I always wonder how much further I would be in my career had I gone to college earlier, mastered more areas of investigation or had obtained different certifications. I believe one of the biggest mistakes some investigators make in the investigation industry is that they stop learning about the industry. I too became complacent in the industry. As a result I am trying to play catch up in order to diversify my business so that I can market to different areas.
With that being said, here are 3 reasons you should continue your education whether you are working for a company or you have your own business.
MAKE MORE MONEY
As an Employee– Companies want investigators that are educated, knowledgeable and that have certifications (yes…and hard workers). I still remember hiring an investigator that had more certifications and education then most of managers in the company. The investigator was a shoe in and was able to demand higher entry pay into the company because of those certifications.
Investing in your education helps you to show the company how serious you are about moving up and helping them to earn more money. The company will place more confidence in you when given more responsibility.
According to an article written by the Wall Street Journal high-school graduates make an average of nearly 20,000 dollars less a year than college graduates. This data was compiled in 2002 but I believe this is true more than ever now with the current state of the economy.
I still remember when working for the nationwide investigation company nearly every manager/supervisor had their Bachelors degree. It definitely helped in the process of promotions.
As a Business Owner – Companies big and small flash their credentials, education and the education of their staff. They want to show prospective clients why they are the better choice. And let’s face it, it works. Education and credentials give credibility to a company and something to separate one business from another business. This can be a big boost to new investigation companies as well. Your education or certification may be the difference between winning and losing a possible client.
BECOME MORE MARKETABLE
As an Employee- There is a good chance you are not going to work for the same company as an investigator. Companies these days are always looking to get into new markets and sometimes to do that, they need staff that is already educated in those markets. Imagine a company wants to get into conducting arson or death investigations, so they narrow down their applicant pool to investigators with certifications. You have already made it to the top of the candidate list and you can likely request to get paid a higher rate than normal.
I have seen this happen first hand. I have also observed a major client follow an investigator to a different company just to continue using a specific investigator. The new employer ends up being a big winner in the deal. The investigator gets to name his price at the new company.
I still remember getting an interview with a company because of the Wicklander – Zulawski & Associates Interview and Interrogations certificate I received early in my career. If it wasn’t for that certification I would have never had a chance at the position.
As a Business Owner- Diversifying your market is something that eventually happens to many investigation agencies. Companies need new forms of revenue because one specific avenue can become stagnant. Many companies will do process serving to make up revenue or create new services that assist their clients.
I do believe that companies that specialize in one specific type of investigation appear to be the experts in that niche, but this does not work for all companies. Many companies hold their breath during certain slow times in the year hoping to stay afloat. If the company was certified in different aspects of investigation, it would allow for more opportunities and different clients (fire, fraud, death, theft, etc…)
As an Employee or Business Owner- Having other options of employment other than the traditional investigation field should be in the back of every investigators mind. You may wake up one day and feel as if the occupation is not a good fit for you. Or someone could tell you that you are not a good fit for the job. Either way, what are you going to do if it does not work out? Taking the degree and certifications and applying it to the corporate environment is an easy transition.
If you have been an insurance fraud investigator, have a Bachelor’s degree and you are a Certified Fraud Examiner, it would be relatively easy for you to get your foot in the door as an insurance adjuster.
You have probably heard me say it or write it, but I got my additional education mainly for backup career purposes. The future certifications I will receive will be for all of the above reasons.
You really don’t know where your career will lead you 5 or even 10 years from now. A business degree may help you with the process of beginning and marketing your investigation agency. A psychology degree may help you pursue some sort of internal investigation position or allow you to pursue an entirely different occupation.