How to Become a Private Investigator in Indiana
Updated: Jun 19
Becoming a Private Investigator in Indiana is different from most other places. The difference is that Indiana 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 Indiana 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). Technically, an individual Private Investigator license does not exist in Indiana. The equivalent for a PI license in Indiana is becoming a Private Investigator business, with a "Private Investigator Firm License." This requires you to have previous investigative experience (4000hrs) or an educational degree. Other than investigative experience/ education, 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 or test (most other places you do). In Indiana, the government body that controls licensed Private Investigators is the Private Investigator and Security Guard Licensing Board. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and experience/ education to The Board, you will get your Indiana PI business license. Most jurisdiction will have a PI beginner’s license, Indiana does not. However, being employed under a licensed Indiana PI agency is similar to a beginner’s PI license. This is where your struggle will begin.
Your Private Investigator beginner’s license equivalent in Indiana is just being support staff to an Indiana PI agency. Your Indiana PI agency employer will register you with the government. This 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 Indiana 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 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.
This lack of guidance is why so many rookie Indiana Private Investigators burn out and quit and why many experienced Indiana 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 Indiana 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 Indiana PI 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 loosing 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 get 4000hrs of PI experience or education, you be qualified to work for yourself with your own Indiana PI agency. Hopefully, when you are hiring new Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.
Private Investigator Firm License REQUIREMENTS
-You need to be 21yo 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 need $100,000 business liability insurance.
-You need two years/ 4000hrs of investigative experience
-You need a four year degree in a criminal justice type field.