If conducting surveillance operations, going undercover, investigating infidelity and insurance fraud, or locating missing persons sounds appealing then consider the following steps to learn how to become a private investigator in Louisiana:
|Meet the Minimum Qualifications in Louisiana|
|Complete Basic Training & Take the Louisiana PI Exam|
|Choose the Appropriate PI License Category and Apply|
|Maintain your Practice in Louisiana|
From its headquarters in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana State Board of Private Investigator Examiners (LSBPIE) regulates both individual private investigators as well as investigation agencies across the Bayou State. There are currently over 1,200 licensed PIs working throughout Louisiana with a concentration in New Orleans, but also in places like Lafayette, Metairie, Shreveport, and even sparsely populated parishes. Many private detectives work in the over 600 PI agencies licensed in Louisiana. There are also 82 private investigator journeymen in the direct employ of licensed PIs.
Step 1. Meeting the Minimum Louisiana State Qualifications
Before you begin thinking about any private investigator training requirements you will need to start with the basics.
You must be able to meet the following to become a PI in Louisiana:
- At least 18 years old
- Be a United State citizen or authorized to legally work in the U.S.
- Have no convictions for crimes of moral turpitude or felonies
- May not be actively addicted to alcohol or drugs
Although there are no education or school requirements to become a licensed private investigator in Louisiana, having education in a relevant field will give your clients and employers assurance that you are a qualified and capable PI.
Having an appropriate certification or degree will also provide you with greater career flexibility in the future. The following programs are available online and at campus-based schools throughout the state:
- Law Enforcement
- Criminal Justice
Step 2. Basic Training and Louisiana PI Exam
Another prerequisite on the road to obtaining a license for private investigator jobs in Louisiana is the basic training course, followed by an exam. Private detective certification classes must be obtained from an approved agency and be at least 40 hours in length. Topics covered include:
- Louisiana state law
- Use of force, both lethal and non-lethal
- Safety procedures
- Investigative techniques and report writing
After completing your 40 hours of training you will be prepared for the Private Investigator Exam. This covers your private investigator training, and before registering you should make sure you are familiar with private detective laws and regulations. You must also pay a $50 fee and obtain at least a 75 percent score in order to pass the exam. Apprentice private investigators may postpone their basic training and exam for up to one year.
Step 3. Private Investigator Classifications and License Applications in Louisiana
The LSBPIE recognizes several classifications of private investigator licenses in the state:
- Apprentice license, $192.50 in total fees, nonrenewable
- Individual license, $192.50 in total fees, $100 renewal fee
- Journeyman license, $342.50 in total fees, $250 renewal fee
- Agency license, $342.50 in total fees, $250 renewal fee
The distinguishing features for each of these types of licenses are:
- An apprentice must complete the 40-hour basic training course and take the exam within one year of being hired, must be sponsored by a private investigation agency, and the license may not be renewed
- An individual license allows an individual to conduct business as a private investigator with a registered sponsor agency
- Journeymen only work with sponsoring private investigation agencies and do not provide direct services to the public, private businesses, or government agencies
- An agency license allows for the hire or sponsorship of more than one licensed private investigator, whose director(s) must already hold either an individual or journeyman license and have at least three years of experience in the field
Applicants for all types of licenses must submit the following materials with their applications:
- Two fingerprint cards
- Criminal identification information
- Any required sponsor agency forms
Step 4. Maintaining Your Practice in Louisiana
You will need to renew your license with the LSBPIE every year. Continuing private detective training requirements stipulate that every two years you must also submit proof of completion of at least eight hours of approved continuing education by your renewal date. If you choose to carry a firearm you must follow the normal state procedures.
Joining a professional organization of your peers such as the Louisiana Private Investigators Association (LPIA) can provide you with valuable networking opportunities, continuing education news, and additional advice on how to become a private detective in Louisiana.
A good way to be informed about the latest policies and procedures in your profession – always important for PIs who want to conduct business legally – is to stay in touch with the LSBPIE; you are always invited to attend the next board meeting.