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Private Investigator

VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred Police Check Minimum Age 18+ Licence

Also known as Inquiry Agent, Private Detective and Private Eye.

Private investigators conduct investigations for clients and prepare evidence for court proceedings.

They are often involved with matters of insurance, missing persons and character enquiries.

They may hold licences or perform the duties of a process server or private bailiff.

Private investigators work indoors in offices and outdoors conducting surveillance.

They may need to travel locally or interstate and often work outside of office hours.


    Private investigators may perform the following tasks:

  • conduct surveillance and maintain records
  • seek missing persons and locate witnesses
  • take videos or photographs for use as evidence
  • work undercover in organisations to gather specific information
  • gather information for use in legal proceedings
  • conduct asset and liability checks
  • investigate the theft of private or commercial property
  • provide advice about corporate and personal security
  • investigate insurance or worker's compensation claims
  • prepare reports of investigations
  • take statements from witnesses


  • good communication skills
  • good observation skills
  • able to work independently or as part of a team
  • able to accept responsibility
  • of sound character, with no criminal or other convictions that would prevent you from getting a private investigators licence
Very Good Outlook
Very Good Outlook for this career!

Interest Area

Clerical/Administrative Influencing/Personal Contact Outdoor Technical/Engineering


VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Traineeship Year 10 Preferred Police Check Minimum Age 28+ Licence

To become a private investigator you usually have to complete a VOC qualification in investigative services. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

You can also become a private investigator through a traineeship in Investigative Services.

Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

In order to begin work in NSW, you will need to apply for an Operator Licence from the Security Licensing and Enforcement Directorate of the NSW Police Force. The Operator Licence is probationary, and you will be required to work under the supervision of a fully licensed operator or master licence holder for one year. You will be required to provide a Criminal History Check and be at least 18 years old to apply for a licence.

Additional Information

    People engaged in security work must be appropriately licensed. For more information, refer to the separate entry for Security Officer.

    A drivers licence is usually required.


Most private investigators are self-employed or work in a small team with other agents.

Many private investigators enter the occupation after working in the police or defence forces and work in private agencies and commercial and industrial organisations.

Work is mainly generated by the investigation of suspected insurance fraud and location of missing persons.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Private Investigator Australian Institute of Professional Investigators Institute of Mercantile Agents NSW Police Force

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