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

Also known as: Private Inquiry Agent.

You usually need a certificate III or IV in investigative services to work as a Private Investigator. Courses may be available as a Traineeship.

Tasks

  • Investigates shoplifting, theft, dishonesty or other undesirable conduct.
  • Makes inquiries concerning property and seeks, obtains or supplies information pertaining to the personal character, financial position, occupation or whereabouts of any person.

All Security Officers and Guards

  • $1,318 Weekly Pay
  • Strong Future Growth
  • Average unemployment Unemployment

Private Investigators

  • 700 workers Employment Size
  • Lower skill Skill level rating
  • 59% Full-Time Full-Time Share
  • 46 hours Average full-time
  • 49 years Average age
  • 28% female Gender Share

The number of people working as Private Investigators (in their main job) stayed about the same over 5 years:
from 730 in 2011 to 700 in 2016.

  • Size: This is a very small occupation.
  • Location: Private Investigators work in many parts of Australia. New South Wales has a large share of workers.
  • Industries: Most work in Public Administration and Safety; Financial and Insurance Services; and Administrative and Support Services.
  • Full-time: More than half work full-time (59%, similar to the average of 66%), but there are many opportunities to work part-time.
  • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 46 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
  • Age: The average age is 49 years (compared to the average of 40 years). Many workers are 45 years or older (65%).
  • Gender: 28% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Weekly Earnings

Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

Main Industries

Main Employing Industries (% Share)

Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Public Administration and Safety73.4
Financial and Insurance Services16.9
Administrative and Support Services4.5
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services3.7
Other Industries1.5

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StatePrivate InvestigatorsAll Jobs Average
NSW39.531.6
VIC29.925.6
QLD10.720.0
SA5.27.0
WA9.610.8
TAS2.72.0
NT0.71.0
ACT1.61.9

Age Profile

Age Profile (% Share)

Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketPrivate InvestigatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-190.0-5.05.0
20-241.0-9.39.3
25-3411.4-22.922.9
35-4422.8-22.022.0
45-5430.5-21.621.6
55-5910.7-9.09.0
60-6412.3-6.06.0
65 and Over11.4-4.24.2

Education Level

Highest Level of Education (% Share)

Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationPrivate InvestigatorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate7.6-10.110.1
Bachelor degree14.1-21.821.8
Advanced Diploma/Diploma20.4-11.611.6
Certificate III/IV32.5-21.121.1
Year 1213.2-18.118.1
Year 113.5-4.84.8
Year 10 and below8.8-12.512.5

You usually need a certificate III or IV in investigative services to work as a Private Investigator. Courses may be available as a Traineeship.

Registration with the relevant state or territory board may be needed to work as a Private Investigator.

Checks, licences and tickets

You may need:

  • investigator licence
  • driver's licence
  • national police check

Thinking about study or training?

Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

  • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
  • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
  • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
  • You might be interested in Property Services and Public Sector VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

Useful links and resources


The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

Employers look for Security Officers and Guards who can connect with others, are trustworthy, responsible and reliable.

Filter Skills & Knowledge

Knowledge

These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

  1. Customer and Personal Service

    68% Skill level

    Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  2. English Language

    65% Skill level

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  3. Clerical

    64% Skill level

    Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

  4. Law and Government

    60% Skill level

    How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.

  5. Computers and Electronics

    58% Skill level

    Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 33-9021.00 - Private Detectives and Investigators.

Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Filter Work Environment

Demands

The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

  1. Telephone

    99% Important

    How often do you talk on the telephone?

  2. Electronic Mail

    96% Important

    How often do you use electronic mail?

  3. Being Exact or Accurate

    95% Important

    How important is being very exact or highly accurate?

  4. Freedom to Make Decisions

    92% Important

    How much freedom do you have to make decision on your own?

  5. Structured versus Unstructured Work

    88% Important

    How much freedom do you have to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals?

Occupational Information Network
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 33-9021.00 - Private Detectives and Investigators.

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