Complete Guide on How To Become A Private Investigator In Oregon


Becoming a private investigator in Oregon can be an exciting and rewarding career choice for those interested in conducting investigations, gathering evidence, and helping clients solve problems.

Private investigators play a critical role in a range of industries, from law enforcement and legal proceedings to corporate investigations and personal matters.

They essentially gather, evaluate, synthesize, and report information about individuals or organizations to clients.

They also detect instances of illegal behavior or regulation violations in private establishments.


These guys are incredible at discovering anything.

They use a range of investigative techniques to find whatever they are looking for.

Private investigators work in a variety of settings, depending on the case.


While some work in offices (researching cases on computers and making phone calls), others work in the field (conducting interviews or performing surveillance).

They are in high demand because to the nature of their work, security concerns, and the necessity to secure secret information.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of private detectives and investigators is expected to expand 8% from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.

However, navigating the process of becoming a private investigator in Oregon can be complex and require careful planning and preparation.

This complete guide will provide an overview of the requirements, steps, and resources needed to become a licensed private investigator in the state of Oregon.


Who is a Private Investigator?

A private investigator (abbreviated PI and colloquially known as a private eye), a private detective, or an inquiry agent, according to Wikipedia, is a person who can be hired by individuals or groups to perform investigative law services.

They are specifically trained intelligent experts who have received extensive training in how to assess various pieces of information concerning crimes and criminals in order to design ways and plans for arresting them and limiting their activities.

They are not often members of the armed forces.

They are neither cops nor soldiers.

They are usually private security consultants engaged by governments and private organizations to investigate hostile acts and crimes in society or organizations.

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Private Investigator Skills

As a private investigator, you must have the following abilities and characteristics:


Listening Actively

You should be able to listen to individuals without interrupting them and ask effective questions as a PI.


PIs conduct interviews to gather information.

As a future private investigator, you should be able to successfully converse and communicate with individuals.

Critical Thinking

PIs must be able to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of various approaches to problem solving.

Reading Comprehension

This competence is required for reading work-related information.

Tackling Difficult Problems

A PI should be able to identify an issue and determine the best solution.


A PI must be able to effectively communicate in writing as appropriate for the audience’s demands.

Social Perception

You must be aware of other people’s reactions and comprehend why others react the way they do.

Learning through Doing

A private investigator must grasp how fresh knowledge affects present and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Making Decisions and Forming Judgments

A PI must be able to weigh the relative costs and benefits of many options in order to select the best one.


As a private investigator, you must be able to monitor/assess your own, other people’s, or organizations’ performance in order to make adjustments or take remedial action.


A private investigator must be able to alter his or her actions in response to the actions of others.

Service Orientation

A PI must be constantly on the lookout for new ways to assist people.

Time Management

You must be able to manage your own time as well as the time of others as a private investigator.

What Is the Role of a Private Investigator?

Private detectives and investigators mostly seek information on legal, financial, and personal concerns.

They also provide a variety of services, including as validating individual’s histories and statements, locating missing people, and investigating computer crimes.

Private detectives and investigators generally conduct the following in addition to the responsibilities listed above:

  • People are being interviewed in order to acquire information.
  • Looking for clues by searching online, public, and court documents.
  • Surveillance is being carried out.
  • Evidence gathering for clients.
  • Investigating civil judgments and criminal histories.

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Why become an Oregon Private Investigator?

Working as a private investigator will suit you if you have an inquisitive mind and a sharp eye for detail.

Working independently as a PI in Oregon allows you to make many of your own decisions, solve problems using your own expertise, and not have someone continuously looking over your shoulder.

A career as a private investigator is also highly promising, particularly in Oregon.

What is the Employment Outlook in Oregon for Private Investigators?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Oregon has 390 total jobs with a 0.85 location quotient and 0.20 employment per thousand jobs.

According to CareerOne Stop, the number of private detectives and investigators employed in Oregon is predicted to increase by 16% between 2016 and 2026.

In addition, Oregon’s annual predicted job vacancies for private investigators are 70.

How Much Do Private Investigators Make in Oregon?

A PI in Oregon gets an annual mean wage of $57,380, according to the US BLS. That is $27.58 per hour for the PI.

How to Become an Oregon Private Investigator

In most cases, several years of professional experience and a high school certificate are required to become a private detective or investigator in the United States.

Furthermore, a large majority of states require private detectives and investigators to be licensed.

Before we go over the complete process of becoming an Oregon PI, let’s start with the most basic requirement: education.

Although educational requirements vary widely per job, the majority of employment require a high school graduation.

Some may, however, require a two- or four-year degree in an area such as criminal justice.

To become a private investigator in Oregon, carefully complete the instructions below:

  • Satisfy the Oregon License Requirements
  • Get the Education and Training You Need in Oregon
  • Fill out and submit your Oregon application.
  • Start working as a private investigator in Oregon after passing the Oregon examination.

1. Meet the Oregon License Standards

To earn your PI license as a private investigator in Oregon, you must meet the state’s standards.

They are as follows:

  • You must be a citizen of the United States.
  • You must be at least 18 years old and have the following documented investigation experience:
  • > 1,500 hours
  • > Education substitute of up to 500 hours

2. Get the Required Education and Training in Oregon

Prior to becoming a certified private investigator in Oregon, you must have at least 1500 hours of investigative experience.

This includes contacting a detective firm or a private investigator and offering your skills as an apprentice.

Yet, by gaining further education, you can cut your working time in half.

Here’s the gist of it!

Three hours of class count as one hour of permitted experience.

Isn’t that great?

In addition, having an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice makes you a more appealing prospect for work in the investigative area.

A degree in criminal justice or criminology will also teach you about the legal system you will be navigating as well as assist you refine your analytical skills.

This instruction is available from schools in Oregon cities such as Portland, Salem, Eugene, and Gresham.

Alternatively, you might enroll in a recognized institution’s online criminal justice or criminology program.

3. Fill out and submit your Oregon PI Application

The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is in charge of PI training and licensing.

Via the DPSST’s Private Security and Private Investigations Program, they do this.

In general, the program collaborates with members of its policy committees and the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training to establish professional standards, provide training to assist constituents in meeting these standards, and enforce licensure and certification requirements for private security professionals and private investigators.

Hence, in order to apply for a private investigator license in Oregon,

you will need the following:

  • Fill out a PI-1 (application form)
  • Obtain a surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or errors and omissions insurance in the amount of $5,000 in your name as principle.
  • Fill out one (1) fingerprint card.
  • Complete three (3) professional reference letters.
  • It is important to note that references cannot be linked to you by family or marriage, nor can they be personal in nature.
  • Provide proof of 1500 hours worked (via resume); some educational substitute may also be considered.
  • Your education, qualifications, and professional experience should all be properly displayed on your resume.
  • Take two (2) passport-quality photos. (Images taken within the last six months must be emailed to [email protected]
  • PI-27 (Private Investigator Professional Code of Ethics) (Private Investigator Professional Code of Ethics)
  • Examine Oregon Administrative Rules Division 61 for a list of criminal disqualifiers.
  • Pay the application fee of $70.25 and the mandatory licensing fee of $550 (through VISA/MC, cashier’s check, money order, or business check).
  • Personal checks and cash will not be accepted.)
  • You will be registered to take the PI Proficiency Test once your application packet has been approved.

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4. Take the Oregon Test

The state will undoubtedly notify you of your registration to take the PI Proficiency exam after your application packet has been processed.

Once you’ve been authorized for the exam, call 503-378-8531 to schedule a time to take it.

While you wait for your day, prepare for this exam ahead of time to improve your chances of passing.

The tests will cover Oregon statutes Chapters 9, 40, 135, and 161-167.

The Oregon PI examination process is divided into two stages.

To begin, you will receive an orientation covering general licensing criteria and standards.

Then, before the exam, you will be offered a lunch break.

The exam, which is open book, consists of 50 true/false and multiple-choice questions.

To that end, you will be given copies of Oregon Revised Statutes and Administrative Rules that are relevant to the exam.

You are not permitted to bring your own materials as an applicant.

Due to the Pandemic, however, the Private Investigator exam will be performed through iLearn, an online learning management platform provided by the State of Oregon.

Consequently, once your application has been approved, you will receive an email inviting you to take the exam.

If you receive a notice of deficiency (incomplete application), you will not receive exam information until you correct the deficiencies.

Keep in mind:

You will have up to three attempts to achieve an 86% score in order to pass.

If you do not pass the exam after three attempts, you will have to wait a year before taking it again.

5. Begin your career as a private investigator in Oregon.

After passing your exam and receiving your license, you can begin working as a licensed private investigator in Oregon.

Please keep in mind that your license will be valid for two years.

You can join the Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators, Inc.

with your PI license for networking opportunities and other benefits such as a cheap website for your firm.

In addition, during the validity duration of your license, you must complete 32 hours of continuing education, with two of these hours in ethics.

You can get the requisite hours for this education from a variety of sources, including:

  • Participating in educational institutions.
  • It should be noted that up to 20 hours of training can be obtained online.
  • Seminars and conferences.
  • Seminars about computers.
  • Creating an article or a book.
  • Appearances on television and radio.
  • Reading (nonfiction literature or professional/technical guides relevant to the investigation).

As a certified Oregon PI, you can check the continuing education guidelines in Division 61 section 259-061-0260 of Oregon’s Administrative Regulations to see exactly what qualifies for continuing education credits.

When you apply for renewal, you must also submit a summary form of this education.

To ensure that your renewal is processed on time, you should apply at least two weeks before your license’s expiration date.

This is due to the fact that if you submit your renewal packet late, you will be charged a $25 late fee.

In addition, if you seek for renewal more than 30 days after the expiration date, you will be required to repeat the exam and undergo another background check.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that working as a PI in Oregon after your license expires is prohibited.

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What Are the Best Private Investigator Schools?

As previously said, you must have a high school graduation or a degree in criminal justice to work as a private investigator not only in Oregon, but throughout the United States.

In accordance with the preceding, the following are the best criminal justice colleges in the world:

  • Liberty University
  • Liberty University
  • Irvine, University of California
  • Florida state university.
  • Northeastern University
  •  University of Miami
  • Penn State University
  •  Texas Christian University
  •  La Sierra University
  • University of Florida


In conclusion, becoming a private investigator in Oregon requires dedication, persistence, and a commitment to learning and growth.

By following the steps outlined in this guide, individuals can navigate the complex licensing process, gain valuable experience and training, and build a successful career in the field.

From conducting surveillance and collecting evidence to providing expert testimony and advising clients, private investigators play a crucial role in the legal system and society as a whole.

With the right skills, training, and resources, anyone can embark on a fulfilling and rewarding career as a licensed private investigator in the state of Oregon.

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