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Everything You Need to Know About How to Become a Private Investigator!

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As there is a growing need for private investigators in Ontario, we want to clear the air on any questions that potential private investigator students may have.

Firstly, a brief glimpse into The Smith Investigation Agency. My name is Whitney Joy Smith and I own The Smith Investigation Agency. We are a full-service private investigative firm. We offer insurance litigation and risk management investigations, corporate and legal investigations, skip tracing, skip search, background checks, locates, cyber research, fraud investigations, undercover investigations, infidelity, adultery, cheating spouse investigations, and a variety of other private investigative services. Additionally, we are offering the #1 rated private investigator training course in Ontario. Now that you know who we are did you know we also hire students and use students within our projects, and labor disputes? Well, now you do once your licensed contact us about Job Placement.

Who Should Become a Private Investigator?

Have you recently taken a police foundations course? Are you a retired police officer or detective? Are you someone who just has the “knack” for investigating? Have you considered learning about how to become a security guard? Want to become a police officer or work for CBSA? The private investigative industry, whether being a stepping-stone to a different job or becoming a full-time private investigator and remaining in the sector, both are great choices. The private investigative industry is continually growing, and the need for new private investigators is always there. As with any industry, there are people who retire, or move on and those shoes need replacing. So the answer to who should take private investigator training is YOU!

Do You Need to Relocate Once You’re a Private Eye?

This is a question we hear all too often: “once I get my private investigator’s license, do I have to travel?” The answer is no; there are many sections of the industry as we outlined above with what The Smith Investigation Agency does. So if you want to work in undercover investigations only, then you can be paired with a project near you. If you love to travel just not outside of the Toronto Area, then you can be a Private Investigator who investigates only in Toronto, Scarborough, Ajax, Pickering, Oshawa, North York, Mississauga, Concord, Vaughn, Woodbridge, Brampton, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton or anywhere else in the GTA. The same applies to private investigators in the National Capital Region who only want to work on projects in Ottawa, Kanata, Orleans, Barrhaven, Nepean, and Gloucester. If you want to travel you can, but if you do not wish to travel as much you can complete surveillance, labour disputes, or fraud investigations near you. The investigative industry is very versatile.

What’s It Like Being a Private Investigator?

Well, I start my files off with a large double double Tim Horton’s Coffee, as do most Investigators ;). Next, you clean your windows (always have clean windows while obtaining video) and then wait…. Yes, the industry can be boring, but I can promise you the adrenaline you get when you’re just hoping and praying your subject leaves and then they do your heart starts racing and the thrill begins to follow them to whatever it is they are doing, videotaping along the way while remaining discreet. It’s fantastic, and I love it. Is it for everyone? No, but nothing is. If you want to become a private investigator, then you can do surveillance, skip searches, investigative research, labour disputes, undercover investigations, WSIB investigations, long-term disability investigations, infidelity investigations, adultery investigations, cheaters investigations – the opportunities for a new detective are endless (did you see what we did there? first lesson is we are not private detectives, we are private investigators). Many people confuse what private investigators do. They they often just think of the TV show Cheaters, or now the newest TV shows Private Eyes and The Catch. That is not the glamour which is private investigations; it’s an exciting career but nothing like what you see on these shows – although I wish it were ;).

Why Our Private Investigator Training Course?

Are we the cheapest? We strive to achieve a fair market value for the industry. There may be a company who charges a little less, but at the end of the day, there still needs to be a fair market value for training as we do not want just anyone to become a private investigator. We want to ensure the right people join our industry and maintain the integrity of the industry. So although we are as close to fair market value as possible, we also have something no other training providers do. Our private investigator courses have been rated #1 two years in a row and are working on making that three years in a row; no other training providers have the efficiency, design, and flow like ours do. We also don’t just take your money, and then you’re your own; we help you every step of the way even when you’re licensed. We also are the only investigative company in Canada to offer an incentive. We offer AIR MILES® Reward Miles, 25 AIR MILES® Reward Miles to be exact! As the owner, I care about my clients. Not only the regular clients, but also all of my clients including the investigator students.

So How Do I Become a Private Investigator in the Province of Ontario?

Luckily for the individuals such as yourself looking at PI training now, you have an advantage that private investigators did not have at the time I was getting my license. The investigative training is relatively new to the industry and therefore gives a new investigator an insight others do not have. Our private investigator courses will help you know the rules, guidelines, and laws of the industry to protect you moving forward with your investigating career.

Who Can Get a License?

To be eligible for a private investigators license in Ontario the MCSCS (Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services) requires:

    • You must be 18 years of age or older.
    • You must be eligible to work in Canada.
    • You must have a clean criminal record.

What’s in our Private Investigator Course?

The Ministry (MCSCS) has given us the following criteria (listed below) to design our courses around. Now everyone has the same information as listed below but that does not mean they will make a course that will help you succeed while keeping you on your toes.

Private Investigator Course Syllabus:

  • Introduction to the Private Investigation Industry
  • The Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005
  • Provincial and Federal Statutes
  • Criminal and Civil Law
  • Investigative Techniques
  • Principles of Ethical Reasoning/Decision-making
  • Key Principles of Communication and Interaction
  • Self-management Skills

And then? Training completion numbers and training certificates:

Once you complete our private investigator training course, we will then contact you to complete a consent form once you complete the form and send it back to us we will apply for your training completion mumber, once we obtain your completion number we will issue you a training certificate. Yay certificates!

Taking the TEST!

Whew we said it: TEST. It’s OK though, not to worry the test is not designed to see people fail. Our course was designed purely for the student’s ease and comfort while giving the most information possible, while having a great time doing it. We have had over 600 students and being honest I have had one person tell me they failed, and the student said he was so nervous he almost passed out. Thankfully he was able to re-write the test and passed with an almost perfect score. Want to see what out PI school students think of our course, and how it prepared them to obtain the private investigators license?

“The Private Investigator course offered by The Smith Investigation Agency really is number one and for good reason. It was simple to follow but also engaged and challenged the reader to learn the content rather than just read through it. I have done many online courses, but they all fall short when compared to the practicality of this course. 5/5 stars, would HIGHLY recommend.” Brandan Yasin-Google Review


“I completed their private investigator course and just passed the exam. The course had prepared me to succeed. Thanks, Craig Turner” Google Review

Ok, we are done with the bragging but come on we are proud of our course, our students’ success, and, well, we are just a happy company!

How Much Does it Cost to Take the Test and Get the License?

Although we often are familiar with the pricing of our industry prices are always subject to change so to have guaranteed confirmation you can visit the Ministry page.

Are Security Guard Training & Private Investigator Training Courses the Same?

No, although we are licensed under the same Ministry Branch (Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services) and held under the same Act (Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005) we are separate industries and conduct different training. There are similarities regarding discussions of the Act. However, the courses, in general, are not the same.

Want to Know Something Else Great About Our Course?

You can complete the course on any device you prefer: laptop, desktop, iPad, Samsung tablet, other tablet, iPhone, Samsung Phone, smartphone, and other mobile devices. Whichever method you prefer and you can log in and log out as much as you want so if you can only complete an hour a day then you only do one hour per day if you prefer to stay awake for 50 hours and do the course right away (espresso, anyone?) then you do that. The course is designed with you in mind! You can complete the course during the day, after work, on the weekends – whatever suits your schedule and lifestyle.

Applying for Your License:

Now that you have completed our Private Investigator Training and we have issued you your completion number, and you have taken and passed your test, it’s on to applying for your license. Yay! You can visit the Ministry site for more information on how to apply for your license and what steps you need to take with them.

Receiving your Private Investigator’s License:

Wahoo you’re a PI now give yourself a round of applause, we’re so happy for you! We are not going to lie the cards are not that cool, they are orange and, well, fairly basic, but it’s the feeling you get when you’re holding a card that gives you a world of opportunities. Being a private investigator is rewarding and fun we are not only in the industry to help organizations, businesses, corporations, and lawyers fight fraud, but to help families locate missing persons, assist families who may be in danger, work in close collaboration with police and other agencies in ending narcotics in the workplace, etc. Just remember to keep your PI license with you at all times and when asked to show it you must legally present your license.

Wages of the Private Eyes Industry:

The industry standard is a minimum of $20.00 per hour and up to $40.00+ with reimbursements for kilometers and more. The majority of private investigator students who took our private eye courses have told us they are making over $50,000.00 a year starting. Not bad right?

Another Bonus for Investigators:

The licensing used to be to a single company, now you can work for any licensed agency within Ontario. This gives you the opportunity if you choose to work with different businesses that provide various services.


Oh, my favourite topic! As investigators, we have some of the best gadgets and technology available to us. Not all companies care about quality and results like we do, but, hey, that’s what makes us different, and we like that. The standard at my business is Quality HD-4K results. Not only when I am on the road are my results of the best quality but also it’s a requirement for any of my investigators to possess only the best equipment and maintain a standard that fits our company. If you work with us, you will be a great detective (private investigator) in no time. Once you’re licensed and ready to start working we will discuss camera options with you at the time you’re looking to buy. Remember you get what you pay for and buying the cheapest equipment will cost you in the long run. Having the best results will make you stand out immediately from the rest of the industry.

Being a PI:

Now that your licensed its time to go and apply and begin learning the industry and what it is you like and what you’re comfortable with. I can tell you that this industry is always changing, growing and the need to continue learning is never changing. One of my most favourite parts of the industry is the constant changing it keeps you on your toes and every surveillance, undercover, and file is so different that you have an opportunity to learn every step of the way. Make sure always to keep an open mind and be excited at the new changes and the adrenaline you will fell. Always be safe and follow rules and laws wherever you are while working but have fun, succeed, and enjoy being a private investigator.

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