Becoming a PI and Where To Start

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When you type “how to become a private investigator” into a Google search bar, you will be presented with a vast array of webpages and links, both full of helpful advice and information, as well as pages that are less helpful and not as relevant.

Depending on the search terms used, it can be difficult to parse through all of the information presented to you and to find the advice and information that is most useful. It is important to research the various sources of information carefully to ensure that you are getting information from reliable and trustworthy sources.

When scouring through, you will take notice that there are courses offered by universities, community colleges, and private career colleges that offer private detective courses (and they may even offer a private investigator degree).

In Ontario, a potential private investigator needs to complete a basic investigation training course and pass the provincial exam in order to become licenced. While searching for private investigator courses, it will also become increasingly apparent that you can choose between the Ontario Security Guard training course (to allow for an Ontario Security Guard Licence) and the Ontario Private Investigator Course.

The two are often offered within the same organizations that offer private investigator training, so one must know the difference. (Hint: An Ontario Security Licence is for those who wish to become licensed security guards!)


After making the decision to take the leap and strive to obtain a private investigator licence in Ontario, the next step would be to decide which online private investigator course you would like to invest in.

When taking online private investigator courses in Ontario, due diligence regarding accreditation and course content is key! A private investigator course should consist of modules that teach about topics such as PSISA, the Canada Evidence Act, the Criminal Code of Canada, and more.

The private investigator training program must be at least 50 hours in length and must be regulated by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS). The program must include topics such as private investigation laws and regulations, ethics, evidence collection, surveillance techniques, interviewing and interrogation, report writing, and basic criminal justice.

It must also include a minimum of 15 hours of supervised practical experience in the field. Upon completion of the program, participants must pass an MCSCS-approved examination in order to receive their private investigator license.


At The Smith Investigation Agency, we offer exactly what a person seeking a career as a private investigator needs! Our private investigator course is taken either online or in the classroom. The course offers the basis of several topics, such as privacy laws, collecting evidence, and Canadian Criminal Law.

This material can be delivered using a variety of methods.At The Smith Investigation Agency, we have offices located in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Scarborough, Hamilton, and other surrounding areas.

We are committed to providing our customers with the highest level of convenience and accessibility. Furthermore, we are proud to have achieved full accreditation from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS), and have won a variety of awards for our commitment to excellence. Additionally, our services have been fully accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for our commitment to providing quality services.


The course modules in our private investigator training course consist of the following:

  • Introduction to the Investigation Industry
  • The Private Security and Investigative Services Act
  • Provincial and Federal Statutes
  • Criminal and Civil Law
  • Private Investigation Techniques
  • Ethical Reasoning and Decision-making
  • Principles of Communication and Interaction
  • Skills for Self-management

These modules provide a solid foundation for those interested in embarking on a career as a private investigator. In addition to the basics, such as the legalities of the profession, they offer comprehensive instruction in the elements of the job, including surveillance methods, data gathering, and court proceedings.

With experience and time in the field, licenced PIs can develop their knowledge and skill set, enabling them to become more adept and successful at the trade. The field of technology is constantly changing and developing, meaning that there is always something new to learn and a fresh challenge to tackle.

This makes working in technology an exciting and rewarding career, as you can continually build upon your knowledge and develop your skills. Additionally, the opportunities for growth and advancement in the technology field are plentiful, so you can always be striving for the next challenge.


Once the provincial exam has been written and passed, a private investigator licence has been issued and a job opportunity has been granted, life as a private investigator can be incredibly exciting and rewarding!

This depends heavily on the individual, as some may find it thrilling to solve cases while others may prefer the research and analysis aspect. No matter the perspective, a private investigator can gain a deep sense of satisfaction from the knowledge that they are helping people in need. With the right attitude, determination, and skills, a career as a private investigator can provide incredible experiences.

Being a private investigator, there is often a significant amount of paperwork and research that must be completed for each case. This paperwork can include investigative reports, witness statements, evidence logs, and other legal documents and must be completed accurately and thoroughly.

Research can include gathering information on individuals or businesses, conducting background checks, and researching relevant legal precedents. This research can be done virtually, such as through online databases and archives, or in person, such as through interviews with witnesses or visits to the location in question.

Being a private investigator is not nearly as glamorous as the media often portrays it to be. In reality, many clients who seek our services do not always share the full context of why they need us. Instead, they provide us with the specifics of what they are looking for without giving us the whole picture. While it may seem exciting to know the reason behind a case, in most cases, the clients prefer to keep this information to themselves.

That said, most investigators don’t decide to pursue a career in investigations to know why a client wants information. They pursue this career knowing they can be part of helping someone move forward in life- whichever direction that may be!

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