How do I become a private investigator

How do you become a detective?

In fact, anyone in Germany can call themselves a detective who has registered a business with the trade registration office. The terms detective or private detective are not regulated or protected by law.

As a result, almost anyone can do the job and have the job title of detective or private detective. Fixed prior knowledge or specific training are not required due to the freedom of trade in Germany.

However, there are requirements to be a detective

Every German can register the business of a detective agency in this country. He does this at the trade office responsible for him according to § 14 of the trade regulations. As described above, he does not need to submit proof of qualification.

However, the trade regulations were changed on October 1st, 1998. Since this change, the competent control authority has to check the reliability of the trader immediately after registering the business in accordance with § 38 of the trade regulations.

In order to do this, the prospective detective must apply for a certificate of good conduct in accordance with Section 30 (5) of the Federal Central Register Act. Pursuant to Section 150 (5), information from the central trade register must also be requested for submission to the controlling authority.

If the prospective detective does not meet this requirement, the authority will obtain these documents ex officio. The aim is to check whether the budding detective is reliable enough.

Detective is a business in need of surveillance

According to Section 38 of the Trade Regulations, the detective trade is one of the trades requiring supervision. That is why the respective federal states can stipulate how the detective has to keep his books by means of a statutory ordinance for the trade. This also determines which data is to be recorded. This includes information about the respective orders, customers and affected third parties.

Detective work is rather dry

The daily routine of detectives is different from what is shown in films. The work is neither particularly spectacular nor particularly exciting, with a few exceptions. Boring observations, intensive study of files and dry investigations determine the daily routine of the detectives. The detective often needs a lot of perseverance and good nerves. Much of the work consists of waiting. But he always has to stay focused. If you find it difficult, you'd better look for another job.

Above all, private investigators need the following qualities:

  • discipline

  • patience

  • Perseverance

  • good general knowledge

  • logical thinking

  • flexibility

  • time

  • private independence

  • Traveling

A detective almost never has the famous 9 am-5pm day. Very different working times are the order of the day. Night work or activities on the weekend are the rule. Often a detective does not come home for days because he is out on assignments.

Where can a newcomer be trained as a detective?

It is true that no specific training to become a detective is mandatory in Germany. Nevertheless, the knowledge of the activity has to come from somewhere. Because learning by doing is simply not enough. As a career changer, it is helpful to get an internship or apprenticeship with a long-established detective agency. The accompanying theoretical training then takes place via the ZAD. ZAD stands for: Central office for training in the detective trade.

The ZAD is supported and supported by the major professional associations:

  1. BDD

  2. BID

That stands for Federal Association of German Detectives and Association of International Detectives. The ZAD has been providing qualified detective training since 1986.

In block lessons, the prospective private investigator learns everything that is theoretically necessary for a detective. Depending on the training, this can take up to 22 months. He then learns the practice in the detective agency that trains him. After an examination, he is then a ZAD-certified private investigator.

During their training, the new detectives learn a lot about legal issues, criminalistics, specialist knowledge, but also operational activities and techniques.

Who will be a detective?

Practice shows that many private investigators have previously worked for government agencies. These include:

  • police

  • inch

  • MAD

  • BND

  • Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution

  • Military police officer of the German Armed Forces

Those who have previously worked at the aforementioned institutions will rarely do the ZAD training as a detective. This is simply because the teaching content taught there was largely learned in the old professional life.

However, lateral entrants from other professions start practically from scratch. You should be taught the necessary knowledge about the ZAD. There is no job without theory.

Are there alternatives to training as a detective other than the ZAD?

In addition to the ZAD, there is also the possibility of training as a detective specialist (IHK). This training is offered by various institutes. This includes, for example, the Berlin Security Academy (SAB). The exam is recognized by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

Under no circumstances should an applicant take a weekend detective course. Believe us: this is not beneficial. You don't learn what you need to be able to do to be a detective.

Is there an internship at

Not all detective agencies offer the possibility of internship for prospective investigators. With us it is possible under certain circumstances to do a long-term internship. However, we only offer such a place to applicants from related professions.

If you want to do a career advancement after your time in the armed forces, you can contact us. We have already given many soldiers the necessary position for the internship. This enabled them to switch to the desired profession as detective. We can almost never offer applicants from non-professional branches a position for an internship.

Literature on the profession of detective

If you'd like to read more about the detective profession, you can get a professional's book on Amazon. There the path to the detective profession is shown step by step.

** Affiliate (advertising) link further information can be found here in the privacy policy. As an Amazon partner, we receive a small commission for qualified purchases.