How to Become a Private Investigator in BC

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Private investigators in B.C. perform numerous types of investigations. They investigate suspicious insurance claims, locate stolen property and gather evidence for divorce and child custody cases. Private investigators conduct background checks and polygraph tests. Suspicious husband and wives hire private investigators to provide evidence of their spouses' adultery. Some private investigators specialize in finding missing or hard-to-find people. Parents of missing children and adopted adult children often seek the services of a private investigator to help locate their child or parents. Private investigators in British Columbia undergo education and training to qualify for a license to work in this field.

Things You'll Need

  • High school education (grade 12)
  • GED certificate
  • Investigation program certificate
  • Private investigator under supervision work hours (2,400)
  • Security worker license
  • Complete your grade 12 high school education or get your B.C. General Education Development (GED) certificate.

  • Take a ministry-approved private investigator course, which offers a certificate of completion. The Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC) offers the Investigation and Enforcement Skills Certificate Program and the Focus Training Institute (FTI) offers the Criminal Justice and Civil Law Studies Private Investigation course.

  • Apply for a B.C. Security Worker License to work as a private investigator under supervision. Individuals 19 years of age and older who have completed their education, and who have had a clean criminal record for the past 10 years qualify to work under supervision. You must get hired by a licensed private investigation business who will apply for the security worker license on your behalf. Your employer can apply online at the British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General (PSSG) website. Read the Security Services Act and Regulations of British Columbia for details on licensing requirements (see Resources).

  • Work as a private investigator under the supervision of a licensed private investigator. New private investigators must receive a total of 2,400 hours of work experience and complete between two and four years of supervised work. Once you have completed the "under supervision" requirements, you can get ready to apply for your own security worker license.

  • Read the “Guide for Security Workers.” This comprehensive guide lists important information on full application requirements as well as the application process. You can download the guide for free on the British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General website (see Resources).

  • Apply for your security worker license. Provide employment details for your 2,400 work hours, including names of your employers and private investigator supervisors. Provide photo identification, course certificates and the license number of your previous "under supervision" license. If you cannot provide this number, you will have to submit a copy of the Confirmation of Fingerprints slip with your application. Once you receive your new security worker license number, you can work as an independent private investigator in B.C.

Tips & Warnings

  • You must be proficient in the English language to work as a private investigator in British Columbia.
  • If you have worked on the Canadian police force for at least five years, you are qualified to directly apply for a private investigator’s license, provided that it has not been more than five years since you left the police force.

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  • Photo Credit woman in an office image by forca from Fotolia.com Two office workers image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com
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