Schools and Universities
It's possible to find criminal justice programs that fit your goals and schedule, no matter how far along you are in your educational goals. Online universities offer training courses in private investigation, and even traditional universities have added online courses and diploma programs for the distance learner. For those who must work a day job, the online format is fantastic for the student is able to view lectures and study when his schedule allows. Accredited online programs may be flexible, but they aren't easy. The workload can be heavy and it takes a great deal of self-discipline to complete an online course. The payoff is in the end; alumni report that they've been adequately prepared to enter their field.
There are many ways to get an educational foundation in private investigation. If you decide to pursue a formal education in private investigation, make sure the school you choose is an accredited institution.
Find the online school that's right for you. Look into some of the many sites which point to accredited schools, particularly those offering criminal justice and related programs. The following are popular, informative sites:
Many online programs offer a full menu from which to choose. Some schools allow work experience to be transferred into credits that count toward degree programs. Be careful of this practice, however, as accredited institutions allow very few credits to be applied in this way, and unscrupulous schools have used it as a means of “selling” worthless diplomas.
Whether you have a criminal justice degree or law enforcement (LE) experience, remember that PI and LE investigators operate very differently. LE investigators have information systems and police powers that are not available to PIs. The LE detective who enters private investigation must learn to locate people and information without these advantages.
Even traditional colleges and universities have gotten into the distance education business. Boston University offers a highly rated online criminal justice program, as do the University of Michigan, the University of Cincinnati, and several others. These programs are identical to their highly rated on-site programs. Because of demand from mid-career professionals and new students alike, more online options are added to brick and mortar programs all the time.