PI Careers in Oregon
There are many roads to becoming a private investigator in Oregon, but investigators must generally be licensed to practice in the state (with some exemptions).
Although Oregon doesn't have formal education requirements to become a private detective, private investigators in Oregon must complete 32 hours of continuing education for every two-year licensing period. This on-going education is important to keep your skills up to date.
To get a private investigator license in Oregon, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be a U.S. citizen.
- You must have 1,500 hours of experience doing investigative work, or a combination of work experience and up to 500 hours of job-specific education.
- You must have a passing score on the Oregon test of investigator competency.
A common course of study for private investigators is a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. With an approved transcript, the State of Oregon will subtract 500 hours from the required experience.
Education in Oregon
Many people applying to be private investigators in Oregon are retired police officers, but other law enforcement officers also have the required experience and/or education. If you don't have job experience but want to get some, the traditional route is to finish a degree in criminal justice, go to the police academy and then join a police department, working up the chain of command to become a detective. Once you have enough investigative work experience on the force, you may decide to become a private investigator.
Of course, this depends entirely on you. Attending an approved program in a private investigator school in Oregon will substantially reduce the experience requirements needed and put you on a fast track to a career as a private investigator.
What You'll Study
- Any private investigator school in Oregon will teach you about surveillance and photography, since those are mainstays of the profession.
- "Skip tracing," locating a person whose whereabouts are unknown, is also part of the curriculum, since it is a fundamental part of the job.
- You'll need to learn interviewing and interrogation techniques because the way you talk to people—and your body language—go a long way toward making them feel comfortable enough to share information with you.
- You'll also need to learn how to write good reports since no amount of research is adequate if you can't put your findings into an understandable report that will hold up to legal scrutiny.
But there are also many other skills that you'll learn in private investigator school in Oregon which will prepare you for this exciting career:
As there's no substitute for experience, private investigators learn many of their most important skills on the job. New investigators working for an investigation company will usually start by gathering information from databases while they work with an experienced mentor.
Their training depends on the type of company they work for. At an insurance company, new investigators will learn to recognize the signs of insurance fraud. At a company that specializes in domestic cases, they may be trained on advanced surveillance techniques. On-the-job training complements what you'll learn in private investigator school in Oregon.
Sources: bls.gov, oregon.gov, licenseinfo.oregon.gov, investigatoracademy.com