Oregon Private Investigator License- How to Become a Licensed Private Investigator in Oregon

Oregon Private Investigator RequirementsBefore you consider pursuing your private investigation license in the state of Oregon it is important to determine if you even need a license.  Here is how you determine if you need one.

Oregon states the definition of an investigator means you are a person in the business of obtaining, furnishing and soliciting employment to provide information about the following per the Oregon department of licensing:

    • Crimes or wrongs done or threatened against the United States or any state or territory of the United States;
    • The identity, habits, conduct, business, occupation, honesty, integrity, credibility, knowledge, trustworthiness, efficiency, loyalty, activities, movements, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, acts, reputation or character of any person;
    • The location, disposition or recovery of lost or stolen property;
    • The cause of or responsibility for fires, libels, losses, accidents,damages or injuries to persons or property; or
    • Evidence to be used before any court, board, officer, referee, arbitrator or investigation committee.

Order of Steps to become a Licensed Private Investigator in Oregon

  1. Determine if you need a license- You just finished reading that so I am assuming you will need one.

  2. Meet the basic requirements

  3. Submit your Oregon application

  4. Take the Exam

  5. Legally begin working as a private investigator in the state of Oregon

Basic Requirements

If the above applies to you then you need to determine if you can actually become a private investigator in the state of Oregon.

  1. You must be a United States citizen
  2. You must be at least 18 years old
  3. You must be able to provide verifiable work experience relating to investigation work which is:
  • 1,500 hours of investigation work
  • You can substitute investigative work hours up to 500 hours relating to your education. In many cases this can relate to something like a criminal justice degree.

Oregon considers educational substitution as completing related course study and an education institution that is licensed or approved by the State Department of Education or State approving agency.  Any correspondence, online or other similar types of course were are reviewed and excepted on a case by case basis according the  DPSST website.

There are two types of licenses:

  • Private Investigator License – (You own your own company)
  • Provisional Investigator License – (You work under/for a company)

Private Investigator License Application Process (as of January 2016)

The following is how to apply for a private investigation license.

  • Complete a PI-1 which is an application.
  • Secure a surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit or errors & omissions insurance in the minimum amount of $5000 with your name listed as principal. (Typically any insurance seller should be able to help you with this but there are companies that that specifically market to private investigators)
  • One fingerprint card- Please note the fingerprint card must be in a tamper proof bag along with the fingerprint affidavit form (PI-4)
  • Provide three reference letters.  None of the references can be related to you by blood or marriage.  This means references cannot be provided by your spouse, brother, father, etc..
  • Submit Proof 1500 hours of professional work experience.  This can be provided via resume.  (this is not needed for a provisional license.)
  • Complete two passport quality photos – This needs be sent to them electronically to piappsubmittal@state.or.us.  To do this you will need to have the picture digitally sent.  They can’t be scanned or printed copies.
  • PI-27 – Review, sign and submit with your application –
  • Review discretionary disqualifiers in Oregon Administrative Rule 259-061-0300.  This can be seen by clicking here.
  • Pay application fee of $70.75 – (VISA/MC, cashier’s check, money order, or business check. No personal checks or cash.)
  • Pay licensing fee of $550 – (VISA/MC, cashier’s check, money order, or business check. No personal checks or cash.)  Credit card authorization form
  • Once you have completed your packet and your application gets processed with your payment you will be registered to take the PI Proficiency Exam. You will need to review their calendar for dates.

Process for applying for a Provisional Investigator License

Applying for a Provisional Investigator License is the same as a regular license, however if you apply for this license it means you do not have the required 1500 provable hours of experience (experience, approved course work hours etc..) and you may not employ or supervise other investigators.

Private Investigator Exam- What to expect

  • The exam is 50 questions of multiple choice and true or false questions.
  • The exam is open book.
  • Review Administrative Rules (OAR) and Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS). More specifically, ORS 9, ORS 40, ORS 135, ORS 161-167, ORS 703, and OAR 259 Division 61.  Prior to taking the test.
  • The minimum requirement to pass the test is an 86%
  • Applicant gets 3 chances to past the test. If you don’t pass it after 3 separate times you will have to wait one year from the last attempt.
  • You can contact the DPSST if the pre-scheduled dates do not work for you to make possible arrangements for a different date.
  • After you complete the exam you will be mailed your results.  You will not be notified of the questions you missed (if you miss any).

Many people don’t pass the test on the first try.  Don’t worry, it is normal.

Final Remarks

Many people who live and work as a private investigator in Oregon also work in other states that surround Oregon.  They do this because sometimes work get slow in the state.  I would recommend possibly getting license in California or Washington after you secure your Oregon License.

Good luck and be safe.