How to Be a Private Investigator in 9 Steps
Even though being a private investigator is not as exciting as it appears to be in books and in movies, it’s still a career path that features a variety of interesting and unusual experiences. If doing some surveillance work and gathering evidence for suspicious spouses and insurance companies sounds like something you would like to do, read on to have a better idea of how to be a private investigator.
1. Learn more about what private investigators really do
Before you start learning how to be a private investigator, you have to make sure this is a good career choice for you. Learn more about what private investigators really do. If you don’t think you could stand sitting in your car for hours while you wait for someone to exit a building, you might want to consider another career.
You should know that private investigators also spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer, and making phone calls.
2. Consider the character traits that make a good private investigator
Some skills and character traits are required for someone who is hoping to become a successful private investigator. If you have great observation skills and communication skills, and if you are able to make decisions quickly, you are off to a good start.
Private investigators also need to be patient, to be able to handle stressful situations, to blend in easily, and to be stealthy when they need to be.
3. Check the different requirements
Depending on where you live, there will be different requirements to be aware of. If you are in Ontario, you need to be at least 18 years old, to be eligible to work in Canada, and to have a clean criminal record. You also need to take a private investigator basic training course, and to take a test.
If you are not in Ontario, be sure to research the requirements in your area to check if you are eligible.
4. Take a course
The type of education you can get depends on where you live. If no private investigator training course is available, you might need to study in criminal justice or police science instead.
If you are living in Ontario, you can find different agencies and schools across the province that offer the private investigator basic training course you need to take. Check your different options, and be sure to choose a course offered by a competent instructor, whether online or in a classroom.
5. Study for the test
To be allowed to work as a private investigator in Ontario, you need to get a licence. The first step to getting your licence is to take the private investigator test.
Don’t underestimate this test. When the time comes, you will need to spend a lot of time studying the different notions you have learned during your training course, and to do everything you can to be as ready as possible for your test.
6. Take the test
After you have registered for the private investigator test, you will need to take that test before you can move forward in your new career.
Many people who are now successful private investigators have surely taken this test more than once, so don’t worry if you fail on your first try. Be focused and persistant, register to take the test again, study hard, and you will eventually succeed.
7. Apply for your private investigator licence
After you have successfully completed the test, you need to apply for your private investigator licence if it’s required in your area.
To get your licence in Ontario, you need to submit proofs that you have taken the necessary course and test, and you need to give your personal information that will be used to run a criminal background check on you.
When you receive your licence, which should be valid for about 2 years, you will need to keep it on you at all times.
8. Search for a job
After you have made it this far, it will be time to search for your first job. Learn more about a few private investigator agencies in your area, and apply for an entry-level position. You will need to gain some experience before you can truly start working as a private investigator.
If you would like to work independently, you should still start by gaining some experience working for an agency. You will then need to get a licence to be allowed to work as your own agency.
9. Never stop learning
Private investigators should never stop learning. There will always be some additional course to take, some new skills to develop, and some experience to get in related fields.
When you keep in mind that you will always be a student, you will only keep getting better and better at what you do.