How to Become a Private Investigator in Georgia
Updated: Oct 23
Becoming a Private Investigator in Georgia is different from most other places. The difference is that Georgia does not require much for you to work as a PI for a Private Investigator agency. You simply need to be employed/ registered under a licensed Georgia PI agency as a Private Investigator. You will get a "beginner's" license for this simply called PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR license. You need a PI employer to get this license. You will need to take a government approved PI course after you obtain this license (within six months). However, you won’t be a full licensed Private Detective (work for yourself) but you can work as one for an agency. This can be viewed as you being a Private Investigator under supervision. A full PI license allows you to work for yourself (your own business). This requires you to have education. Other than education, you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature. Furthermore, you will need to take the same government approved PI licensing course (most other places you do). In Georgia, the government body that controls licensed Private Investigators is the Georgia Board of Private Detectives & Security Agencies.
Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and education to The Board, you will get your full Georgia PI license. A full PI license does not really exist in Georgia. The equivalent to a full PI license in Georgia is operating your own PI agency with a PI business license. Most jurisdictions will have a PI beginner’s license. In Georgia, this license is the PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR license. Getting this beginner's license is when your struggle will begin.
Your Private Investigator beginner’s license equivalent in Georgia is just being support staff to a Georgia PI agency with the PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR license. This will allow you to work for a Georgia PI agency, but you will not be able to work for yourself (your own PI company). This means you must work under the supervision of a fully licensed Georgia PI agency. However, the term “under supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced Georgia Private Investigator. In fact, PI agencies are not economically structured to have mentor/ student surveillance teams. Furthermore, a background in non-PI investigations will give you some transferable knowledge but it will not set you up to become a successful Private Investigator. New Private Investigators still need to know how to be successful working surveillance operations. This is why practical Private Investigator education and training specifically for Private Investigators is necessary.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR (Beginner) License Requirements
You need to be 18yo or older.
You need to be an American citizen/ legal resident.
You cannot have a history of mental illness.
You must have a clean criminal and personal record.
You will need to take an approved PI course within six months of being licensed. Contact The Board for a list of approved providers.
After getting licensed, you will need 16hrs of continuing PI education every year.
The application will be completed by your Georgia PI employer.
Georgia Board of Private Detectives & Security Agencies
This lack of guidance is why so many rookie Georgia Private Investigators burn out and quit and why many experienced Georgia 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.
So, the time comes for you to work investigations in Georgia with no Private Investigator experience or education. If you took the PI course/ PI training, it most likely will have focused on legal matters with no real practical Private Investigator training or topics. You will always be told by Georgia 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 skill and education. What is sad is that this is a common story in the industry. If you make it through this meat grinder of an industry and obtain an educational degree, you be qualified to work for yourself with your own PI agency. Hopefully, when you are hiring new Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.
PI Agency Education Requirements
-You need a four year degree in a criminal justice type field.
-You will need to take an approved PI course within six months of becoming a licensed PI agency.
-After getting licensed, you will need 16hrs of continuing PI education every year.
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