How to Become a Private Investigator in Hawaii
Becoming a Private Investigator in Hawaii is different from most other places. The difference is that Hawaii does not require much for you to work as a PI for a Private Investigator agency. You simply need to be registered as support staff for a Hawaii PI agency. However, you won’t be a licensed PI but you can work as one. 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 previous investigative experience. Other than investigative experience, you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature. Furthermore, you do not need to take a government approved PI licensing course (most other places you do). In Hawaii, the government body that controls licensed Private Investigators is The Board of Private Detectives and Guards. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and experience to The Board, you will get your Hawaii PI license. Most jurisdiction will have a PI beginner’s license, Hawaii does not. However, being registered support staff is similar to a beginner’s PI license. This is where your struggle will begin.
Working Unlicensed Under a Hawaii PI Agency Requirements
You need to be 18yo or older.
You need to be an American citizen.
You cannot have a history of mental illness.
You must have a clean criminal record.
You will need to be a registered employee under a Hawaii PI agency. When applying for a PI job, the PI agency will complete an employee registration document to send to The Board.
The problem with Hawaii requiring previous investigative experience is that there is no such thing as equivalent Private Investigator experience. Sure, a career in law enforcement will gain you some transferable skills to bring to the Hawaii PI world. However, an investigative career outside of PI work will not provide you the skill-set to perform what we do the most: single person surveillance for insurance fraud investigations. Furthermore, PIs typically obtain all evidence via quality and litigious video. This is uncommon for most other investigative careers. Being a police officer will not make you a good PI the same way being a PI will not make you a good police officer.
Your Private Investigator beginner’s license in Hawaii is just being support staff to a PI agency. It will allow you to work for a 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 Hawaii PI agency. However, the term “under supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced 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 Hawaii Private Investigators still need to know how to be successful working operations. This is why practical Private Investigator education and training specifically for Private Investigators is necessary.
The Board of Private Detectives and Guards
This lack of guidance is why so many rookie Hawaii 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.
So, the time comes for you to work investigations in Hawaii with no Private Investigator experience or education. If you took a PI course or PI training, it most likely 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 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 with four years of experience and get a Hawaii PI license, 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.
Full Private Investigator License Requirements
-You need to be 18yo or older.
-You need to be an American citizen.
-You need a high school diploma.
-You cannot have a history of mental illness.
-You must have a clean criminal record.
You will need four years (full time average) of experience as an Investigator for a PI agency or government agency.
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