How to become a private investigator in Idaho

Idaho is one of the last few states that does not require a private investigation license to work as a private investigator.  Personally I hope it remains that way as Idaho’s population is only 1.6 million with the majority of the population being located Boise and Coeur d’Alene.  Many private investigators are licensed outside of Idaho and work in Idaho when the occasional assignments take them there.

If you live in Idaho it is highly recommended that you do several things before opening a business and operating as a private investigator.  I recommend these things so you enter the investigation field in a responsible manner and with integrity for your future clients.


There are many online courses and books you can read to familiarize and educate yourself with the job of a private investigator. Pursuing college courses related to criminal justice would allow you to learn about laws and the justice system.

Here are two individuals/websites I trust at this time for you to learn the basics of being a private investigator:

Larry Kaye – Surveillance Training

Become a Private Eye – Complete Basic P.I. Course

In regards to colleges I would check with your local Jr. College to see what courses are available to you whether it be in person or online courses.

I attended Axia College (the Jr. College for the University of Phoenix) and the University of Phoenix.  I learned quite a bit while attending the college but it is very expense to attend.

I have made a list of books related to investigations and busienss that can be seen by clicking here.

Business License for an Investigator

Idaho like every other state requires someone conducting business in their state to have a business license.  You may be required to have a business license for the city you are working in as well (assuming your business address is within the state).

Idaho doesn’t require a professional license to be a private investigator or to be in the security field but that may change.  Be sure to check the website from time to time to make sure that hasn’t changed and you that you don’t require a professional license.

Idaho has their stuff together for someone looking to start a business in Idaho. Idaho has a website that links to everything needed to start a business and it is easy to navigate.  To get started Idaho has a page specific to new business owners.

Idaho Private Investigator State Association

The association for private investigators in Idaho is the PIAI, the Private Investigators Association of Idaho.  If you want to see what they are about I would recommend going to their website and looking through it.The association offers a (CPI) Certified Private Investigator Program which is interesting.  It is a nationwide certification that certifies proof of knowledge and experience in the private investigation field.  After passing the minimum requirements you are required to participate in an oral interview and take an exam.  There is a two year certification fee as well.The CPI program will give someone a designation letting future clients know that the private investigator is capable of providing investigative services in a competent manner.Joining the association allows for someone working in the state to find working opportunities and future colleagues in the state.Just remember that your reputation is everything in the private investigation industry.  If you aren’t fair and don’t treat your clients correctly you will not be in business very long.