Program Goal and Outcomes
Program Goal: To prepare students to gain entry-level employment in an investigative agency as a private investigator.
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:
- Recognize the career opportunities that exist for private investigators, including how to become a licensed investigator and set up, manage, and market a private investigation business
- Explain different types of laws and the steps of the legal system, including Constitutional amendments, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and court-related issues for private investigators
- Describe the elements of effective communication and its role in private investigation practice, including various methods of reporting investigative findings to clients
- Recognize available information sources, including using the computer, and explain how to access various records and information sources that can assist in an investigation
- Identify various methods and sources used to locate people and conduct various types of background investigations for clients
- Explain how observations, descriptions, and surveillance are used in investigations, and develop a systematic method for applying concepts that make an investigation successful
- Name equipment used by private investigators, including operational, surveillance, evidence collection, and safety equipment
- Recognize the proper methods for obtaining, recording, preserving, and analyzing evidence; explain the role of expert witnesses
- List the steps taken to conduct an undercover investigation, and describe techniques used in undercover work
- Explain methods of competitive intelligence collection and corporate espionage, and describe counterintelligence measures
- Describe the relationship between homeland security and the private investigator
- Identify procedures and techniques of conducting interviews and interrogations, including legal considerations, fingerprinting, document examination, and polygraph testing
- Recognize the development of firearms, and describe safety practices and legal issues concerning firearms
- Recognize the skills and techniques necessary to providing protection services, such as executive and bodyguard protection
- Describe how retail security can help businesses curb various types of theft and fraud
Instruction Set 1
Starting Your Program
Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program. Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages; access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers; and connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.
Investigation as a Career
Various job opportunities in private investigating; how to collect and use information; how to perform private investigations; the difference between the real world of private investigations and the fictional version described by writers and moviemakers; basic knowledge of related fields you might need to call on as an investigator; personal characteristics of a private investigator.
Instruction Set 2
Legal Principles and Requirements
The principles of law related to private investigators; the basic legal system; Supreme Court cases and constitutional amendments related to private investigation; local, state, and federal laws that affect the work of a private investigator.
Communication Skills and Investigation
The importance of communication skills in private investigation; verbal and nonverbal communication; developing good communication skills; how having good communication skills helps the investigator gather information.
Investigation Business Basics
Running an investigation business; administrative procedures; record keeping; billing; writing reports; business forms; supplies; equipment.
Instruction Set 3
Sources of Information
Classifications of investigative information resources; role of the Internet in private investigation; differences between public and private records; computerized databases; field investigation.
The Computer and the Investigator
The role of the computer in investigation; personal computer technology; using online computer databases; field investigation.
Basics of report writing; how to report to clients; appropriate use of intermediate reports and final reports; how to prepare a report; when to verbally advise a client.
Instruction Set 4
Locating People and Performing Background Investigations
Shows the difference between routine and specific locates; power of the Uniform Commercial Code; methods of approaching clients; accessing public records, motor vehicle reports, and credit reports; employment verification; presenting gathered information to your clients.
Observation and Description
How the terms of observation and description are related to investigations; systematic approach to observing persons, objects, events, and places; systematic approach to asking others for their observations and descriptions in interviews; building a rapport with a witness; observing and interpreting body language.
How to plan, prepare, and conduct a surveillance; when to use foot and vehicular surveillance; how to detect and defend against counter-surveillance; the use of photographic equipment for surveillance; the techniques of covert photography; appropriate indoor and outdoor observation posts; recording in the surveillance log.
Instruction Set 5
The equipment used by private investigators, including operational equipment, surveillance equipment, evidence collection equipment, and safety equipment.
Obtaining, recording, preserving, and analyzing evidence; processing an arson crime scene; getting evidence admitted into court; obtaining dental records and identifying what records are important.
Court-Related Issues for Private Investigation
Working with the court system; the operation and procedures of both civil and criminal trials; preparing to be a witness and providing testimony.
Instruction Set 6
Sub Rosa and Undercover Investigations
The types of undercover investigators and the different kinds of undercover investigations; steps in conducting an undercover investigation; the personal characteristics of successful undercover investigators; the high stakes of drug investigations.
Competitive Intelligence and Corporate Espionage
Methods used to collect competitive intelligence; methods used to commit corporate espionage; counterintelligence measures; ethical issues associated with corporate intelligence gathering; how to implement counterintelligence measures for corporate clients.
the historical and current developments in homeland security; the relationship of homeland security to private security; and private investigation; sources of valuable training material; business emergency recovery teams.
Instruction Set 7
Interviewing and Truth-Verification Techniques
Procedures and techniques of conducting interviews and interrogations; types of interviews; what's involved in planning the interview; process of conducting the interview; interrogation techniques and legal issues; the polygraph examination.
Fingerprinting and Handwriting Analysis
History of fingerprinting and handwriting analysis; fingerprint technology; biometrics; classification systems used to categorize fingerprints; fingerprinting equipment; techniques for developing latent prints; formal and informal handwriting samples collection; interpreting the findings of the expert.
Firearms and Other Weapons
The history and development of firearms, safe handling practices; moral, ethical, legal, and financial issues; major types of firearms; special licenses.
Instruction Set 8
Differences between body guarding and executive protection; adequate budget and authority for executive protection; risks of protecting a person; protection techniques; relationship between a bodyguard and a principal.
Retail Security and Loss Prevention
Different types of shoplifters; how a business can protects itself from shoplifting; how vendors and delivery persons steal from their customers; how employees steal from their companies; how a business can avoid credit card fraud; check fraud; computer theft.
Marketing Yourself as a Private Investigator
Making good marketing decisions for yourself and your business; maintaining confidentiality; writing a cover letter and a résumé; professional appearance and demeanor; how to become licensed as an investigator*; private investigator certification.
(Sent to you when all program requirements and financial obligations have been met.)
• ION Inc. Mentorship
Work Experience Option (Not required for graduation.)