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Career and Education Opportunities for Private Investigators in San Francisco, California

Private investigator career and educational opportunities abound in San Francisco, California. Currently, 5,700 people work as private investigators in California. This is expected to grow 14% to about 6,500 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for private investigators are expected to grow by about 22.0%. Private investigators generally detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.

The income of a private investigator is about $26 per hour or $55,810 annually on average in California. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $20 per hour or $41,760 per year on average. Incomes for private investigators are not quite as good as in the overall category of Police and Security in California, and not quite as good as the overall Police and Security category nationally. Private investigators work in a variety of jobs, including: security manager, loss prevention agent, and detective.

The San Francisco area is home to eighty-six schools of higher education, including eleven within twenty-five miles of San Francisco where you can get a degree as a private investigator. Given that the most common education level for private investigators is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years training to become a private investigator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Private Investigator

Private Investigator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, private investigators detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.

Private investigators write reports and case summaries to document investigations. They also perform background investigations of individuals. Equally important, private investigators have to perform private investigations on a paid basis. They are often called upon to search computer databases, credit reports, public records, tax and legal filings, and other resources in order to compile data for investigations. They are expected to testify at hearings and court trials to present evidence. Finally, private investigators obtain and analyze data on suspects and disturbances so as to solve cases, to pinpoint criminal activity, and to gather data for court cases.

Every day, private investigators are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for private investigators to observe and document efforts of individuals in order to uncover unlawful acts or to obtain evidence for cases, using binoculars and still or video cameras. They are often called upon to expose fraudulent insurance claims or stolen funds. They also perform undercover operations such as evaluating the performance and honesty of employees by posing as customers or employees. They are sometimes expected to alert appropriate staff to suspects' locations. Somewhat less frequently, private investigators are also expected to question persons to obtain evidence for cases of divorce or missing persons, or data related to individuals' character or financial status.

They also have to be able to investigate companies' financial standings or locate funds stolen by embezzlers, using accounting skills And finally, they sometimes have to track industrial or commercial properties to enforce conformance to establishment rules, and to safeguard people or property.

Like many other jobs, private investigators must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Francisco include:

  • Bailiff. Maintain order in courts of law.
  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • Correctional Officer. Guard inmates in penal or rehabilitative institution in accordance with established regulations and procedures. May guard prisoners in transit between jail, courtroom, or other point. Includes deputy sheriffs and police who spend the majority of their time guarding prisoners in correctional institutions.
  • Criminal Investigator. Investigate alleged or suspected criminal violations of Federal, state, or local laws to determine if evidence is sufficient to recommend prosecution.
  • Customs Inspector. Investigate and inspect persons, common carriers, and merchandise, arriving in or departing from the United States or between states to detect violations of immigration and customs laws and regulations.
  • Fire Code Inspector. Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.
  • Fire Inspector. Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
  • Police Officer. Conduct investigations to prevent crimes or solve criminal cases.
  • Police Records Officer. Collect evidence at crime scenes, classify and identify fingerprints, and photograph evidence for use in criminal and civil cases.
  • Policeman. Patrol assigned areas to enforce laws and ordinances, regulate traffic, and arrest violators.
  • Security Guard. Guard, patrol, or monitor premises to prevent theft, violence, or infractions of rules.
  • Sheriff. Enforce law and order in rural or unincorporated districts or serve legal processes of courts. May patrol courthouse, guard court or grand jury, or escort defendants.
  • Transportation Security Officer. Inspect baggage or cargo and screen passengers to detect and prevent potentially dangerous objects from being transported into secure areas or onto aircraft.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Private Investigator Training

Las Positas College - Livermore, CA

Las Positas College, 3033 Collier Cyn Rd, Livermore, CA 94551-7650. Las Positas College is a medium sized college located in Livermore, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,098 students. Las Positas College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated eight students in 2008.

Diablo Valley College - Pleasant Hill, CA

Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Rd, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. Diablo Valley College is a large college located in Pleasant Hill, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 19,768 students. Diablo Valley College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-three, seven, and five students respectively in 2008.

Los Medanos College - Pittsburg, CA

Los Medanos College, 2700 East Leland Road, Pittsburg, CA 94565. Los Medanos College is a medium sized college located in Pittsburg, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,360 students. Los Medanos College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated eighty-nine, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

College of San Mateo - San Mateo, CA

College of San Mateo, 1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, San Mateo, CA 94402-3784. College of San Mateo is a large college located in San Mateo, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,215 students. College of San Mateo has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated fifty-three, seventeen, and zero students respectively in 2008.

College of Marin - Kentfield, CA

College of Marin, 835 College Ave, Kentfield, CA 94904-2590. College of Marin is a medium sized college located in Kentfield, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,577 students. College of Marin has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated one and three students respectively in 2008.

Chabot College - Hayward, CA

Chabot College, 25555 Hesperian Blvd, Hayward, CA 94545. Chabot College is a large college located in Hayward, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,299 students. Chabot College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated sixteen students in 2008.

Merritt College - Oakland, CA

Merritt College, 12500 Campus Dr, Oakland, CA 94619-3196. Merritt College is a medium sized college located in Oakland, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,025 students. Merritt College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated five, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Skyline College - San Bruno, CA

Skyline College, 3300 College Dr, San Bruno, CA 94066-1698. Skyline College is a medium sized college located in San Bruno, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,515 students. Skyline College has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated eight, seventeen, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Contra Costa College - San Pablo, CA

Contra Costa College, 2600 Mission Bell Dr, San Pablo, CA 94806-3195. Contra Costa College is a medium sized college located in San Pablo, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,147 students. Contra Costa College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated eight, zero, zero, and zero students respectively in 2008.

City College of San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

City College of San Francisco, 50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112-1898. City College of San Francisco is a large college located in San Francisco, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 49,897 students. City College of San Francisco has less than one year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated nine, seventeen, and one students respectively in 2008.

Martinez Adult Education - Martinez, CA

Martinez Adult Education, 600 F St, Martinez, CA 94553-3298. Martinez Adult Education is a small school located in Martinez, California. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 565 students. Martinez Adult Education has a less than one year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Fraud Examiner: The ACFE established and administers the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation.

For more information, see the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners website.

Certified Confidentiality Officer: Professional certification validates your training and experience in your present career.

For more information, see the Business Espionage Controls and Countermeasures Association website.

Computer Forensics: The primary goals we have for our certification programs are to both assist law enforcement and organizations requiring highly skilled investigators in the identification of highly skilled individuals, and to promote the training and education efforts within the computer investigation, computer forensic and computer security industries.

For more information, see the Cyber Enforcement Resources Incorporated website.

Certified Protection Officer: The CPO program is designed for protection professionals intent on.

For more information, see the International Foundation for Protection Officers website.

Certified Legal Investigator: The National Association of Legal Investigators, Inc.

For more information, see the National Association of Legal Investigators website.

LICENSES

Exposed Firearm Permit

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, Licensing, 401 S Street, Suite 101, Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 322-4000
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Security and Investigative Services Licensing

Private Investigator

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Bureau of Security and Investigative Services, Licensing, 401 S Street, Suite 101, Sacramento, CA 95814

Phone: (916) 322-4000
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Bureau of Security and Investigative Services Licensing

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California photo by Optigan13

San Francisco is located in San Francisco County, California. It has a population of over 808,976, which has grown by 4.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Francisco, 180, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Francisco cost $218,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in San Francisco, up from fifty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Francisco are professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 45.0% of San Francisco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of San Francisco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Gold Mountain Monastery, Golden Gate Community Church of the Nazarene and Golden Gate Lutheran Church are among the churches located in San Francisco. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the United Methodist Church.

San Francisco is home to the Pier 88 and the Prayer Book Cross as well as Helen Wills Playground and Music Concourse. Shopping malls in the area include Yerba Buena Square Shopping Center, Fox Plaza Shopping Center and Galleria At Crocker Center Shopping Center. Visitors to San Francisco can choose from Astoria Hotel, A-1 Inn Motel and Best Western Canterbury Hotel for temporary stays in the area.