Louisiana’s private investigators aren’t just called on to tackle salacious cases dealing with cases of marital infidelity and insurance fraud, they are taking on some of the state’s most pressing cases surrounding unsolved murders and missing persons and making a difference in the lives of Louisianans along the way.
|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|
Take PI Stephen Menard, for example, the founder of Justice for Unsolved Murder Victims/Missing Person Project, who tirelessly pursues unsolved murders and missing persons cases in the state. In the last year alone, he has focused his efforts on 30 cases, many of which are from Iberia Parish. The field of private investigations was the ideal second career for this former officer with the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office, who spent more than 14 years working narcotics and gang cases. He chose the field to give more to his community and bring justice to the murdered and missing and the ones who love them.
As a PI in Louisiana, you’ll be among an elite few – just 510 as of 2019, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. But the Commission also shows that this number is projected to hold steady through 2021, so you can feel confident knowing there’ll be plenty of opportunities awaiting you when it comes time to get your business up and running and not a lot of competition.
Private investigators in Louisiana are licensed through the Board of Private Investigator Examiners. To earn licensure here, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old and be able to show at least three years of experience working as a PI in some capacity.
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.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 70 private investigators were employed in Louisiana in 2012. Their ranks are expected to grow throughout much of the state.
Private Investigator Salary Information for Louisiana*
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual, average salary for PIs in Louisiana was $46,660 as of May 2019. For those pros who’ve forged a strong path in the field and have a handful of impressive success stories under their belt, the earnings here are even better. The BLS reports that those in the top 10% earned an average salary of $68,930 during this time.
To earn licensure as a PI in Louisiana, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, and you’ll need to come to the table with a background that’s free of any felony convictions. You’ll also need to show proof of having completed at least three years of experience in the field of private investigations within the last 10 years. All Louisiana private investigators must also take a 40-hour training course administered by the Board and pass it with a minimum score of 75%.
Private Investigator Salaries in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lakes Charles, and New Orleans
PIs in Louisiana’s metro areas of Baton Rouge and New Orleans earn salaries that exceed the state average.
The following BLS stats provide a glimpse into what PIs in the median-top 10% salary range are earning in Louisiana’s largest mero areas:
- Baton Rouge: $51,780-$74,240 (approximately 30 licensed PIs)
- Lafayette: $44,170-$53,950 (approximately 80 licensed PIs)
- Lake Charles: $50,110-$62,530
- New Orleans: $48,510-$76,180
*Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which private investigators work. BLS salary data represents state and MSA (metropolitan statistical area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.
2019 job growth projections from the Louisiana Workforce Commission are aggregated through the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource, Projections Central. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
All salary and employment data accessed May 2020.