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  • Peter Sandru

How to Become a Private Investigator in Montana

Updated: 3 days ago

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


-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 need to have a Montana PI sponsor/ employer.

-You need a high school diploma/ GED.


Private Investigator Trainee APPLICATION

PI Beginner Application

Mail application:

MONTANA BOARD OF PRIVATE SECURITY

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 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 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


-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 to be finger printed and provide a criminal background check by the

Montana Department of Justice and the FBI.


-You need three personal references.


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


-You need to schedule and take a PI exam.

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


Application information















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