Becoming a Private Investigator in Los Angeles Becoming a Private Investigator - A woman using a cell phone and laptop sits on steps in front of a building.

If becoming a private investigator is something you’ve thought about, chances are you’re not the most typical job seeker, or perhaps even the most typical person. The intensity, long hours, and high stakes of a private detective’s job, especially those of a Los Angeles private detective, are enough to discourage a great many people from ever considering this profession. Part of the good news for anyone who has imagined becoming a California private investigator – our state’s process, while lengthy, is one of the most straight-forward in the nation. It begins with gaining a required number of hours of professional investigative experience, followed by sitting for the California Private Investigator Exam, and finally, applying and paying for the license from the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS). While some innate qualities and talents do help, much of what makes an L.A. private investigator good at their job can be learned and picked up from experience. Determination is very important as well, so for those who are eligible (and dedicated enough to stay the course), becoming a private investigator is possible.

Steps to Becoming a California Private Investigator Becoming a Detective A person's face is obscured by a large lens on the camera they're using.

At Kinsey Investigations, we’ve gotten many inquiries, over the years, from people interested in becoming California private investigators. Some know more about what it takes than others, and our years of experience both working in this industry and providing supervision and training to others have given us some insight into who will follow through the required process and go on to a successful L.A. private detective career of their own. The very first step is determining eligibility. California has a few mandates about who can become a licensed private investigator. To pursue this career path, a person must be at least 18 years of age and must not have a criminal history. Applicants should plan to submit themselves for criminal background checks both through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Be aware, you will be responsible for paying all associated fees.

Once you’ve confirmed you’re a suitable candidate, the process for becoming a private investigator in California involves three steps:

Firstly, you need to accumulate 6,000 hours (the equivalent of three years) of professional investigative experience. Applicants with a law degree or a few other kinds of four-year degrees such as police science or social justice may be able to use them to reduce the required number of hours down to 4,000 or 5,000 total. Either way, you can begin gaining your required number of investigative experience hours in several ways. It may be through working for law enforcement or the military, but for those who want the most direct type of experience, there’s nothing better than employment with a private investigations firm. And this is where a Los Angeles private detective agency like Kinsey Investigations comes in.

Secondly, you need to pass the California Private Investigator Examination. Administered by the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS), this comprehensive test gauges your understanding of regulations and parameters related to working as a private detective.

Finally, you must apply for a California Private Investigator license. This involves submitting a completed application to the BSIS, and paying the necessary fees. Licensed private detectives will need to keep their licensure current with BSIS, and all up-to-date licenses are always listed on their website.

Kinsey Investigations can Help You Become a Private Investigator

Not all California private investigations firms have the capacity to train someone interested in becoming a private investigator. Some don’t even employ private detectives who are also Qualified Managers (Q.M.s) approved to oversee and certify those hours of investigative experience. However, Kinsey Investigations, a leading Los Angeles private investigation firm, has you covered. Our Q.M.s will not only oversee your experience accumulating your required hours but also provide important insights, professional advice, and on-the-job training. What’s more, Kinsey Investigations has a proven track record of training many successful L.A. private investigators in the past. If you’re serious about becoming a P.I., our Qualified Managers, some of the best in the business and approved by the state to supervise and guide you, can help you turn your ambition into reality.

Every adventure begins with a single step. Your journey to becoming Los Angeles detective begins right here. Reach out to Kinsey Investigations today and let our team of seasoned Q.M.s prepare you for your new career as a California private investigator.