How To Become A Private Investigator In Oregon In 2020

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How To Become A Private Investigator In Oregon In 2020

We all have an image of a private investigator in our head; a stereotype based on something we’ve read about in a novel or seen in a movie. 

Do not be put off if you think you don’t fit the image that is considered to be a ‘typical’ private investigator. This is because what it takes to become a PI is beyond stereotypes.

With an enquiring mind, a keen eye-for-detail, excellent people skills, and the right training, you are on your way to becoming a skilled private investigator. While all these are necessary to become a PI, you must meet certain state requirements for you to practice in any state in the USA.

So in this post, I will show you how to become an Oregon based PI.

Basically, private investigators gather, analyze, compile, and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients. They also detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.

These guys are just so good at finding anything at all. They use a variety of investigative methods to find anything they want.

Private investigators work in many environments, depending on the case. While some spend more time in offices (researching cases on computers and making phone calls), others spend more time in the field (conducting interviews or performing surveillance).

Due to the nature of their job, security concerns, and the need to protect confidential information, there is now an increased demand for private investigators.

The US BLS reports that the employment of private detectives and investigators is projected to grow 8 percent from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

And with Oregon having a 31.80 crime rate per 1,000 residents, there’s definitely a need for private investigators in the state.

Here is a table of what to expect:

Who is a Private Investigator?

According to Wikipedia, a private investigator (often abbreviated to PI and informally called a private eye), a private detective, or inquiry agent, is a person who can be hired by individuals or groups to undertake investigatory law services.

They are specially trained intelligent professionals who have undergone several pieces of training on how to analyze several pieces of information about crimes and criminals and devise means and strategies of arresting them and curbing their activities.

PIs are usually not members of the armed forces. They are neither police nor army. They are mostly private security consultants hired by the government and private agencies to uncover malicious acts and crimes either in the society or organization.

Skills of Private Investigators

Skills of Private Investigators

As a private investigator, you must possess the following skills and qualities:

What Does A Private Investigator Do?

Basically, private detectives and investigators search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They also offer many services, such as verifying people’s backgrounds and statements, finding missing persons, and investigating computer crimes.

Aside from the roles above, private detectives and investigators typically do the following:

  • Interviewing people to gather information.
  • Searching online, public, and court records to uncover clues.
  • Conducting surveillance.
  • Collecting evidence for clients.
  • Checking for civil judgments and criminal history.

Why become a Private Investigator in Oregon?

If you have an enquiring mind and a keen eye-for-detail, then you’ll enjoy working as a private investigator.

As a PI in Oregon, you’ll enjoy working independently, making many of your own decisions, solving problems using your own skills, and not having someone constantly looking over your shoulder.

Also, a career as a private investigator is quite promising, especially in Oregon. Read on to see their job outlook and salary.

What is the Job Outlook for Private Investigators in Oregon?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Oregon has a total employment of 390 with a 0.85 location quotient and 0.20 employment per thousand jobs.

According to CareerOneStop, the employment of private detectives and investigators in Oregon is expected to grow by 16% from 2016 to 2026. Also, the annual projected job openings for private investigators in Oregon is 70.

What Do Private Investigators Earn in Oregon?

According to the US BLS, a PI in Oregon earns an annual mean wage of $57,380. That is the PI earns $27.58 per hour.

How To Become a Private Investigator in Oregon

Typically, to become a private detective or investigator in the USA, you need several years of work experience and a high school diploma. In addition, a good number of states require private detectives and investigators to have a license.

Before we look at the steps to becoming an Oregon PI in its entirety, let’s look at the basic requirements which is educatin.

Although the education requirements vary greatly with the job, most jobs require a high school diploma. However, some may require a 2- or 4-year degree in a field such as criminal justice.

Now, let’s see focus on Oregon.

To become a private investigator in Oregon, you have to follow these steps carefully:

  • Meet Oregon Requirements to Obtain a License
  • Obtain the Necessary Education and Training in Oregon
  • Complete and Submit your Oregon Application
  • Take the Oregon Examination
  • Start Work as a Private Investigator in Oregon

#1  Meet Oregon Requirements to Obtain a License

For you to obtain your PI license as a private investigator in Oregon, you must fulfill the state’s laid down requirements. They include:

  • You must be a US citizen.
  • You must be at least 18 years old and also Have the following verifiable experience performing investigative work:
    > 1,500 hours
    > A substitution of up to 500 hours of education

 #2  Obtain the Necessary Education and Training in Oregon

Prior to becoming a licensed private investigator in Oregon, you must have at least 1500 hours of experience performing investigative work.  This means that you will have to contact a detective agency or a private investigator to offer them your services as an apprentice.

However, you can reduce the time you will need to work by 1/3 by obtaining advanced education.

Here is the gist!

Three hours in class counts or is counted as one hour of allowable experience. 

Cool, right?

Also, if you have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, you become a more desirable candidate for jobs in the investigative field.

In addition to this, a degree in criminal justice or criminology will teach you about the legal system that you will be navigating and also help to hone your analytical skills. 

You can obtain this training from schools located in Oregon cities such as Portland, Salem, Eugene, or Gresham.  Or enroll for an online criminal justice or criminology program offered by an accredited institution.

#3  Complete and Submit your Oregon PI Application

The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is the body in charge of training and licensing services of PIs. They do this through the DPSST’s Private Security and Private Investigators Program.

Basically, the program works together with its policy committee members and the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training to establish professional standards, provide training to assist constituents in meeting these standards and enforce licensure and certification requirements for private security professionals and private investigators.

So, to apply for your license as a private investigator in Oregon, you will need the following:

  • Complete a PI-1 (application form)
  • Secure a surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit or errors & omissions insurance in the minimum amount of $5000 with your name listed as principal.
  • Complete one (1) fingerprint card.
  • Complete three (3) professional letters of reference. Note that references cannot be related to you by blood or marriage or be personal in nature.
  • Submit proof of 1500 hours (via resume), some educational substitution may also apply. Your resume should clearly show your education, qualifications, and work experience.
  • Complete two (2) passport quality photographs. (Photos taken within the last six months are to be submitted electronically at piappsubmittal@state.or.us.
  • PI-27 (Private Investigator Professional Code of Ethics)
  • Review the list of criminal disqualifiers in Oregon Administrative Rules Division 61.
  • Submit $70.25 for the application fee and the required $550 licensing fee (via VISA/MC, cashier’s check, money order, or business check. No personal checks or cash will be accepted.)
  • Once your completed application packet is processed you will be registered to take the PI Proficiency Exam. Please review our calendar for class availability. 

#4 Take the Oregon Examination

Once your application packet has been processed, the state will definitely notify you of your registration to take the PI Proficiency exam.  

And once you have been approved for the exam, you can call 503-378-8531 to make an appointment to take it. 

While you wait for your day, it’s best you study for this exam ahead of time to increase your chances of passing.  Note that Oregon statutes Chapter 9, 40, 135, and 161-167 will be covered in the exams.

There are basically two phases in the Oregon PI examination process.  Firstly, you will be given an orientation that covers general licensing requirements and standards. Then, you will be given a lunch break before taking the exam.

The exam which is an open book exam has a combination of 50 true/false and multiple-choice questions. To this effect, Copies of Oregon Revised Statute and Administration Rule that are relevant to the exam will be provided to you.  As an applicant, you are not allowed to bring your own material.

However, due to the Pandemic, the Private Investigator exam will be completed via iLearn, an online learning management tool provided by the State of Oregon. 

So once your application is processed, you will receive an email with an invitation to complete the exam.  If you receive a notice of deficiency (incomplete application), the exam information will not be sent until you clear the deficiencies.

Bear in mind:

You will be given up to three tries to attain a score of 86% to pass it. However, if you don’t pass during these three attempts, you will have to wait a year to take it again.

#5 Start Work as a Private Investigator in Oregon

Once you passed your exam and issued your license, then you can start work as a licensed private investigator in Oregon. Note that your license will be valid for two years.

With your PI license, you can join the Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators, Inc. for networking opportunities and other benefits such as a discounted website for your business.

Also, during the time period for which your license is valid, you will need to earn 32 hours of continuing education with two of these hours obtained in ethics. 

For this education, you can obtain the required hours from a variety of places, including:

  • Attending educational institutions. Note that up to 20 hours can be obtained online.
  • Conferences and seminars.
  • Computer seminars.
  • Publishing an article or a book.
  • TV and radio appearances.
  • Reading (non-fiction books relevant to investigation or professional/technical manuals).

As a licensed Oregon PI, to determine exactly what qualifies for continuing education credits, you can review the continuing education guidelines in Division 61 section 259-061-0260 of Oregon’s Administrative Rules. 

You must also submit a summary form of this education when you apply for your renewal.

However, to be sure your renewal is processed in time, you should apply at least two weeks before the expiration date of your license. 

This is because if you turn in your renewal package late, you will have to pay a $25 late fee. Also, if you apply for your renewal more than 30 days past the expiration date, you will have to retake the exam and go through another background check. 

Regardless, always bear in mind that it is illegal for you to work as a PI in Oregon after your license expires.

What are the Best Schools For Private Investigators?

As outlined, you need a high school diploma or a degree in criminal justice to pursue a career as a PI not just in Oregon but in the USA.

In line with the above, here are the best criminal justice schools in the World:

  • CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Liberty University
  • University of California – Irvine
  •  Florida State University
  •  Northeastern University
  •  Penn State
  •  University of Miami
  •  Texas Christian University
  •  La Sierra University
  • University of Florida

FAQs On How To Become A Private Investigator In Oregon In 2020 | Schools, RequirementsWho is a private investigator?

A private investigator is a person who can be hired by individuals or groups to undertake investigatory law services.

What does a private investigator do?

Basically, private detectives and investigators search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They also offer many services, such as verifying people’s backgrounds and statements, finding missing persons, and investigating computer crimes.

What is the job outlook for private investigators in Oregon?

According to CareerOneStop, the employment of private detectives and investigators in Oregon is expected to grow by 16% from 2016 to 2026.

What do private investigators earn in Oregon?

A private investigator in Oregon earns an annual mean wage of $57,380. That is the PI earns $27.58 per hour.

What are the basic requirements you need to become a private investigator?

To start a career as a PI, you need the following:

 1.High school diploma or equivalent.
 2. Less than 5 years of work experience.
 3. 1 to 12 months on-the-job training.

How can I become a private investigator in Oregon?

To become a private investigator in Oregon, you have to follow these steps carefully:

1. Meet Oregon Requirements to Obtain a License.
2. Obtain the Necessary Education and Training in Oregon.
3. Complete and Submit your Oregon Application.
4. Take the Oregon Examination.
5. Start Work as a Private Investigator in Oregon.
 

Conclusion

To become a private investigator in Oregon, you have to meet both the educational and licensing requirements of the state as well as possess specific skills.

The article above provides you with vital information on these requirements and skills you need to become a PI in Oregon.

I hope this helps you in your decision making process.

Good Luck And Success!!!

Reference

  • PrivateInvestigatorEdu -Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Oregon
  • US BLS – Occupational Outlook Handbook of Private Detectives and Investigators
  • CareerOneStop – Private Detectives and Investigators in Oregon

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