Private Investigator Training, Development and Education (2024)

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in the investigation industry, you need training and development and ongoing education. Universities, colleges, schools, and investigation companies offer private Investigator training. It comes in many forms: degree programs, certificate programs, continuing education, home study courses, and internships.


The best resource for an overview of the private investigator profession is the U.S. Department of Labor – Occupational Outlook Handbook. The handbook describes the nature of private investigation work, working conditions, earning potential, qualifications, and other significant points for private investigators.

The handbook also explains the general amount of P.I. education and training one should have to enter the profession.See How to Become a Private Investigator and private investigator servicesor check out the eBookThe Private Investigator’s Licensing Handbook: How to Get a Private Investigator License in any Stateavailable at

Private Investigator Training Resources

The following are private investigation and detective training courses, development programs, and home study coursesthat will help you learn how to become a private investigator and do private investigation work. Visit the associated website to learn more details about the course, learn about fees, and how to apply.

Before proceeding, it is important to note that many states have specific training courses applicants must complete becoming licensed. Visit the state licensing authority’s website for more information on the specific courses and exams that each state requires. You’ll find links to each state’s licensing authority in our private investigator licensing section.


Private Investigator Training, Development and Education (1)

PIeducationis an internet-based private eye education service provider for the Private Security Industry. PIEducation offers courses primarily to private investigators who require continuing education as a part of their license renewal. Several states have approved these courses as online continuing education.

Following are examples of PIEducation continuing education courses:

  • Surveillance learningprogram
  • Death investigations courses
  • Forensic photography courses
  • Instruction Interviewing witness
  • Bounty hunting training
  • Private investigation laws and ethics
  • Skip Tracing guidance

Blue Ribbon Investigative Institute

The Blue Ribbon Investigative Institute is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education and certified by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Department of Education to provide the 40-hour private investigator intern course required by the state. The course is written and taught by a true private investigator. The course covers the following:

  • The applicable state statutes and administrative code
  • Professional ethics and legal issues
  • How to interview witnesses and verify the truth
  • How to use computers in the investigation process and sources of information
  • Restrictions on records
  • How to write reports
  • How to find people
  • Evidence
  • Courtrooms, trials, and formal hearings
  • Testifying as a witness
  • Executive protection

A certificate is provided upon completion of the course with a passing grade. The certificate must be submitted to the state with the license application form.

Detective Training Institute

Detective Training Institute – This company offers a State-approved home study course to become a Qualified Private Investigator. The Private Investigator Course trains you on how to become a PI, and the latest investigative techniques, including state-of-the-art computer online investigative strategies. Other topics covered include:

  • Background Investigation and Research
  • Tracking and Locating Missing Persons
  • Surveillance
  • Legal Investigations
  • Business Crimes Investigations
  • Starting Your New Career as a Private Eye

You can begin your private investigator’s education and developmentvia home study or online. No previous experience is required to get started in this exciting profession. Whether this is your first career or a career change, DTI makes it simple for you.

The course provides detailed, step-by-step explanations with hundreds of photographs that make learning easy and fun. And most importantly, you can learn private investigation from home in your spare time, on your own time schedule.

Enroll online or via mail. Online counseling is available, and students can send their exams for grading via fax or online.Private Investigator and Detective Training School is a specialized private investigation school licensed by the Nevada Commission on Post-secondary Education. Most students can complete this state-approved online program within ten weeks.

We recommend downloading and reading the first lesson, which is available for free on DTI’s website. This will give you an idea of the high-quality information you’ll receive via this excellent private eye training program.

Discovery Detective Academy

The Discovery Detective Academy offers Investigations, Process Serving, and Security courses. Their Master’s Course in investigations prepares you to run your own agency. The course covers the following:

  • Law: Civil, Criminal, Federal, and ethics
  • Civil and criminal investigative techniques
  • How to collect evidence and process a crime scene
  • Forensics: handwriting analysis, fingerprints, lab results
  • Document research and retrieval
  • How to locate people, skip tracing
  • Photography and videos
  • Interrogation techniques
  • Courtroom testimony
  • How to manage cases
  • How to set up and market your business

Global School of Investigation

The Global School of Investigation offers online educationand distance learning programs for private investigation studies. The web-based training courses teach you all aspects of private investigations, including private investigations, insurance investigations, security, fraud investigations, skip tracing, and bounty hunting.

Rasmussen College – Criminal Justice Program

Rasmussen College – Criminal Justice Program – TheRasmussen College criminal justice program, offers a career that allows you to have a direct positive impact on individuals, businesses, and entire communities. You can choose from various criminal justice specialties, including law enforcement, corrections, psychology, and homeland security.

  • Learn from current sheriffs, sergeants, and other seasoned law enforcement professionals
  • Gain real-world insight through police ride-along, correctional visits, and other hands-on opportunities
  • Examine the social and behavioral issues involved in the study of crime to help you in the field

For more information, visit the websiteor contact:

Michael Schwartz
Rasmussen College
Address: 8300 Norman Center Drive, Suite 300
Phone: 952-806-3900
FAX: 952-831-0624

The Stratford Career Institute

The Stratford Career Institute offers a Private Investigator Training Distance Learning Course (home study) that provides fundamental instruction on key areas such as

  • Ethics and legal issues
  • Various types of investigations, including accidents, criminal, domestic, fraud, financial, insurance, missing persons, and undercover
  • Resources, tools, and techniques in the P.I.’s toolbox
  • How to interview witnesses
  • How to provide testimony
  • How to conduct research

Worldwide Learn

PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR & SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS PROGRAMS – Train at home to be a private investigator, detective, or security specialist or to work in personal or executive protection and intelligence & investigations with these online courses and distance learning diploma programs from accredited institutions.

Private Investigator Training Books

Books are a good place to start if you are interested in entering the field of private investigation. If you’re already licensed and working in the field, reference books can be a great way to add to your knowledge and experience or to pick up new skills. A good detective always knows where to turn to find the right information. Sometimes, the answers may be sitting on your bookshelf. Start building your library of reference books today.

The Private Investigator’s Licensing Handbook: How to Get a Private Investigator License in any State
Think you might be interested in pursuing a career as a private investigator? Browse through the pages of this eBook to learn about the services provided by private investigators, the typical work environment, career outlook, and salary range. Plus, learn the basic licensing requirements for each state and where to find more information. Includes sections on training and education, PI associations, and more. Buy the eBook at Amazon today for just $3.49.

PI School: How To Become A Private Detective –Most detectivesare ordinary citizens just like you – except they know how to locate information, data, and how to locate people. And so will you after you read this book. A PI is only as good as his techniques, and PI School teaches you everything you need to know: surveillance, paper trails, interrogation, and more.

Traffic Accident Investigators’ Manual: A Level 1 and 2 Reference, Training, and Investigation Manual –This book is a great resourcefor investigating, analyzing, and reconstructing traffic accidents. It explains how to investigate traffic accidents, conduct various analyses and prepare reports for clients.

Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation Interactive Training CD-ROM

This interactive CD-ROM summarizes, in layman’s terms, the critical concepts detailed in Fisher’s text of the same name. This hands-on CD presents complex, scenario-based interactions within virtual crime scenes and offers activities and exercises with instant feedback that allows students and trainees to determine right and wrong answers immediately. Each section follows the outline of Fisher’s text and contains short quizzes to test comprehension instantly. The CD also serves as an aid for court testimony, providing useful information for investigators, expert witnesses, and attorneys.

Covert Surveillance

Learn how to conductcovert surveillance investigations for your clients. Learn the methods used by the pros to conduct undetected surveillance and gather the information, photographs, and video you need.

Death Investigation: The Basics

This guide details the procedures used by coroners and medical examiners. Includes flow charts, illustrations, sample forms, current information on the diagnosis of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and procedures for investigating infant deaths. Primarily for new death investigators.

Forensic Anthropology Training Manual

Book Description – This new book focuses on the challenges and responsibilities of the Forensic scientist, the multidisciplinary nature of the work, and the international potential for the Forensic sciences. This an excellent introduction to the realities of the profession of Forensic scientist. Trains in the description and analysis of human skeletal and dental remains. This guide offers a well-illustrated approach to osteology, including a concentration on vocabulary-building, case studies, and a structured approach to skeletal analysis and report writing—an excellent text for those considering the field of Forensic science.

If you’re interested in becoming a police officer, learn about the training and education options available to law enforcement.

If you have any questions about these private investigator training, development, and education resources, please post them below. Also, view a list of Private Investigator Jobs.

Private Investigator Training, Development and Education (2024)


Private Investigator Training, Development and Education? ›

While there are no academic requirements for basic PI work, a two-year associate's program or a 4-year bachelor's degree in a field related to criminal justice may be helpful and can provide hard skills and knowledge that augment innate traits such as curiosity, patience, resourcefulness and intuition.

What is the education and training of a PI? ›

While there are no academic requirements for basic PI work, a two-year associate's program or a 4-year bachelor's degree in a field related to criminal justice may be helpful and can provide hard skills and knowledge that augment innate traits such as curiosity, patience, resourcefulness and intuition.

What degree is best for a private investigator? ›

The best degrees for a private investigator are traditionally rooted in law. This could include a bachelor's degree in criminal justice or pre-law. For those wanting to focus on the financial sector – including financial fraud – having a bachelor's in accounting would be an excellent choice.

How do you become a PI in Washington state? ›

To apply for a license from the Department of Licensing to become a private investigator, you must be at least 18 years old, pass an exam, and you must have a job offer from, or be employed by, a licensed PI agency in Washington.

How do I become a private investigator in Oregon? ›

I want to become licensed for the first time, what do I need to complete?
  1. Complete a PI-1 (application)
  2. Secure a surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit or errors & omissions insurance in the minimum amount of $5000 with your name listed as principal.
  3. Complete one (1) fingerprint card.

What is the goal of PI's training methods? ›

PI Training therefore encourages participants to provide both positive and negative feedback to each other's ideas, goals, and plans. A good example of how PI Training differs from other entrepreneurship and management trainings is its perspective on sourcing finances for a business project.

What age is PI taught? ›

Pi is typically taught in elementary and middle school. It is typically taught as part of a mathematics curriculum, somewhere around ages 10 to 12. Pi is an important mathematical concept that is covered in a variety of disciplines, from basic mathematics, to calculus and even physics in some cases.

What state is easiest to become a private investigator? ›

Becoming a private investigator in Alaska is relatively straightforward since most locations in the state do not require a special license to be a private investigator. Only a business license is required for those working independently, and this is relatively easy to obtain.

What state is best for private investigators? ›

Best States For an Investigator

But working conditions and demand for investigators aren't the same everywhere in the U.S. In fact, our research shows that California is the best state for investigators in America. The best city in America for investigators with the highest pay is San Francisco, CA.

Is being a private investigator cool? ›

Yes, being a Private Investigator can be exciting. However, much of the work involves research, monitoring, and observation. These tasks can be monotonous, but they're an essential part of the job.

How much does a PI cost in Washington state? ›

The hourly rate for private investigators can vary between $60-$200 per hour, but averages fall between $70-$150 per hour. Keep in mind that there are additional fees attached to service fee deposits.

Is it legal to hire a private investigator in Washington state? ›

Washington State statutes make it unlawful for any person to conduct a criminal investigation unless they are licensed by that state, or exempt by the statute (i.e. law enforcement officers or agents, attorneys, paralegals and claims adjusters).

What is the investigator's license in WA? ›

Investigator Licence

This licence authorises you to investigate the conduct of individuals or corporations or the character of individuals, perform surveillance work or investigate missing persons. Holders of this licence are sometimes known as 'Private Investigators' or 'Private Eyes'.

Do you need a Licence to be a private investigator in the US? ›

Getting Licensed. More than 40 states and the District of Columbia require private investigators (PIs) to become licensed before providing private investigation services to the public. In a handful of states, licenses are required only at the city or county level.

How much does a private investigator cost in Oregon? ›

Recent Estimates in Oregon
Case TypeDifficultyEstimate
Homicide and Murder InvestigationDifficult$2000 - $3000
Stolen or Lost Dog InvestigationsEasy$1500 - $2500
Surveillance Detection (Countermeasures)Difficult$1500 - $2500
Recover Lost Assets InvestigationEasy$749 - $1123
6 more rows

How long does it take to become a private investigator in Oregon? ›

To get a private investigator license in Oregon, you must meet the following requirements: – You must be at least 18 years old. – You must be a U.S. citizen. – You must have 1,500 hours of experience doing investigative work, or a combination of work experience and up to 500 hours of job-specific education.

What are Pi's hobbies? ›


philosophy, math, and animals. While Pi isn't bad at athletics, most of his hobbies are decidedly cerebral. Pi's a fast learner, but if he wants any chance of survival, then he's going to have to learn a lot more – and soon.

How does Pi survive mentally? ›

He faces several emotional obstacles that he must face in order to survive. Pi keeps a journal, in it he follows a daily schedule to maintain his sanity, humanity, and self-respect as he says that he “kept a diary…Words scratched on a page trying to capture a reality that overwhelmed me” (Martel 208).

What does Pi do to survive? ›

Pi's inventiveness and resourcefulness (he covers himself with wet clothes to protect his skin from the sun and builds a raft from oars and lifejackets to keep him at a safe distance from both the tiger and sharks) enable him to remain physically safe.

How many digits of pi can you memorize? ›

In 1981, an Indian man named Rajan Mahadevan accurately recited 31,811 digits of pi from memory. In 1989, Japan's Hideaki Tomoyori recited 40,000 digits. The current Guinness World Record is held by Lu Chao of China, who, in 2005, recited 67,890 digits of pi.

How long would it take to read pi? ›

The average reader will spend 5 hours and 26 minutes reading this book at 250 WPM (words per minute).

Where do private investigators get paid the most? ›

Highest paying cities for Private Investigators near United States
  • Newark, NJ. $28.37 per hour. 13 salaries reported.
  • Fort Myers, FL. $26.45 per hour. 9 salaries reported.
  • Albuquerque, NM. $26.41 per hour. 7 salaries reported.
  • New York, NY. $26.13 per hour. 40 salaries reported.
  • Tampa, FL. $25.70 per hour. ...
  • Show more nearby cities.

What databases do private investigators use? ›

6 Best Private Investigator Databases
  • Tracers.
  • IRBSearch.
  • TLOxp.
  • IDI.
  • Experian.
  • SkipSmasher.
  • Filevine.
  • Column Case Management.
Mar 29, 2023

Do you need a degree to be a private investigator in Texas? ›

If you plan to start a private investigation company …

This means you must meet ONE of the following combined education and experience requirements: Three years of private investigation experience. Bachelor's degree in criminal justice or a related field.

Can PI cross state lines? ›

Reciprocity agreements allow a Private Investigator (PI) licensed in one state to continue an investigation in another state without obtaining a PI license in that state IF they meet certain requirements. Prior to conducting an investigation in another state, you should contact the respective licensing agency.

What is the difference between a private investigator and a private detective? ›

A detective is employed by a law enforcement agency, such as a city police department. In contrast, a private investigator is hired by individuals and companies to conduct investigations.

How much does a private investigator cost in the US? ›

On average, a private investigator can charge anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour for professional services ranging from performing background checks to conducting surveillance operations.

What is the hardest part of being a PI? ›

Disadvantages of being a Private Investigator
  1. Cost of starting a PI business. Private investigation job requires certification and licensing. ...
  2. Business challenges. To be successful, you need to know how to manage your PI business well. ...
  3. Unexpected scenarios. ...
  4. Repetitive tasks. ...
  5. Dangers and Risks. ...
  6. Working hours.
Jun 22, 2022

What are the risks of being a private investigator? ›

Dangerous work

Private investigators are responsible for surveying and tracking down information, which can be dangerous at times. People may become suspicious or feel threatened, and this may lead to a stressful career.

Can you tell people you're a private investigator? ›

Confidentiality Agreements: Private investigators are bound by strict confidentiality agreements that prohibit them from disclosing information about their clients or their cases. This means that even if a private investigator wanted to reveal who hired them, they would be legally prohibited from doing so.

How much is a PI for a week? ›

How much do private investigators cost? On average, private investigators charge $105 per hour. Most people pay between $99 and $150 per hour for private investigation services.

How much does a PI cost per day? ›

Private Investigator Price

We recommend a PI around $90 per hour, with an average case cost of $1,500 to $2,500. Service of Process: $35 per serve – $1,000 per day. We recommend a PI around $90 per hour, with an average case cost of $500 to $600. Missing Person Locate: $60 per hour – $125 per hour.

How much do private investigators get paid near Seattle WA? ›

The average Private Investigator salary in Seattle, WA is $55,302 as of May 25, 2023, but the range typically falls between $44,702 and $66,802.

Will a narcissist hire a private investigator? ›

They normally do. That's there go to, so they don't get the stalking charges. Most covert or malignant narcissists do the stalking and hire Pi's.

Can a PI carry a gun in California? ›

Yes. A Private Investigator may carry a concealed weapon on duty if he/she has a current and clear BSIS exposed firearms permit and possesses a concealed weapons to permit issued by a local law enforcement agency. Does Kinsey Investigations perform Social Media background checks?

How do I become a private investigator in Seattle? ›

Washington Private Investigator License Requirements
  1. You must be 18yo or older.
  2. You need a clean criminal and personal record.
  3. You must be an American citizen/ legal resident.
  4. You must be sponsored/ employed by a Washington PI agency. ...
  5. You need to take a PI license exam before submitting your application.

What is the salary of a crime scene investigator in Washington state? ›

Crime Scene Investigator Salary in Seattle, WA
Annual SalaryWeekly Pay
Top Earners$96,782$1,861
75th Percentile$77,000$1,480
25th Percentile$60,600$1,165

How long does it take to become a detective in Washington state? ›

Eligibility to test for promotion to detective, or other positions, is available after spending five years on regular patrol. Applicants must meet the minimum hiring standards: 20 ½ years of age at the time of taking the written test.

What is the DOT code for investigator? ›

376.267-018 - INVESTIGATOR, PRIVATE (business ser.)

What is the job description of a private investigator? ›

Private detectives and investigators search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, such as verifying people's backgrounds and statements, finding missing persons, and investigating computer crimes.

How do I hire a private investigator in the US? ›


To find a private investigator, you can check with your state's professional private investigator association or do a simple online search. You may also ask for recommendations from friends and family who have used a private investigator before.

Do you need a private investigator license in New York? ›

Private investigators need a license in New York State. This license is issued by the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS). The license is for people or companies. Investigators can seek stolen or lost property, investigate accidents and fires, or get information on a person or group.

How do I get my PI license in Oregon? ›

I want to become licensed for the first time, what do I need to complete?
  1. Complete a PI-1 (application)
  2. Secure a surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit or errors & omissions insurance in the minimum amount of $5000 with your name listed as principal.
  3. Complete one (1) fingerprint card.

What is the best private investigator salary? ›

$46,200 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $56,000 is the 75th percentile.

How much does cheaters charge for an investigation? ›

So on average, the cost to hire a private investigator to catch your cheating spouse can range from 50 USD to 55 USD per hour.

What can a private investigator do in Oregon? ›

Nathans Investigations Oregon private investigators utilize their experience, resources and technology to provide the following private investigation services:
  • Oregon Missing Persons Investigations.
  • Oregon Skip Tracing.
  • Oregon Locate people.
  • Oregon Marital Infidelity Investigations.
  • Oregon Cheating Spouses Investigations.

Are private investigators legal in Oregon? ›

Private investigators in Oregon must be licensed through the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST).

What is a PI doctorate? ›

The abbreviation "P.I." stands for "Principal Investigator" and is routinely used in the United States to denote a "head of the laboratory" or "research group leader" (wikipedia), and serves to refer to active researchers with potential funding for PhD students or post-doctoral researchers.

Why is it important to study PI? ›

The constant π helps us understand our universe with greater clarity. The definition of π inspired a new notion of the measurement of angles, a new unit of measurement. This important angle measure is known as “radian measure” and gave rise to many important insights in our physical world.

What is a PI classroom? ›

Peer Instruction (PI) is an exciting new technique that allows faculty members to combine lecture and discussion formats, also using innovative approaches to creating student interaction in large classes.

What is pi explained to children? ›

Pi, or π, is a mathematical constant and represents the ratio between the distance around a circle (this is known as the circumference) and the diameter of the circle, resulting in the same number every time. The number, though, is odd. It starts at 3.14159265... and continues forever.

What is pi explained simply for kids? ›

Pi (π) is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. Pi is a constant number, meaning that for all circles of any size, Pi will be the same. The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the center. The circumference of a circle is the distance around.

Do you need a PhD to be a principal investigator? ›

To pursue a career as a principal investigator, you need a bachelor's degree in a subject related to your field of research. Many organizations require principal investigators to also have a master's degree or a doctorate. Acquire a grant writing position to learn how to write successful grant proposals.

Who is a PI grad school? ›

A Principal Investigator or PI is the individual responsible for the preparation, conduct, and administration of a research grant, cooperative agreement, training or public service project, contract, or other sponsored project.

Who qualifies as a principal investigator? ›

In order to be certified as a PI, a researcher must confirm that he/she will comply with all regulatory compliance directives; that all information submitted within the proposal is true, complete, and accurate to the best of his/her knowledge; that any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or claims may subject ...

Where is pi used in real life? ›

You might not use it yourself every day, but Pi is used in most calculations for building and construction, quantum physics, communications, music theory, medical procedures, air travel, and space flight, to name a few. You might imagine that NASA regularly uses Π to calculate trajectories of spacecraft.

How do you get pi? ›

What is the formula for calculating pi? The pi is a ratio and is obtained from a circle. If the diameter and the circumference of a circle are known, the value of pi will be as π = Circumference/ Diameter.

What do people do on Pi Day? ›

The unique holiday is one that is discussed by math teachers in schools across the country and bakeries and grocery stores often sell pies at a discount that day. Pi Day was first celebrated in 1988 at San Francisco's Exploratorium, a museum of science and technology that encourages visitors to be hands-on.

Is a pi a professor? ›

The Principal Investigator (PI) is a faculty member or research scientist appointed by the University to conduct research.

Does pi mean principal investigator? ›

The principal investigator prepares and carries out the clinical trial protocol (plan for the study) or research paid for by the grant. The principal investigator also analyzes the data and reports the results of the trial or grant research. Also called PI.


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