pay for private investigations. Strong competition can be expected for jobs.


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