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How to Become a Private Investigator Part 2 – Requirements and Training

Can you explain the training requirements?

This is one of the most important and most often misunderstood parts of becoming a private investigator. The Georgia Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies requires everyone that applies to be an investigator complete a 70-hour basic private detective training course. The course must be taught or facilitated by a certified instructor and must adhere to the guidelines for training outlined by the Board.

What topics are taught in the basic private detective training course?

There are many areas that are a part of the curriculum for private investigators. These include but are not limited to:

  • Process of investigations
  • Investigations industry/history
  • Types of investigations
  • Laws of arrest/search & seizure
  • Investigative interviews
  • Surveillance
  • Undercover investigations
  • U.S. legal system
  • Rules of evidence
  • Georgia Misdemeanors/Felonies
  • Criminalistics & technology
  • Crime scenes
  • Court records search
  • Courtroom Testimony
  • Computer crime and forensics
  • Retail loss prevention
  • Domestic/child custody
  • Insurance investigations
  • Ethics in investigations
  • Videography/Photography
  • Process service
  • Executive protection
  • Criminal Defense investigations
  • Report Writing & case management
  • Job searching tips

What are the licensing requirements in Georgia?

Basically, companies are licensed and employees are registered. Every private investigative firm operating in Georgia must be licensed as a company and every person that works as a PI must be registered to work under a licensed company. The company license must have a license-holder named that meets the eligibility requirements:

  • Two years of full-time investigative experience with a licensed company, or
  • Two years of previous law enforcement experience, or
  • A four-year degree in criminal justice or closely related field.

If you meet these requirements, then you may apply for your own company license. If you don’t, you will need to work for a licensed investigative company and become registered as an investigator with them. After the two years, you can become eligible to apply for your own company license.

Do I have to take an exam to become licensed as an investigator?

The licensing examination is only required for individuals designated as the license holder on the company license. There is no required state exam for those individuals who are registering as a private investigator with a licensed agency.

Can I carry a firearm as a private investigator and is there any additional training required?

The Board does offer a concealed carry provision for registered private investigators and is required if you intend to carry a firearm while working a case, even if you have a Georgia Weapons Permit. This provision must be applied for by the license holder of the company and is at the company’s discretion if they allow their investigators to carry a firearm.

The requirements for this provision are 15-hours of classroom and range instruction by a board certified instructor. These hours are beyond the basic detective training course and need to be completed separately on the caliber weapon (note: there are some restrictions on caliber size) that will be carried before being eligible for issuance of a weapons permit.

For those with previous law enforcement experience, the classroom portion of this training is not required but you will need to qualify with a certified instructor and provide range scores.

Once I become registered, are there any continuing education requirements to maintain my registration?

Yes. Georgia requires private investigators receive 16 hours of continuing education credits during the licensing period conducted by a certified instructor:

  • Twelve hours of industry related training
  • Two hours on ethics
  • Two hours on homeland security

I still have questions about the requirements. Where can I get additional information?

The Georgia Board of Private Investigator and Security Agencies website is an excellent resource of information and includes registration and licensure laws and regulations as well as applications.

All your questions answered? Read Part 3 – Get Started Now.


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