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How to Become a Private Investigator in Washington

To become a Private Investigator or Private Detective in Washington is similar to most other places: you need to meet basic Private Investigator requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual PI requirements of this nature.


Furthermore, you need to take a government PI licensing exam before getting licensed but not a Private Investigator course or official state Private Investigator training.

  • Also, you will need to be sponsored/ employed by a Washington PI agency in order to get a license.


Washington PI Sponsor

To become a Private Investigator in Washington, you need to be hired by a local Private Investigator agency as well as meet the basic requirements. Getting hired as a PI in Washington requires experience. If you do not have investigative experience, you should take a PI course that focuses on practical skills: Intro to a Career as a PI 100.

Washington State Department of Licensing

In Washington, the government body that controls a Washington Private Investigator's license is the Washington State Department of Licensing. So, it is the department of licensing that will administer the PI exam for you to become a Private Investigator in Washington. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements/ completed PI exam and a PI agency sponsor, the department of licensing will give you your PI license. Most jurisdiction will have a PI beginner’s license, Washington does not. You will get to start out with a full Washington Private Investigator license. This is where your struggle will begin.

Washington Beginner’s PI License

Your Private Investigator beginner’s license in Washington is just a regular Private Investigator license. 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 PI license means you must work under the supervision of a fully licensed Washington 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, the Washington PI licensing exam 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.

Washington Private Investigator License Requirements

  1. You must be 18yo or older.

  2. You need a clean criminal and personal record.

  3. You must be an American citizen/ legal resident.

  4. You must be sponsored/ employed by a Washington PI agency. You need to be hired before taking the PI license exam.

  5. You need to take a PI license exam before submitting your application. The exam is in regards to Washington legislation. Contact the department of licensing for information on taking the exam.

  6. To get hired in Washington you need PI experience. If you don't have experience, you should take a PI SKILLS COURSE.

Private Detective Aptitude Test

Washington PI Application

Private Investigator Salary Washington

Working as an Investigator in Washington

This lack of guidance is why so many new Washington Private Investigators burn out and quit and why many experienced Washington 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.

Washington PI

So, the time comes for you to work investigations in Washington with no Private Investigator experience or education. The licensing exam you took 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 and get a Washington Private Investigator business license, you will 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.

Thinking of Becoming a Washington Private Investigator?

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

Washington detective

Become a Great Washington PI

Yes, you can become a great Washington Private Investigator. How? Through Private Investigator education. Not through the short Washington 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 Washington 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 Washington 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 Washington 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.