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How to Become a Private Investigator in British Columbia

The process of how to become a PI in British Columbia is similar to most other places: you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature.

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

British Columbia

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 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 struggle 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/ student surveillance teams. And that licensing course you took? It does not teach 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 no 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 meat grinder 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 Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.

how to become a detective in BC

Apply for a BC Private Investigator License

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. You can apply for a BC Security License online: Apply for a Private Investigator Beginner's License Here

BC Private Investigator License Requirements


Restrictions: you can only work as a PI employee.


You must be 19 or older.

Criminal Record

You cannot have a criminal record. The 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

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.

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 PI experience. The easiest way is to submit your employee payment documents that show the hours you worked.

BC Private Investigator License Requirements

  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

BC Private Investigator Salary Info

Private Detective Aptitude Test