Want to become an investigator

This would be a total career change for me. I have a BA in French, but have been a graphic designer for years. Regardless, I think it would be a perfect fit for me. Given that I have no relevant credentials, is there any training that I could do that would help me get my foot in the door? I see mention of FBITP certification and DCSA credentials. Are there classes for that? I’m not worried about being able to get a clearance.

There are a lot of companies hiring, I have seen some say they are willing to train. I would talk to some people on LinkedIn and make some connections. Good luck.

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Peraton just posted job opening for several openings across the US for new investigators with no experience and no clearance. FYI Peraton is a great company. I have been with them for 10 years (started with them when they were KeyPoint and I had no experience with I started). Good luck with your journey!

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Thank you for the lead!

Thank you. Good suggestion!

All three companies are pretty desperate for new hires. All I’ll say is do your research carefully!

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Which three companies?


It is a dead-end, soul-sucking job. They don’t care about you. They only care about how much you produce so that CEO can get their yacht.

If you’re going into this thinking you’ll make a positive impact on “national security,” you’ve been had.


Don’t be discouraged by others from this job. I happen to love my job and have been doing it for over a decade. It’s definitely what you make it.


DCSA has begun using virtual hiring fairs, follow them on Linked-In. They are trying to recruit from a larger audience other than usajobs.


Good to hear all sides

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Agreed. I have been doing this job for 4 years and it gives me the flexibility and independence I want. Plus it is interesting. It is quota driven, but mostly I don’t mind that.


Are you an independent contractor? How does it work with quotas in that situation?

I’m a regular employee of a contracting company. From what I understand, contractors set the amount of work that they desire to have.

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Former investigator, I left the investigations world years ago but am still working in the security-cleared world.

I agree with the folks here saying that the best way to get the training to enter this field (and the required security clearance) is to get an offer as a full employee (not 1099) with one of the companies performing investigative work for the government.

In terms of quality of life in this field, everyone has their own opinions, and each person’s situation is unique so it’s disingenuous to paint with broad strokes and say this is a good or bad field for everyone. And even then, the quality of your team lead matters a LOT as well.

I will say that some of the biggest complainers about this field also put the least amount of effort into actually doing things to help get out of this field (re-skilling, taking courses, getting certifications, etc.), so while a LOT of the negativity associated with this career can be justifiable, take it with a grain of salt.

This field got me in the door to the national security world and I still use a LOT of what I learned as an investigator in my current role, so while I would never go back to this field, I do look back on it fondly as a crucial stepping stone (I never had any intention of staying in this line of work long term though, so your mileage may vary).


What training, certifications or experience required to be an investigator?

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For a new investigator position, no experience is needed. You will be trained (hopefully). All investigator’s have had different backgrounds. Some came from military, some came from law enforcement, some have come from random office jobs. I came in as a former teacher and I have had friends who came into the field right out of college. I think the only requirement is US citizenship.

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Do you mind sharing what roles this can lead to in the national security realm in the future and some possible steps? I am hoping to obtain a position as a entry level investigator.

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So as I’ve outlined all of this here before in other posts:

I’d also add to it that roles with defense contractors like Security Rep, Personnel Security Admin, and Security Analyst roles are a good fit for BIs as well.

I would strongly advise you to not stay as an investigator for more than 2 to 3 years tops, and as soon as you are settled into being an FI (if you go that route), get active on LinkedIn and begin figuring out where you want to take your career. Also begin certifications or courses or something of the sort ASAP too.

Being an FI is no longer a good long term career for most, but can be a good stepping stone for certain people in certain situations.

View the field as a paid internship that you use to get a clearance, get some experience, etc. Because that’s what this field now is for many.


If you are just looking for a low key job that is interesting, changes daily, educates you on your local community and is pretty transferrable if you are forced to move. It’s a pretty good long term gig and there is never any pressure to get promoted or move up the career ladder. I have found it to be a great long term job that is compatible to family life and/or a working spouse whose job is the primary breadwinner. You just have to set limits on yourself and have good executive functioning/scheduling skills.

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