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Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Hawaii

The following guide will take you through the process of how to become a private investigator in Hawaii:

Meet the Basic Qualifications in Hawaii
Education and Experience Requirements in Hawaii
Choosing to Work as a Private Investigator or as a Sole-proprietor in Hawaii
Working in Hawaii

Although private detectives do not engage in high-speed chases and public shoot-outs like in the movies or on TV, there is still plenty of suspense to be found with private investigator jobs in Hawaii. Conducting surveillance, sting and undercover operations, and detective work are all part of the job description for today’s PIs. The Board of Private Detectives and Guards is responsible for regulating private investigators working in the Aloha State, and makes a distinction between private detective agencies employing more than one detective, sole proprietors where agents work alone, and detectives working under a supervising private investigator.



Step 1. Meeting the Basic Qualifications in Hawaii

In order to be registered or licensed for private investigator jobs in Hawaii, all applicants need to meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have no psychological or psychiatric disorders which would negatively and directly affect your ability to conduct the duties of a private investigator
  • Have no convictions for crimes which would reflect negatively on you while acting as a private investigator
  • Have a personal and financial history of being honest, truthful, and fair



Step 2. Education and Experience Requirements in Hawaii

Private investigator school requirements in Hawaii mandate the completion of high school or its equivalent. You must also have four years of full-time work in any of the following positions to start your own practice:

  • Police officer
  • Government-employed investigator at any level (federal, state, county, or city)
  • Attorney or law-firm investigator
  • Private investigator working under the supervision of a private detective

If you have equivalent military certification classes or training experience, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs may consider this as fulfilling relevant private detective training and certification requirements.

Competitive Education

Regardless of whether you are going into business for yourself or another agency, having a solid educational background in relevant subject areas can increase your effectiveness as a private investigator and your future career prospects.

There are a number of campus locations and online schools across Hawaii offering certificate and degree programs in areas of study relevant to private investigators, including:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Law
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Law Enforcement



Step 3. Choosing to Work Under a Private Investigator or for Yourself in Hawaii

If you cannot meet the four-year experience requirement to start your own practice, you can still work under the supervision of a private investigator. You will need to complete a $64 fingerprint and background check with Fieldprint, Inc for your hiring agency, who will in turn need to complete the following:

  • Make sure you meet the minimum requirements from step one
  • Register you with the Board of Private Detectives and Guards twice each year by July 31st and January 31st

You should also make yourself familiar with the laws applying to your field: Hawaii Revised Statutes chapters 463, 463b, 703 and 396, and the Hawaii Administrative Rules title 16 chapter 97.

If you go into business for yourself you will need to pass a $50 private investigator exam which covers these state laws and statutes, for which the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) also provides additional study material references. You can check with the DCCA for the exam schedule, and you will register for the exam as part of your application for a license as a private investigator in Hawaii.



Step 4. Working in Hawaii

If you are an employee of a private investigator your only requirement to continue working will be to maintain a clean criminal record and not become involved in any immoral or questionable activities.

If you are working as a sole-proprietor or in charge of your own agency you will need to meet certain other private investigator training requirements and renew your license every two years. The following fees will apply:

Whatever path to employment you choose, it is important to regularly check with Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Professional and Vocational Licensin Branch for any updates in the private investigations field. The branch also offers tips on how to become a private detective in Hawaii. You may also consider checking with the Hawaii Legislature  for any changes or updates in PI law.

To become a private investigator in Hawaii, a license from the Board of Private Detectives and Guards is required.  This Board is part of the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs for the state of Hawaii.

There are strict requirements to obtain a license in Hawaii.  Four years of full-time work as an investigator is required, along with a high school diploma or GED.  Applicants must submit their fingerprints to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center and undergo a criminal background check.  In addition, they must pass a written exam with a score of at least 75%.

The number of licenses that had been issued as of 2012 was greater than the number of people working as private investigators in Hawaii.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 91 licenses were active at that time.

Private detectives in Hawaii seek out a variety of different types of information, including:

  • The whereabouts of missing persons
  • Crimes and thefts
  • Obtaining confidential information

They may work for the public, businesses, or attorneys.  Common types of investigations include:

  • Ascertaining whether individuals claiming workman’s compensation are truly injured
  • Determining whether a loved one or spouse is committing infidelity
  • Finding the heirs to inheritances
  • Determining whether a potential investor is trustworthy



Private Investigator Salary Information for Hawaii

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, forty private investigators were employed in Hawaii in 2012. Seventy-five percent of them were located in Honolulu.  Hawaii’s Technology Workforce projects the number of jobs in this field to grow by 33% between 2011 and 2021.

Salary data for private investigators in the state as a whole and for Honolulu are listed below.  The annual median wage is listed first, followed by the annual salary of experienced professional investigators in the 90th wage percentile.

Hawaii City
Average Annual Salary

Detailed information on the hourly and annual salaries of private investigators in 2012 is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Such information is presented for Honolulu below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Hawaii

Area name
Annual mean wage
Honolulu HI

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