How To Become a Private Investigator

Many people dream of becoming a private investigator yet wonder how to become a private investigator. The job is often over-glamorized by the media, especially thanks to the rise of Hollywood films. However, there are a number of different perks that are offered by becoming a private detective; it is for this reason that you might want to consider the possibility of having a career change and starting a new phase in your life.

But how can you become a private investigator? What are the specific regulations that must be followed in order to become a  Montana private detective?

Becoming a Private Investigator

If you are serious about becoming a private investigator, there are a number of things that you must first do. You cannot start your new career as a private detective without first taking the time to find out about the specific rules that you must follow.

There are a number of generic rules that you will need to first consider. However, it is also important to remember that every state will have its own different rules and requirements for someone looking to set themselves up as a private investigator. These must also be considered before you can take on any of your own cases and start your new career path.

Determine Your Private Investigator Specialty

One of the first things that you should do is decide on your area of expertise. Most professional private investigators will specialize in one or two specific areas, be it helping to track down a person with an existing criminal record or helping out with an insurance fraud case. By choosing an area of expertise, you will be able to concentrate your efforts on solving those cases that you will most enjoy working on.

Get Advice From Your State’s Licensing Authority

Once you have decided on the area of detective work in which you want to specialize, you should head to your local state licensing authority. By visiting your state’s licensing authority you will be able to get specific advice on the next steps to take. These steps can vary between states, which is why it is so important for you to get the right information.

Contact Other Private Detectives

In addition to contacting your local state licensing authority, you might also want to consider getting help from other private detectives. By contacting other investigators you will be able to get advice from people who have, at some point in time, been in the same situation as you are now.

People who are currently working in the industry will often be able to offer some of the most accurate and reliable help around, thanks to their experience and knowledge of the local area. You could also consider joining associations, in order to make the most of the help and advice that they can offer.

Becoming A Montana Private Investigator

As is the case for every state, there are a number of specific rules that must be followed in order to become a Montana private investigator.

Requirements To Become A Montana Private Investigator

If you are thinking of becoming a Montana private investigator, you must meet a number of specific requirements. To begin with, you must be at least twenty-one years of age and will need to be either a citizen of the United States or otherwise a permanent resident of the United States. Every applicant must also have at least a high school diploma (or an equivalent qualification) and should have 5,400 hours of experience or education prior to applying.

Applicants looking to become a private detective in Montana need to have a background check carried out before they can progress with their application. They will also be required to fill out an application form and provide a photographic identification photograph, such as the ones that might be used for a passport. In addition, they will need to take an examination known as the Private Investigator Board application, and a score of 70% or greater must be achieved in this exam.


Applicants looking to become a private investigator in Montana are required to pay two different, non-refundable fees in order to progress with their application. These payments are payable to the Montana Board of Private Security.

A fee of $250 is needed to cover the application fee itself and an additional fee of $20 is then needed for the exam. There is also an optional, additional fee of $50 that can be paid as an armed endorsement.


New private investigator hopefuls will need to provide a number of different documents in order to progress with their application. These documents include the following:

  1. Minimum of three years (5,400 hours) experience/education pursuant to ARM 24.182.503.
  2. Full-face, passport-style photo. This should show the signature of the applicant. The shoulders of the applicant should be visible in this photo.
  3. Fully written application forms
  4. Proof of age documentation—the recommended forms are either a birth certificate or a driver’s license
  5. Proof of residency documentation—these documents should be either a US passport, an immigration green card, or a birth certificate
  6. Evidence of qualifications—a diploma detailing your high school education needs to be provided, or any equivalent documentation

All Montana private investigator applicants must also be able to provide three references and, if they have requested an armed endorsement, they would also need to provide a copy of an up to date firearms certificate. Similarly, if you have been a part of the United States Armed Forces, you will also be required to supply a copy of your DD 214.