Are private investigator certifications worth it or not?
Obviously, you need training and you may need certifications in your job as an investigator, but let’s look specifically at whether any individual certificate is worth it or not.
I’ve addressed this before about online private investigator schools, but this week let’s look specifically at certifications. There are a million certifications you can get. All sorts. My concern is for the person who wants to “collect” certifications and enjoys the learning process – a lot like I enjoy the learning process!
But you need to ask if the certification you’re getting (and paying for!) is worth it for you and your career path.
I may be a little too mathematical about this, but you be the judge.
When I wonder if I should get a certain training, certain school, or certification, I have to ask: Is it worth it?
Am I going to make more money having this certification than I’m paying for it?
Am I gonna make more money than it cost me!
(Okay, the 3 questions are essentially all the same, but it’s really important to answer yourself honestly.)
If I’m paying, say, $1,200 for some certification for a loss prevention supervisor, but I don’t work in loss prevention, don’t intend to work in loss prevention, and am not going to work for an employer that requires that certification, then it may be interesting in learning those L.P. things, but it’s not worth it. I will never make the money back that I paid for that certification.
Getting Hired by Clients
But, Larry, clients will want to hire me because I’m “certified”.
If you own your own detective agency, having certifications can lend to your credibility. But…
From a sales perspective, that’s not the first (or even second!) thing a potential client looks for!
People – and clients are people even if they’re a “business” – people tend to buy from someone they know, like and trust.
First they know, like and trust you, and then they look at your credentials.
That’s when they ask, “Is this really someone who’s been there and done that, and can he really do the things he claims he can?” They look at certifications, sure, but they also look at things like previous employment, previous clients you’ve worked for, and recommendations you can give them.
The certifications can play into credibility, but that’s not the first thing potential clients care about.
The first question potential clients really have is, “Can this investigator solve my problem?”
That’s first. Number one. Not, “Is this guy certified?”
The Certification Exception
There is a major exception you need to know about with certifications.
If it’s required in your area to have a certain amount of continuing education, then a state licensing board approved certification may be worth it to you so you can keep your private investigator license valid!
Not just any training is going to do that. It has to be training that’s been authorized by the state.
Larry, Does Your Training Count for Continuing Education?
Nope. And here’s why…
I do not desire to interact with the government any more than I have to. So, I’m not jumping through the hoops to get my stuff certified.
More importantly, I don’t want people to buy my training material because it’s mandated by the government.
If the government is forcing you to buy it, that’s not a business model that I’m interested in.
I want my training to succeed or fail based on its merits. Over the years, it’s done okay. Many people buy one thing from me and then come back and buy everything from me. That’s a great feeling! When that happens, I know it’s because the training is good and not because the government’s forcing them to buy more training.
Maybe the Most Important Lesson
This will make everything easier for you when you’re trying to decide whether or not to get a certification.
Start with the end in mind.
Set goals. Know your goals and move towards your goals.
If a certification is expensive and not going to move you toward your goal, I’d say it’s a pretty solid pass.
But you can only determine that if you have and know your goal!
What about you?
If you have other ideas about how to evaluate whether a certification is worthwhile or not, please drop it in the comments.
In the meantime, remember: Do the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing.
Committed to your success and safety,
Larry Kaye, P.I.
P.S. – Want more solid info like this? Then don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…