Careers Service

Private Investigation and Security

Private investigators are hired for a variety of personal, business or legal reasons. Their work includes tracing missing people, conducting credit checks, vetting potential employees, and investigating insurance claims.

Clients include banks, insurance companies, and central and local government, as well as a large number of private individuals.

A degree is not necessary to enter this field, but relevant undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in subjects such as forensic and investigative studies, are becoming more important, and some roles will require specialist experience and qualifications.

Private security work offers roles protecting people and property as close protection officers, store detectives and security officers. Entry to this sector does not require a degree, but all security officers must undertake formal training and qualifications, usually provided by employers, to obtain the required license from the Security Industry Authority (SIA).


Follow the links below for profiles of common occupations in this sector:

Private investigators

Association of British Investigators (ABI) - leading professional body in the UK, working with investigators to promote members and the profession. The site includes directories of private detectives and investigators in the UK, USA and overseas.

Association of British Investigators (ABI)

Institute of Professional Investigators (IPI) - now the largest institute of its kind in the world, the IPI offers an online training course for those interested in becoming a private investigator.

Institute of Professional Investigators (IPI)

United Kingdom Professional Investigators Network - a highly organised network of professional private investigators, private detectives, enquiry agents, process servers and specialist investigative experts located throughout the UK and Ireland. The site includes information on training to become an investigator and a directory of members by region.

United Kingdom Professional Investigators Network

Private security & bodyguards

Association of Security Consultants (ASC) - the professional organisation for independent security consultants. The site includes a members directory and links to security companies.

Association of Security Consultants (ASC)

British Security Industry Association (BSIA) - represents UK security companies with links to member companies, organised by sector and also industry news.

British Security Industry Association (BSIA)

Security Industry Authority (SIA) - exists to manage the licensing of the private security industry and also to raise standards of professionalism and skills within the private security industry and to promote and spread best practice. The site includes a careers section with a pdf document on careers in the security industry.

Security Industry Authority (SIA)

Skills for Security - is the sector skills body working with employers and other stakeholders to deliver a range of educational and related services, improve skills, raise professionalism and help to provide a workforce that is highly trained and fit for purpose, helping to improve business performance across the entire sector.

Skills for Security

The Security Institute (TSI) - independent body set up in 1999 by a group of working security practitioners to promote a proper understanding of security and professionalism.

The Security Institute (TSI)

Professional Bodyguard Association (PBA) - one of the largest employers and trainers of bodyguards in the world. Although many people working in this field have a forces background, the site specifies that civilians with no previous experience are welcome to apply.

Professional Bodyguard Association (PBA)