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How to Become a Private Investigator in British Columbia

In order to become a Private Investigator in British Columbia, you need to take a government approved BC Private Investigator licensing course.

Furthermore, the process of how to become a Private Investigator in British Columbia is similar to most other provinces: you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature.

British Columbia PI standing wearing a suit

BC Registrar of Security Services: Private Investigator Licensing

In BC, the government body that controls a British Columbia Private Investigator's license is the Registrar of Security Services. So, it is the Registrar that will have a list of approved BC Private Investigator licensing courses.

Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and completion of the licensing course to the Registrar, you will get your British Columbia PI beginner’s license. This is where your challenge will begin.

BC Beginner's Private Investigator License

How to be a Private Investigator in BC starts with a beginner's license:

  • Your PI beginner’s license in BC is called “PI Under Supervision.”

You’ve guessed it, an “Under Supervision” license means you must work under the purview of a fully licensed British Columbia PI.

However, the term “Under Supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced PI. In fact, PI agencies are not economically structured to have mentor or student surveillance teams.

And that licensing course you took? It will not focus on teaching investigation, only what laws BC Private Investigators need to be aware of. This is useful; however, new Private Investigators still need to know how to be successful working operations.

BC Private Investigative Training

This lack of guidance is why so many new BC Private Investigators burn out and quit and why many experienced Private Investigators are jaded.

On top of this, PI clients with small budgets typically get the new unqualified Private Investigators, nobody wins in this situation.

  • It is also not fair to small PI clients to use their files to haphazardly train new Private Investigators.

Working as a BC Private Investigator

So, the time comes for you to work investigations with no Private Investigator experience or education. The licensing course you took focused on legal matters with little real practical Private Investigator training or topics.

You will always be told by employers that “soon you will get some PI training,” which never happens.

It took me over five years to figure out the industry and get good at a few specialized fields. During that time, I struggled and probably lost several hundred thousand dollars due to losing work opportunities from a lack of PI skill and education.

What is sad is that this is a common story in the industry. If you make it through this difficult path with over 2400hrs of experience, you will qualify for a full PI license. This basically means you can open your own PI agency. Hopefully, when you are hiring new BC Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.

British Columbia Private Investigator license

Apply for a BC Private Investigator License

  1. Complete the British Columbia PI licensing course

  2. Apply for a Security License with the qualification of PI Under Supervision

To obtain a PI license in BC you first need a BC Security License. With a British Columbia Security License you can obtain numerous qualifications, one being Private Investigator Under Supervision or full Private Investigator.

BC Private Investigator License Requirements


Restrictions: you can only work as a PI employee.


You must be 19yo or older.

Criminal Record

You cannot have a criminal record. The BC Registrar will perform a criminal check on you.

Canadian Citizen

You need to be a Canadian citizen and submit a copy of government ID to the Registrar.


You must be able to speak and write in English

BC Government Approved PI License Course

You will need to complete a license course approved by the Registrar and submit proof of completion. This can be an online course. Contact the Registrar for a list of approved courses.

BC Approved Passport Photo

You have to provide the Registrar with a certified passport photo.


You will have to pay a small licensing fee. Consult the Registrar for the fee amount.


The documents you submit can be sent to the Registrar via mail or online uploading.


Permissions: You can apply for a PI business license and work for yourself.

Private Investigator Under Supervision License

You must provide the Registrar with a copy of your PI Under Supervision license.

2400 Hours of PI Experience

You have to submit proof of your British Columbia PI experience. The easiest way is to submit your employee payment documents that show the hours you worked.


  1. Take a BC government licensing course

  2. Obtain BC Private Investigator Under Supervision status

  3. Obtain 2400hrs of PI experience

  4. Obtain Unrestricted status

  5. Use the Unrestricted statues to obtain PI business status

  6. With business status, you can work for yourself

Thinking of Becoming a BC Private Investigator?

“ICPI Level 100 online Private Investigator Training” is the ultimate blueprint to start your exciting and rewarding career as a real Private Investigator.

ICPI Level 100 will help you start successfully in this amazing new career, even if you know nothing about investigations.

Our team has vetted out the best BC Private Investigator training and investigative methods so that you can jump-start your journey towards having the meaningful career you’ve always wanted, immediately.

This investigative training system will provide you, a successful detective, with all the templates that you need to succeed. A clear path on becoming a PI, understanding the PI business, becoming a successful PI, and thinking like a detective- all the tools you need to make six figures being an investigative Operative.

To date, this online PI training system consists of over 100 informational slides, videos, exercises and quizzes that provide a step-by-step path on how to achieve your dream job as a Private Investigator.

ICPI Level 100 takes about two weeks to complete with over 30 hours of high-quality training content that will make you a Private Investigator well on your way to becoming an expert in this fascinating career.


Get a certificate that "actually" matters. When you get certified by Novel Data in the 100 Level course, Private Investigator agencies will be aware that you understand the PI industry. This will give you a great competitive edge in the PI job market. Most PI applicants know very little about the PI job they are applying to. Not you. A PI hiring manager will not want to risk turnaround by hiring someone unfamiliar with the industry, they will choose an applicant who is familiar with what will be expected of them. With Novel Data's certification, that applicant will be you!

Become a Great British Columbia PI

Yes, you can become a great British Columbia Private Investigator. How? Through Private Investigator education. Not through the short British Columbia government licensing course, but through at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. This can be online Private Investigator training classes or in an in-class training environment. In order to become a successful British Columbia Private Investigator and meet Private Investigator requirements, you need to become educated on the complexities of the private investigation industry (this will also help you decide if you want to pursue the PI career) and how to set yourself up to become a successful Private Investigator. Secondly, you will need to become educated on how to perform investigations.

To learn the complexities of the British Columbia Private Eye industry you will need to understand a few Private Investigator industry topics. Regional licensing requirements for Private Investigators will teach you what you need to obtain your British Columbia Private Investigator license. To help you decide if you want to enter the career of private investigation you, will have to learn the common misconceptions about the Private Investigation industry. Understanding the learning curve of a Private Investigator will set you up to become a successful PI.

Before entering the British Columbia PI industry, it is useful to know the challenges encountered as a Professional Private Investigator. This will also help you make career decisions. Then you need to learn what you will be doing as a Private Investigator. Learning the areas of specialization as a Professional Private Investigator and types of clients and corresponding file requirements will help with this. You will need to learn how British Columbia Investigators obtain assignments and hours of work to determine if this work environment is right for you.

If you are concerned about your ability to perform as a British Columbia Private Investigator, learning what factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator and what makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator will be essential. It is also important to know the physical and health requirements and health considerations. Then there is equipment. Learning about equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a Professional Private Investigator is a must.

Furthermore, you will need to educate yourself on communication devices and their role in private investigation. Lastly and most importantly, you must learn “The Investigative Mindset.” This will teach you how to think like a Private Investigator. After you learn these concepts, you will be well on your way to becoming a Private Investigator even without experience.

After learning the complexities of the British Columbia private investigation industry, you will need to develop practical skills in various areas. The most important areas are Desk Investigations, Pre-surveillance, surveillance, mobile vehicle surveillance, on-foot surveillance, obtaining evidence, and litigious reporting. To learn Desk Investigations, you will need to understand what is a Desk Investigation, Desk Investigation nomenclature, corroborated/ circumstantial evidence, The Evidence Document, The Desk Investigators Mindset, Google Basics for North America, and social media search basics for North America. Surveillance will be the largest subject to learn. Under this field you should learn about setting up a proper surveillance vehicle, surveillance spot checks, and surveillance set ups for various investigative operations.

As a British Columbia Private Investigator, you will spend the majority of your time performing investigations solo. This is why learning single person surveillance is crucial. Furthermore, you will occasionally work in surveillance teams, so you will need to learn how to perform surveillance with two or more surveillance operatives. British Columbia Private Investigators perform a lot of their surveillance from a surveillance vehicle, but also on foot, you will need to learn this also. The entire reason British Columbia Private Investigators are hired, is to obtain evidence. Obviously, learning how to obtain evidence, mostly in video form, is a must. As a British Columbia Private Investigator, you will need to obtain quality video that is litigious and that will satisfy your client. At the end of all this, you will need to learn how to create an investigative report that will most likely be used in litigation. After you learn all of this, you will have no trouble becoming a successful British Columbia Private Investigator.

It should be apparent now, why and how you can become a British Columbia Private Investigator. Yes, the government licensing course is necessary but it will not set you up for success as a Private Investigator. You will always need at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. You will need to learn the PI industry, as well as how to perform. In fact, becoming a Private Investigator through proper education will set you up to become more successful than Investigators with many years of experience but who have not developed a strong foundation with proper Private Investigator education.

What You Need to Learn to Become a successful British Columbia PI

  • Regional licensing requirements for British Columbia Professional Private Investigators

  • Common misconceptions about the Private Investigation industry

  • The learning curve of a Professional Private investigator

  • Personal challenges encountered as a British Columbia Professional Private Investigator

  • Areas of specialization as a British Columbia Professional Private Investigator

  • Types of British Columbia clients and corresponding file requirements

  • How British Columbia Investigators obtain assignments and hours of work

  • What factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator

  • What makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator?

  • Physical health requirements and health considerations

  • Equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a Professional Private Investigator

  • Equipment Map

  • Computers, tablets and peripherals

  • Common terminology

  • NATO Phonetic Alphabet

  • The Investigative Mindset

What You Need to Learn to "Perform" British Columbia Investigations

  • How Desk Investigations are performed

  • Corroborated & circumstantial evidence

  • What is evidence & how to structure it

  • The Evidence Document

  • The Investigative Mindset

  • BC background investigations

  • The difference between a Vancouver Private Detective and a Private Investigator

  • BC Address Lookup

  • Canada Reverse Name Lookup

  • Google as an investigative tool, such as a BC reverse phone lookup

  • Open Source Intelligence

  • Daily Gear Protocol

  • Data & evidence security

  • Surveillance

  • Clients perspective

  • Skill vs, luck and circumstances

  • Risk vs. reward

  • Subject identification

  • Understanding & managing Heat

  • Traffic conditions

  • Driving methods for different areas or environments

  • Filming best practices

  • Organizational necessities

  • Transitioning to foot surveillance

  • Transitioning back to a surveillance vehicle

  • Mobile foot surveillance

  • PI Gearbag

  • Required equipment

  • Identifying the subject

  • Clothing and props

  • The physics or mechanics of foot surveillance

  • Covert equipment & techniques

  • On foot following techniques & best practices

  • Transitioning in and out of buildings

  • Video framing and quality

  • Executive protection

  • Security consulting

  • Surveillance reporting

  • Vancouver bug sweeping

  • Vancouver office bug sweeps

  • Vehicle bug sweeps

About the Author
BC PI Peter Sandru

Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 15 years as a BC Professional Private Investigator in Vancouver and BC Security Professional. Peter Sandru has spent more than a decade conducting investigations and security operations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of numerous investigative & security training programs in various capacities. Peter has personally trained many BC Private Investigators.


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