Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Lorcan Kelly from Irish Tax Institute to give some advice for people considering this job:


Lorcan Kelly

Tax Consultant

Irish Tax Institute

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  Lorcan Kelly
I would strongly recommend a career in tax to any students who are considering it. Tax professionals are in high demand from employers and can add real value to any business. It is a challenging and rewarding career which can place you at the heart of business decision making. It can also be an excellent springboard to other careers in finance.

Just recently a new Chief Financial Officer was appointed to Irish Distillers who was formerly the Pernod Ricard Group tax director! Also do your research about the AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA) qualification – from my own experience, the course is very practical and relevant to my day to day job. It provides a structured framework for achieving the knowledge of tax law and skills required to be an AITI Chartered Tax Adviser (CTA).

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Occupation Details

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Private Investigator

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€20k > 42 
Private Investigator
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€20 - 42 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Investigates individuals, organisations, or events on behalf of a client, and reports findings.

The Work header image

Private investigators (PIs) use skills of observation, detection and surveillance to lawfully gather information that will be useful to their clients. The work of a PI falls into three areas: individual, corporate, and legal.  
Individual work is done when an individual hires an investigator. This may involve, for example, tracing missing persons. A PI may also spend time observing the actions of someone who - according to the client - is acting improperly (as in a divorce case)  
Corporate work can be for large or small businesses. It can involve investigating individuals, groups or companies, who the client suspects are making false insurance claims or embezzling funds. Sometimes a business needs to combat shoplifting or theft by employees. Some large businesses are concerned about industrial espionage  
Legal work is done for solicitors. It usually involves taking witness statements about accidents or crimes, investigating defence alibis, and serving writs and other legal documents. Private investigators have to keep detailed and accurate records of their work.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Write reports or case summaries to document investigations.


Search computer databases, credit reports, public records, tax or legal filings, or other resources to locate persons or to compile information for investigations.


Obtain and analyze information on suspects, crimes, or disturbances to solve cases, to identify criminal activity, or to gather information for court cases.


Conduct background investigations of individuals, such as pre-employment checks, to obtain information about an individual's character, financial status or personal history.


Conduct private investigations on a paid basis.


Testify at hearings or court trials to present evidence.


Question persons to obtain evidence for cases of divorce, child custody, or missing persons or information about individuals' character or financial status.


Observe and document activities of individuals to detect unlawful acts or to obtain evidence for cases, using binoculars and still or video cameras.


Alert appropriate personnel to suspects' locations.


Perform undercover operations, such as evaluating the performance or honesty of employees by posing as customers or employees.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.


Communicating with Persons Outside Organization:  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.


Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships:  Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Performing Administrative Activities:  Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards:  Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.


Customer and Personal Service:  Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


Law and Government:  Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.


Clerical:  Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.


Administration and Management:  Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Service Orientation:   Actively looking for ways to help people.


Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Social Perceptiveness:   Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.


Time Management:   Managing one's own time and the time of others.


Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a private investigator you may find yourself working alone for long periods. However, at times you will also be part of a surveillance team, so you will need to be able to work effectively with others.  
When on surveillance work it is important that you are able to remain unnoticed for long periods. Self discipline and high levels of concentration are needed as you may have to remain in one place (sitting in a car for example) for a whole day or night.  
You need to be methodical, precise and objective when gathering evidence; private investigators are bound by the same rules of evidence as the police. You will need a high standard of literacy for writing reports.  
Excellent interpersonal skills are also needed, as you will deal with all kinds of people. If you are taking a statement you need to be able to put people at ease. Dealing with clients in cases such as divorce needs sensitivity. You may sometimes have to deal with people who are impatient or angry.  
You need to have a good basic knowledge of the law and legal procedure. The ability to use electronic equipment such as tape recorders, cameras and video cameras is necessary, as is the ability to drive.

Entry Routesheader image

It is unusual to enter this field without previous work experience. Most new entrants have a background in security work, either with the police or Armed Forces, and some have worked in the legal profession. 

The Licensing of Private Investigators in Ireland comes into effect from the 1st November 2015. See The Private Security Authority (PSA) for full details here.

Last Updated: November, 2015

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

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Go..Private Investigator - from:  N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Academy of Professional Investigation
  Address: 3-5 Clair House, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 3DP, UK
  Tel: +44 1444 441 111
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: World Association of Professional Investigators (WAPI)
  Address: 212 Piccadilly, London, UK
  Tel: +44 87 09 099970
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Institute of Professional Investigators
  Address: 83 Guildford Street, Chertsey, Surry, KT16 9JL
  Tel: + 44 (0)870 3308622
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


Organisation: Private Security Authority
  Address: Davis Street, Tipperary Town
  Tel: 062 31588
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Security, Defence & Law Enforcement

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