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Career and Education Opportunities for Private Investigators in Charleston, West Virginia

There are many career and education opportunities for private investigators in the Charleston, West Virginia area. The national trend for private investigators sees this job pool growing by about 22.0% over the next eight years. Private investigators generally detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment, or seek, examine, and compile information for client.

The average wage in the general category of Police and Security jobs is $17 per hour or $35,670 per year in West Virginia, and an average of $24 per hour or $49,958 per year nationwide. People working as private investigators can fill a number of jobs, such as: skip tracer, loss prevention investigator, and asset protection manager.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Charleston area, including one within twenty-five miles of Charleston 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. It will take about two years to learn 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 Charleston 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.
  • 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

West Virginia State Community and Technical College - Institute, WV

West Virginia State Community and Technical College, 103 Cole Complex, Institute, WV 25112-1000. West Virginia State Community and Technical College is a small college located in Institute, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 1,741 students. West Virginia State Community and Technical College has an associate's degree program in Criminal Justice/Police Science which graduated sixteen 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

Private Investigator

Licensing agency: West Virginia Secretary of State
Address: State Capitol Complex Room 157-K, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, WV 25305

Phone: (304) 558-6000
Website: West Virginia Secretary of State

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charleston, West Virginia

Charleston, West Virginia
Charleston, West Virginia photo by Malepheasant

Charleston is situated in Kanawha County, West Virginia. It has a population of over 50,302, which has shrunk by 5.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charleston, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Charleston are priced at $268,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, thirty-four new homes were constructed in Charleston, up from twenty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Charleston are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and public administration. The average travel time to work is about 16 minutes. More than 32.6% of Charleston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charleston is 7.7%, which is the same as West Virginia's average of 7.7%. About 16.7% of Charleston's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Charleston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 34.5%, is less than both the national and state average. Starcher Baptist Church, Southeast Church of the Nazarene and South Ruffner Presbyterian Church are among the churches located in Charleston. The largest religious groups are the American Baptist Churches in the USA, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Charleston is home to the John F Kennedy Center and the Kanawha County Courthouse as well as Watt Powell Stadium and Ruffner Memorial Park. Shopping centers in the area include Patrick Street Plaza Shopping Center, Laidley Court Shopping Center and Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Charleston can choose from Days Inn Charleston East WV, Motel 6 and Fairfield Inn Charleston for temporary stays in the area.