How to Become a Private Investigator in Oregon

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How to Become a Private Investigator in Oregon

Considering a career as a private investigator?

Oregon might be the perfect place for you!

There are lots of opportunities for jobs here, offering you a chance to have a fulfilling career.

But before you dive in, it’s important to know what you’ll need to get started.

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Keep reading to find out the requirements for this role!

Private Investigator Requirements and Duties

Certainly, there are certain rules you need to follow to get your first job.

Also, you’ll have specific things to do every day.

Here are the main tasks of private investigators:

  • Using high-quality cameras to capture clear footage from a distance.
  • Taking excellent pictures from far away.
  • Keeping healthy.
  • Understanding what their clients want and need.

Moreover, there are other things you must do, like:

  • Having an education in criminal justice or law enforcement can be really helpful.
  • Having experience in certain investigative or law enforcement jobs might replace some or all of the training needed.
  • Passing the Phase III state exam and a Phase IV Firearms Exam if you want to carry a gun.
  • Completing a two-part training program.

Private Investigator Training in Oregon

Although it’s not required, getting better at what you do by training is a good idea.

To become a private investigator:

  • You need to be 18 years old, or 21 if you want a license to carry a weapon.
  • You must be a citizen or resident of the United States.
  • You need to be dependable.
  • Your background records should be clean.

If you want to carry a gun, you have to go through specific training.


Check out NITA!

This training academy provides online courses specially made for people who want to become private investigators.

These courses help improve investigative skills and get students ready for the licensing test.

The prices for each course vary, ranging from $99 to $350.

Some classes are specifically for people who want to learn more about the field.

PI Education

If you’re interested in PI Education:

This school offers a 70-hour course that serves as a pre-licensing program.

You can complete the entire program online, so having a good computer and internet connection is important.

These 70 hours count as credit hours.

To enroll, you’ll need to pay a tuition fee of $399.

Portland Community College

Law enforcement and community agencies, both state and federal, often look to hire graduates from PCC’s Criminal Justice program because of the thorough and high-quality education this school provides.

Their Criminal Justice faculty brings extensive experience in fields such as local and state police, corrections, and the FBI.

Only instructors with proven experience, knowledge of proper procedures, and a deep understanding of criminal law and fairness teach the courses.

You’ll learn the latest, most relevant skills based on industry best practices.

The program has received top ratings from city, county, and state agencies.

They also offer continuing education and training opportunities to help you complete your degree, prepare for advancement, or gain expertise in specific areas of criminal justice and fairness.

Additionally, our program provides specialized seminars on current and important topics in the field.

School Name Address
Portland Community College 722 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204,
NITA online school
PI Education online school
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Becoming Licensed as a Private Investigator in Oregon

Getting licensed in Oregon involves paying several fees:

  • You’ll need to shell out $550 for the license itself
  • $29 for the background check and exam
  • Another $41.75 for a state and national criminal history check.

To complete your license application, you’ll also need to gather certain documents required by the DPSST.

This includes:

  • Proof of a surety bond
  • Three character references from people who aren’t family
  • Two recent passport photos
  • A signed Code of Ethics form
  • Your fingerprints

Once your application is approved and you pass the exam, you’ll officially be licensed.

Keeping your PI license in Oregon requires some upkeep.

Licenses are valid for two years, after which you’ll need to renew.

This involves:

  • Filling out a renewal form
  • Paying a $550 fee
  • Providing new passport photos
  • Showing proof of completing 32 hours of continuing education, with two hours specifically focused on ethics.

Salaries for Private Investigators in Oregon

Now that you have your license, it’s time to start hunting for your first job.

You might also be curious about how much money you could make.

In Oregon, private detectives typically earn around $51,202 each year.

For a closer look at salaries in this state, check out the table below.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Weston $53,602
Adams $53,602
Warren $53,602
Umatilla $53,502
Wallowa $53,402
Spray $53,402
Clackamas $53,002
Oregon City $52,902
Wilsonville $52,902
Saint Helens $52,502

Regional Salary in Oregon

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA220$69,000$33.17$113,720$36,230
Salem, OR160$71,320$34.29$86,630$49,460
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Private Detectives and Investigators, OCC Code 33-9021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all PIs in Oregon need a license?

The short answer is “yes.”

What are some of the skills needed by PIs in Oregon?

These skills are some of the most important for a private investigator:

  • Agility
  • Attention to details
  • Physical strength
  • Discipline
  • Knowledgable of laws and regulations
  • Able to drive
  • Comfortable approaching people
  • Able to use technology and databases

Where do private investigators work in Oregon?

Private investigators work for:

  • Private investigation and detective agencies
  • As independent contractors

Independent PIs work for:

  • Law firms,
  • Financial institutions,
  • Insurance companies,
  • Corporations,
  • Government agencies,
  • Police departments

USA Private Investigator by State

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