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Career and Education Opportunities for Private Investigators in Columbus, Ohio

If you want to be a private investigator, the Columbus, Ohio area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,270 jobs for private investigators in Ohio and this is projected to grow by 10% to 1,390 jobs 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.

Income for private investigators is about $18 hourly or $38,960 yearly on average in Ohio. Nationally, their income is about $20 per hour or $41,760 yearly. Earnings for private investigators are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Police and Security in Ohio and not quite as good as general Police and Security category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: undercover agent, house officer, and skip tracer.

There are sixty-three schools of higher education in the Columbus area, including five within twenty-five miles of Columbus where you can get a degree to start your career as a private investigator. The most common level of education for private investigators is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years studying to be 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 Columbus include:

  • Bailiff. Maintain order in courts of law.
  • Chief of Police. Supervise and coordinate activities of members of police force.
  • 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.
  • Fish and Game Warden. Patrol assigned areas to prevent fish and game law violations. Investigate reports of damage to crops or property by wildlife. Compile biological data.
  • 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.
  • 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

Central Ohio Technical College - Newark, OH

Central Ohio Technical College, 1179 University Drive, Newark, OH 43055-1767. Central Ohio Technical College is a small college located in Newark, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,584 students. Central Ohio Technical College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated eight students in 2008.

Ohio University-Lancaster Campus - Lancaster, OH

Ohio University-Lancaster Campus, 1570 Granville Pike, Lancaster, OH 43130-1037. Ohio University-Lancaster Campus is a small university located in Lancaster, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,868 students. Ohio University-Lancaster Campus has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated ten students in 2008.

Delaware Area Career Center - Delaware, OH

Delaware Area Career Center, 4565 Columbus Pike, Delaware, OH 43015-8969. Delaware Area Career Center is a small school located in Delaware, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 65 students. Delaware Area Career Center has a less than one year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools - Groveport, OH

Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools, 4300 Amalgamated Pl, Groveport, OH 43125-9236. Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools is a small school located in Groveport, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 170 students and an admission rate of 100%. Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools has a less than one year program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated thirty-two students in 2008.

Columbus State Community College - Columbus, OH

Columbus State Community College, 550 E Spring St, Columbus, OH 43215. Columbus State Community College is a large college located in Columbus, Ohio. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 24,203 students. Columbus State Community College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated twenty-five students in 2008.


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.


Private Investigator License

Licensing agency: Ohio Department of Commerce
Address: Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing, 77 S. High Street, 20th Floor, Columbus, OH 43266-0546

Phone: (614) 466-4100
Website: Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing


Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio photo by Xnatedawgx

Columbus is located in Franklin County, Ohio. It has a population of over 754,885, which has grown by 6.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Columbus, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbus cost $169,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, six hundred eighty-six new homes were constructed in Columbus, down from 1,008 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Columbus are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is accommodation and food services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 29.0% of Columbus residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbus is 8.5%, which is less than Ohio's average of 10.0%.

The percentage of Columbus residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Hebrew Baptist Church, Heritage Temple Freewill Baptist Church and Higher Ground Always Abounding Assembly Church are all churches located in Columbus. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Columbus is home to the Busch Corporate Center Industrial Park and the J C Penney Catalog Outlet Store as well as Nafzger Park and Lower Scioto Park. Shopping centers in the area include Indianola Shopping Center, Ohio Stater Mall Shopping Center and Shapter Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbus can choose from Drury Inn & Suites Convention Center, Best Western Clarmont Inn and Crowne Plaza Downtown for temporary stays in the area.