Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Louisiana

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
  • Psychology
  • Forensics
  • Criminal Justice
  • Law



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

Louisiana’s Occupational Employment Projections Program estimated the following rates of job growth from 2010 to 2020 in these Regional Labor Market Areas:

  • Lafayette:  24.2%
  • Monroe:  14.3%
  • Shreveport:  13.6%
  • New Orleans:  13.0%
  • Baton Rouge:  6.3%

The 2012 annual median salary, along with the average wage of experienced private investigators in the top tenth of their salary bracket are available from the BLS for the following areas:

Louisiana City
Average Annual Salary

The state of Louisiana requires a license from the state’s Board of Private Investigator Examiners to become a private investigator.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have not been convicted of felonies or crimes of moral turpitude.

A substantial amount of experience is required before one can apply for a license.  Applicants need to have at least three years of experience working as a private investigator or in some type of investigative capacity.  This must have taken place within the last ten years.

In addition, applicants must take a 40-hour training course in becoming a private investigator.  Then, they must achieve a score of at least 75% on an exam administered by the Board.

Once the applicants have passed the exam and received their license, they have a number of options of different types of work to do.  Some private investigators track down missing people, while others perform background checks on individuals for businesses and corporations.

Defense attorneys are another type of potential employer.  Having an unbiased individual examine the particulars of a case can help substantially with the attorney’s defense of their client.

Detailed information on employment levels, hourly, and annual wages of private investigators are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  For Louisiana, information on Lafayette is available in the table shown below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Louisiana

Area name
Annual mean wage
Lafayette LA

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