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.
B.C. Registrar of Security Services
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.
B.C. Beginner's PI 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.
Lack of B.C. 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 B.C. Investigator With no Training
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.
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 Requirements: PI License
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR UNDER SUPERVISION
Restrictions: you can only work as a PI employee.
You must be 19 or older.
You cannot have a criminal record. The Registrar will perform a criminal check on you.
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.
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.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR (FULL PI)
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 Requirements
Take a government licensing course
Obtain a PI Under Supervision status
Obtain 2400hrs of experience
Obtain Unrestricted status
Use the Unrestricted statues to obtain PI business status
With business status, you can work for yourself
Private Investigator Jobs: How to Get Hired?
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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
Computers, tablets and peripherals
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
Google as an investigative tool, such as reverse CA phone lookup
Daily Gear Protocol
Data & evidence security
Skill vs, luck and circumstances
Risk vs. reward
Understanding & managing Heat
Driving methods for different areas or environments
Filming best practices
Transitioning to foot surveillance
Transitioning back to a surveillance vehicle
Mobile foot surveillance
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
About the Author
Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 14 years as a BC Professional Private Investigator 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.