How to Become a Private Investigator in New York

To Become a Private Investigator in New York is different from most other places. The difference is that New York 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 PI agency. This is basically the only NY Private Investigator requirement to work as a PI. However, you won’t have a New York Private Investigator's license but you can work as one. You won't even need to take a Private Investigator course or official state Private Investigator training to just work as a Private Detective in NY. This can be viewed as you being a Private Investigator under supervision. A full New York PI license allows you to work for yourself (your own business.). This requires you to have previous investigative experience. Other than investigative experience, to become a Private Investigator in New York, you need to meet basic Private Investigator requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual PI requirements of this nature. Furthermore, you do not need to take a government approved PI licensing course (most other places you do). However, you will need to take a New York government PI licensing test. In New York, the government body that controls licensed NY Private Investigators is The New York State Division of Licensing Services. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and completion of the NY Private Investigator licensing test to the NYSDLS, you will get your New York Private Investigator license. Most jurisdictions will have a PI beginner’s license, New York does not. However, being registered support staff is similar to a beginner’s PI license. This is where your struggle will begin.

Private Detective Aptitude Test


The problem with New York 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 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 New York 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 New York 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 New York 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.

New York PI

So, the time comes for you to work investigations 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 and get a New York 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 Private Eye education.


Requirements to Work as a PI in New York


You simply need to be registered as support staff for a NY PI agency. This means you need to be legally allowed to work in NY. Your PI agency is most likely going to want you to have investigative experience. This is where proper PI education can help. Your PI agency will help you with registration.



New York Private Investigator License Requirements

(work for yourself)


You need to have a NY PI license to operate a PI business


  1. Age: you must be 25yo or older.

  2. Citizen: you will have to be an American citizen.

  3. High School Graduate: you will need a secondary school diploma or equivalent education, such as a GED.

  4. Investigative Experience: you will need three years (full time) of experience as an Investigator for a PI agency or government agency. Or, 20+ years of law enforcement experience. You will need notarized/ verified documents indicating your experience to be submitted.

  5. PI Test: you will need to pass a NY state PI test.

  6. Fee: you will have to pay a $500 PI licensing fee.

Learn more about Private Investigator Online Training


Private Detective Aptitude Test


More NY Licensing Information


Private Investigator Salary USA


Private Investigator Jobs: How to Get Hired?

NY PI

Thinking of Becoming a New York Private Investigator?


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

ICPI Level 100 will help you start successfully in this amazing new career, even if you know nothing about investigations.

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This investigative 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 a NY investigative Operative.

To date, this online PI 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.

Certification


Get a certificate that "actually" matters. When you get certified by Novel Data in the 100 Level course, 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!

NY detective








Become a Great New York PI

Yes, you can become a great New York Private Investigator. How? Through Private Investigator education. Not through the short New York government licensing course, but through at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. This can be online Private Investigator training classes or in an in-class training environment. In order to become a successful New York Private Investigator and meet Private Investigator requirements, you need to become educated on the complexities of the private investigation industry (this will also help you decide if you want to pursue the PI career) and how to set yourself up to become a successful Private Investigator. Secondly, you will need to become educated on how to perform investigations.


To learn the complexities of the New York private investigation industry you will need to understand a few Private Investigator industry topics. Regional licensing requirements for Private Investigators will teach you what you need to obtain your New York Private Investigator license. To help you decide if you want to enter the career of private investigation you, will have to learn the common misconceptions about the Private Investigation industry. Understanding the learning curve of a Private Investigator will set you up to become a successful PI.

NY PI license

Before entering the New York PI industry, it is useful to know the challenges encountered as a Professional Private Investigator. This will also help you make career decisions. Then you need to learn what you will be doing as a Private Investigator. Learning the areas of specialization as a Professional Private Investigator and types of clients and corresponding file requirements will help with this. You will need to learn how New York Investigators obtain assignments and hours of work to determine if this work environment is right for you.


If you are concerned about your ability to perform as a New York Private Investigator and how to be a Private Investigator that is successful, learning what factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator and what makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator will be essential. It is also important to know the physical and health requirements and health considerations. Then there is equipment. Learning about equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a Professional Private Investigator is a must.


Furthermore, you will need to educate yourself on communication devices and their role in private investigation. Lastly and most importantly, you must learn “The Investigative Mindset.” This will teach you how to think like a Private Investigator. After you learn these concepts, you will be well on your way to becoming a Private Investigator even without experience.


After learning the complexities of the New York private investigation industry, you will need to develop practical skills in various areas. The most important areas are Desk Investigations, Pre-surveillance, surveillance, mobile vehicle surveillance, on-foot surveillance, obtaining evidence, and litigious reporting. To learn Desk Investigations, you will need to understand what is a Desk Investigation, Desk Investigation nomenclature, corroborated/ circumstantial evidence, The Evidence Document, The Desk Investigators Mindset, Google Basics for North America, and social media search basics for North America. Surveillance will be the largest subject to learn. Under this field you should learn about setting up a proper surveillance vehicle, surveillance spot checks, and surveillance set ups for various investigative operations.


As a New York Private Investigator, you will spend the majority of your time performing investigations solo. This is why learning single person surveillance is crucial. Furthermore, you will occasionally work in surveillance teams, so you will need to learn how to perform surveillance with two or more surveillance operatives. New York Private Investigators perform a lot of their surveillance from a surveillance vehicle, but also on foot, you will need to learn this also. The entire reason New York Private Investigators are hired, is to obtain evidence. Obviously, learning how to obtain evidence, mostly in video form, is a must. As a New York Private Eye, you will need to obtain quality video that is litigious and that will satisfy your client. At the end of all this, you will need to learn how to create an investigative report that will most likely be used in litigation. After you learn all of this, you will have no trouble becoming a successful New York Private Investigator.


It should be apparent now, why and how you can become a New York Private Investigator. Yes, the government licensing course is necessary but it will not set you up for success as a Private Investigator. You will always need at least 100hrs of practical Private Investigator education. You will need to learn the PI industry, as well as how to perform. In fact, becoming a Private Investigator through proper education will set you up to become more successful than Investigators with many years of experience but who have not developed a strong foundation with proper Private Investigator education.




What You Need to Learn to Become a successful New York PI


-Regional licensing requirements for New York Professional Private Investigators


-Common misconceptions about the Private Investigation industry


-The learning curve of a Professional Private investigator


-Personal challenges encountered as a New York Professional Private Investigator


-Areas of specialization as a New York Professional Private Investigator


-Types of New York clients and corresponding file requirements


-How New York Investigators obtain assignments and hours of work


-What factors will determine your aptitude as a Professional Private Investigator


-What makes a “good” Professional Private Investigator?


-Physical health requirements and health considerations


-Equipment needed in order to get started in a career as a Professional Private Investigator


-Equipment Map


-Computers, tablets and peripherals


-Common terminology


-NATO – Phonetic Alphabet