• Peter Sandru

How to Become a Private Investigator in Montana

Updated: Oct 23

Becoming a Private Investigator in Montana is different from most other places. The difference is that Montana 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 Montana PI agency as an apprentice. You will get a license for this: Private Investigator Trainee. You need a PI sponsor/ employer to get this license. However, you won’t be a licensed Private Detective 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 (3 years/ 5400hrs). Other than investigative experience, you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature. Furthermore, you will need to take a government PI licensing test (most other places you do). In Montana, the government body that controls licensed Private Investigators is the MONTANA BOARD OF PRIVATE SECURITY. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and experience to The Board, you will get your Montana PI license. Most jurisdictions will have a PI beginner’s license. In Montana, this license is the Private Investigator Trainee license. Getting this beginner's license is when your struggle will begin.

Private Investigator Trainee License Requirements

  1. You need to be 18yo or older.

  2. You need to be an American citizen/ legal resident.

  3. You cannot have a history of mental illness.

  4. You must have a clean criminal and personal record.

  5. You need to have a Montana PI sponsor/ employer.

  6. You need a high school diploma/ GED.

Private Investigator Trainee APPLICATION
Download • 999KB

PI Beginner Application

Mail application:


301 South Park Avenue, 4th Floor

PO Box 200513

Helena, Montana 59620-0513

Learn more about Private Investigator Online Training

Your Private Investigator beginner’s license equivalent in Montana is just being support staff to a Montana PI agency with the Private Investigator Trainee license. This will allow you to work for a Montana 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 Montana PI agency. However, the term “under supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced Montana 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 Detective Aptitude Test

So, the time comes for you to work investigations in Montana 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 Montana 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 get 5400hrs of PI experience, you be qualified to work for yourself with your own Montana PI agency. Hopefully, when you are hiring new Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.

FULL Private Investigator License Requirements

  1. You need to be 21yo or older.

  2. You need to be an American citizen/ legal resident.

  3. You cannot have a history of mental illness.

  4. You must have a clean criminal and personal record.

  5. You need three personal references.

  6. You need $500,000 in business liability insurance.

  7. You need to schedule and take a PI exam.

  8. You must have 5400hrs of investigative experience in a three year period.

  9. You need to be finger printed and provide a criminal background check by the

Montana Department of Justice and the FBI.

Application information

Thinking of Becoming a Montana Private Investigator?

“ICPI Level 100 online Private Investigator Training” is the ultimate blueprint to start your exciting and rewarding career as a real Montana Private Investigator.

ICPI will help you start successfully in this amazing new career, even if you know nothing about investigations.

Our team has vetted out the best training and investigative methods so that you can jump-start your journey towards having the meaningful career you’ve always wanted, immediately.

This training system will provide you, a successful detective, with all the templates that you need to succeed. A clear path on becoming a PI, understanding the PI business, becoming a successful PI, and thinking like a detective- all the tools you need to make six figures being an investigative Operative.

To date, this online training system consists of over 100 informational slides, videos, exercises and quizzes that provide a step-by-step path on how to achieve your dream job as a Private Investigator.

ICPI Level 100 takes about two weeks to complete with over 30 hours of high-quality training content that will make you a Private Investigator well on your way to becoming an expert in this fascinating career.


Get a certificate that "actually" matters. When you get certified by Novel Data in the 100 Level course, Montana Private Investigator agencies will be aware that you understand the PI industry. This will give you a great competitive edge in the PI job market. Most PI applicants know very little about the PI job they are applying to. Not you. A PI hiring manager will not want to risk turnaround by hiring someone unfamiliar with the industry, they will choose an applicant who is familiar with what will be expected of them. With Novel Data's certification, that applicant will be you!