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Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Idaho

Idaho is currently one of the six states in the country that do not require a specific license for private investigators. However, this does not mean there are private detectives operating carelessly throughout the Gem State; on the contrary, private investigators often interpret the lack of state regulation as a cue for greater personal accountability.

Interested candidates can look through this step-by-step guide to learn how to become a private investigator in Idaho:

Make the Necessary Educational and Training Preparations in Idaho
Obtain a Business License and other Requirements in Idaho
Grow your Profession in Idaho

Besides maintaining a strict code of ethics, private investigators must also attract business, be aware of relevant state and federal laws, obtain a business license, and keep good records for investigations and taxes. There is a concentration of licensed PIs around Boise and other urban centers like Idaho Falls, Nampa, or Pocatello.



Step 1. Educational and Training Preparations in Idaho

Education Preparations

Before opening up shop as a private investigator you should prepare yourself to be as competitive in your field as possible. Having either education or experience will show your potential customers that you have qualifications to back up your job description.

There are a number of degree and certificate programs available in schools across the state though which residents can gain pertinent qualifications for private investigator jobs in Idaho, as well as to better facilitate future career mobility. Relevant degree options include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law
  • Business
  • Psychology
  • Law Enforcement

Training Preparations

There are also a variety of training and certification classes available across the state in areas that develop critical private investigator skills. These include:

  • Firearms and non-lethal weapons courses
  • CPR and first aid
  • Citizen police academies
  • Homeland security classes



Step 2. Obtaining a Business License in Idaho and Other Requirements

Obtaining a business license is a relatively straightforward process that you can complete online. The State of Idaho offers information on government regulations that apply to your business as well as what type of business entity you should establish. There are associated fees that depend on what type of business you create and how many, if any, employees you will have.

Clients and companies who hire you as a private investigator may also be interested in the following:

  • Results of any state and federal background checks
  • References who can attest to your moral character
  • Employment and military history, if any
  • Whether or not you carry a firearm



Step 3. Growing Your Business in Idaho and Keeping your License Current

As you become more established as a successful private detective your reputation and client list will grow. You may choose to hire more employees or raise your compensation rates and choose a particular area of specialization. In either case you will need to stay abreast of the relevant city, county, state, and federal laws regulating the operation of your business.

You will also need to keep up with laws pertaining to private detective training and certification in Idaho, as these can and do change. In 1998 a house bill was introduced that would have mandated private investigator school and training requirements in Idaho, though it was not passed. Periodically checking for any legal updates with the State Legislature is recommended, and you may also consider joining a local professional organization such as the Private Investigators Association of Idaho (PIAI), where you can find networking opportunities, support among colleagues, and tips on how to become a successful private detective in Idaho.

The field of private investigation is a growing field with a 20.7% increase in jobs projected nationally from 2010 through 2020.  In Idaho, the average annual salaries for September 2013 are available from Indeed.com. 

They are as follows:

  • Private detective:  $21,000
  • Private investigator:  $25,000

Private investigators in Idaho come from a variety of backgrounds.  Many are retired military veterans or law enforcement officials.  Other individuals obtain degrees in criminal justice or police science before they start work as a private investigator.  In the U.S. as a whole, 52% of active private investigators have a bachelor’s degree.

No specific license is required to become a private investigator in Idaho.  As is the case for most professionals, a business license is generally required.



Private Investigator Salary Information for Idaho

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides information on the types of employment of private investigators in the U.S.  Most private investigators work for firms that specialize in investigative and security services.  Forty-seven percent of the country’s PIs are so employed.  The other four industries with the highest levels of employment of private investigators are:

  • Local government
  • Legal services
  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • State government

Almost 21% of the country’s private investigators worked for these types of industries.  Of these four categories, the highest annual mean wage was earned by investigators working in legal services.

The top paying jobs in the country are in the following areas:

  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services
  • Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing
  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
  • Computer systems design and related services

The salaries for private investigators employed in these types of firms averaged 39-45% more than the mean annual salary in the U.S in 2012 according to the BLS.

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