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Top 25 Private Investigator Training and Education Programs

  • April 07, 2012
  • by PInow Staff

Top 25 Private Investigator Training

Deciding on a professional private investigation training program can be tricky. Unlike many professions, a degree in investigations is not a requirement to enter into this field. Competing against individuals with extensive backgrounds in law enforcement, security and investigations can be a daunting task, but many industry veterans certainly believe hitting the classroom can help jumpstart a career in investigations.

The team at PInow.com reviewed private investigator educational institutions across the nation and ranked them based on a number of criteria: the type of program available, college accreditation, what information is available, application requirements and license qualification.

This list is comprised exclusively of educational institutions. Stay tuned for our top independent teaching facilities.

Keep reading to learn about the Top Private Investigator Training Programs:


University of Washington

#1 - University of Washington - Seattle, WA

Certificate in Private Investigation: Classroom setting
The University of Washington’s Certificate in Private Investigation program offers courses that prepare beginners for a career in private investigation and further educate experienced legal professionals.  The classes for this program are offered at night to accommodate a busy work schedule and are taught by working legal professionals and private investigators themselves. Completion of this program qualifies its participants for a license in private investigation.

Applicants must have two years of college experience or four years of relevant work experience as well as proficiency in the English language to be accepted into the program.

For more information, click here


Boston University Logo

 #2 - Boston University - Boston, MA

Professional Investigation Program: Classroom & Online
Boston University’s Professional Investigation Program offers a diverse curriculum covering all aspects of this profession. The program is designed to accommodate busy schedules and is taught by a number of professionals, many of whom are experienced and licensed private investigators. Students have the choice between an in-classroom or online program tailored to their individual needs.

Prospective students need to submit an application and letter of reference. They should have a high school diploma (or GED), computer skills, be familiar with an SLR camera, understand how to record an interview and a strong command of the English language.

For more information, click here 


LSU Logo

#3 - Louisiana State University, Alexandria - Alexandria, LA

Private Investigator 40-Hour Basic Training Course: Classroom
Louisiana State University at Alexandria offers a 40 hour training course in Private Investigation that teaches students the basics of private investigation and prepares them for the Louisiana Private Investigator License Exam.  Classes take place on weekends to accommodate most working schedules.

For more information, click here


University of Louisiana#4 - University of Louisiana, Lafayette - Lafayette, LA

Private Investigator Basic: Classroom 
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette offers a course called Private Investigator Basics.  This 40 hour class prepares students for the Louisiana Private Investigator License Exam and illustrates the basics of private investigation.  The classes are on the weekends so most people will be able to attend without changing their work schedules.

For more information, click here


University of Northern Texas

#5 - University of North Texas - Dallas and Houston, TX

Certificate in Professional Private Investigations: Classroom
The University of North Texas’ Certificate in Professional Private Investigations program thoroughly prepares students for a career in private investigation.  The 200 hour course is offered at three convenient locations throughout Northern Texas.  Upon completion of this program, taught by practicing professionals, participants are automatically eligible for the Texas Private Investigator License Exam.

For more information, click here


Cal State Logo

#6 - California State University, Fullerton - Fullerton, CA

Certificate in Private Investigation: Classroom
California State University at Fullerton’s Certificate in Private Investigation offers a range of courses that prepare newcomers to private investigation for their careers and assists other legal professionals in furthering their education.  Job opportunities are sent to students from Cal State Fullerton for up to one year after they have completed the program.

For more information, click here


Madona University Logo

#7 - Madonna University - Livonia, MI

Certificate of Completion in Private Investigation: Classroom
Madonna University’s Criminal Justice program offers a Certificate of Completion in Private Investigation.  Students learn the basics of the private investigation field and how this applies to the larger legal system.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent.

For more information, click here 


Clayton State

#8 - Clayton State University - Morrow, GA

Professional Investigator Certificate Program: Classroom
Clayton State University’s Professional Investigator Certificate Program gives students the tools they need to become a private investigator and meet the qualifications for licensure for the Georgia Board of Private Detectives and Security Agencies.  The classes for this program accommodate busy professionals by meeting one night a week.

For more information, click here 


Texas A&M Logo

#9 - Texas A&M International University 

Legal Investigation Certification Course: Online
Texas A&M International University offers an online Legal Investigation Certification Course in partnership with The Center for Legal Studies.  This course teaches students the basics of legal investigation, which prepares them for a career not only in private investigation but in any field of investigation.

For more information, click here 


HCC Logo

#10 - Hillsborough Community College - Tampa, FL

Private Investigator Intern Course: Classroom
Hillsborough Community College offers a 40 hour Private Investigator Intern Course in which students learn the skills they will need to pursue a career in private investigation.  This course also qualifies students for a Florida Private Investigator Intern License.

For more information, click here


#11 - Southside Virginia Community College - Various Locations in VA

Certificate in Private Investigation: Classroom
The Criminal Justice departments at Southside Virginia Community College offers a Career Studies Certificate in Private Investigation that can be fit to meet any demanding schedule.

For more information, click here

#12 - University of Louisiana at Monroe - Monroe, LA

Private Investigation Training: Classroom 
The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers a weekend long Private Investigation Training course that prepares students for a career in private investigation and the Louisiana Private Investigator Exam.

For more information, click here

#13 - Fox Valley Technical College - Appleton, WI

Private Investigation Certificate: Classroom & Online
Fox Valley Technical College’s semester long Private Investigation Certificate course prepares students to become private investigators in any state.

For more information, click here

#14 - Louisiana State University Shreveport - Shreveport, LA

Private Investigator Exam Prep: Classroom 
Louisiana State University at Shreveport offers Private Investigator Exam Prep that teaches the students the basics of becoming a private investigator and qualifies them to take the Louisiana Private Investigator Exam.

For more information, click here

#15 - University of New Mexico - Albuquerque, NM

Introduction to Private Investigation: Classroom
The University of New Mexico’s Division of Continuing Education offers a class that gives people interested in becoming private investigators a glimpse into the daily lives of private investigators and legal professionals.

For more information, click here

#16 - City College 

Diploma in Private Investigation Services: Online
City College’s online Diploma in Private Investigation gives students a chance to learn about the private investigation field, learn from legal professionals and gain hands on experience at their own pace and from a location that is convenient for them.

For more information, click here

#17 - Ashworth Community College 

Private Investigation Career Diploma: Online
Ashworth Community College’s Private Investigation Career Diploma is a comprehensive online course that can be completed in six months or less and that will prepare students for a career in private investigation.

For more information, click here

#18 - Fayetteville Technical Community College - Fayetteville, NC 

Private Investigations/Loss Prevention Certificate: Classroom
The Private Investigations/Loss Prevention Certificate from Fayetteville Technical Community College prepares students to become investigators over two semesters.

For more information, click here

#19 - Central Piedmont Community College - Charlotte, NC

Associates in Applied Science: Criminal Justice: Classroom
The Criminal Justice program at Central Piedmont Community College prepares students for many careers in the legal field; its focus on investigative principles makes this program a good option for those wishing to become private investigators.

For more information, click here

#20 - Baton Rouge Community College - Baton Rouge, LA

Private Investigator Course: Classroom
The 40 hour Private Investigator Course at Baton Rouge Community College teaches students the basics of a career in private investigation and qualifies them to take the Louisiana Private Investigator Exam.

For more information, click here

#21 - Nashville State Community College

Principles of Private Investigation: Online
The 200 hour Principles of Private Investigation program at Nashville State Community College gives students the basic knowledge they will need to become a private investigator.

For more information, click here

#22 - Centralia College - Centralia, WA

Crime Scene Investigation Certificate of Proficiency: Classroom
The year-long program to gain a Crime Scene Investigation Certificate of Proficiency from Centralia College teaches students the basics of forensic investigation.

For more information, click here

#23 - Penn Foster Career School

Private Investigator Career Program: Online
The online Private Investigator Career Program at the Penn Foster Career School gives students a detailed course schedule to prepare them to become private investigators.

For more information, click here

#24 - Stratford Career Institute

Private Investigator Training Course: Online
The comprehensive online Private Investigator Training Course gives students a chance to learn the details of a private investigation career on their own time.

For more information, click here

#25 - Harper College - Palatine, IL

Private Investigation Career Training: Classroom 
Harper College’s Private Investigation Career Training can give a prospective private investigator the foundation for their career or help experienced investigators further their education. 

For more information, click here

The completion of a structured educational program in private investigation may not be necessary to becoming a private investigator, but it will prepare you for your job and set you apart from others with the same career goals.  For other education options, be on the lookout for our piece on independent private investigation programs.  If your school has a private investigation program that was not included in our list, please email us with further information. 


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Top 25 Investigation Schools

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Top Private Investigator Training Programs

There are also a number of noteworthy independent programs across the nation. We featured the top PI training programs in an article here.

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