So you’ve made a decision to become a private investigator. Perhaps you’ve always loved the idea of being the next Sherlock Holmes, or maybe you just want to try something different. Either way, the first question you need to ask is – how do you become a private investigator?

Online Courses

The good news is that there are many online courses available. The advantage you have over Sherlock Holmes is that you probably have access to private investigator home study courses. Private investigator training in the UK is regulated by a government body called The Security Industry Authority (also known as “SIA”). In order to be able to operate as an investigator, you will have to complete training recognised by the SIA. There are several detective training home study options available in the UK and you should look carefully at them to see which suits you best.

Foundation Course

The Institute of Professional Investigators in Surrey is UK’s only institute within the Private Investigations sector. The Foundation Course in Private Investigation for distance learning is available through the Institute and it could be the first step for you towards becoming a private detective, particularly if you’re looking to be self-employed. The completion of the course awards you a qualification called IQ Level 3 Award in Investigation, which is accepted by the SIA.

The course lasts for 39 learning hours or alternatively, you can request an assessment provided by the institute. The course fee, which includes the examination undertaken at the end, is £375. In order to provide the most comprehensive private detective training, the course is delivered via a mix of online notes, video lectures, interactive quizzes and assignments to be completed by you. The course is modular – there are four modules, each followed by a tutor assignment, which must be completed before you proceed.

Get Some Experience Or Training With The Police

Although prior experience is not required for undertaking the course, it is advised that you get some experience or training with the police, local authorities or agencies before you begin to offer professional services as a private investigator. Additional training in law and/or business would also be useful for the occupation. Not only would it help you to expand your clientele, but it would also provide you with more opportunities to join professional bodies, such as World Association of Professional Investigators (“WAPI”).

Undertake An Internship With A Detective Agency

Another way to train as a private investigator is to undertake an internship with a detective agency. The advantage of this route is that it will allow you to gain the necessary experience and perhaps even a glimpse to some secrets of the top private eyes, while you learn. However, this may not work for you if you wish to be self-employed straightaway rather than be a part of an agency, because most agencies or companies offer training on the job themselves rather than via a course outlined above. But if you’re looking to be part of a sizeable enterprise, applying for internships would be a good starting point.