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Private Investigator vs. Security Guard – What is the Difference?

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Are you contemplating a new career path but can’t decide between becoming a Private Investigator and a Security Guard? Learn more about the differences between the two professions and what the licensing requirements include to help you determine which career path is best for you.

What Does a Private Investigator Do?

A private investigator is hired to investigate a person or company’s actions or whereabouts. The most common types of investigations include theft, fraud, custody disputes, infidelity, and finding missing or assets. To conduct their investigations, PIs use surveillance techniques and investigative research such as public databases and internet searches, asset searches, background checks, skip tracing, video and audio surveillance, taking photography, using GPS tracking, TSCM services, and personal observation. In many cases, Private Investigators will work with attorneys in civil and criminal cases to bring someone to justice. A majority of the work they do is completed undercover, providing their clients with the utmost confidentiality.

How Do You Become a Private Investigator?

To become a PI in Ontario, you need to complete a mandatory training course of 50 hours and pass the test to receive your Training Compliance Number (TCN). Once you have your completion number, you can then schedule your test with SERCO. After you obtain a passing grade, you are then eligible to apply for your license with the Ministry by applying at Service Ontario.

What Does a Security Guard Do?

A security guard’s main responsibilities include observing an area for security breaches, reporting suspicious behaviour or dangerous situations, controlling issues that arise, and protecting the public as well as private property. Security guards must be properly trained to identify and handle situations until the appropriate authorities can respond. Unlike a PI, a security guard is meant to be visible. They can also make a citizen’s arrest and turn over the perpetrators to the police.

How Do You Become a Security Guard?

To become a security guard, you must first enroll in a training course that is approved by SERCO. Once you’ve completed the course, you will be sent a Training Compliance Number (TCN) and can then register to write the Ontario Security Guard License exam. Once you’ve achieved a satisfactory result, you can then apply with Service Ontario for your license.

Are There License Options for Both?

Yes, if you complete both training courses and pass both tests, you can apply for a dual license. This will allow you to work as both a private investigator and a security guard.

Where Can I Receive Training?

You can access training at a Ministry Approved Training Institution, like the Smith Investigation Agency, which offers individual training in each specialty or a combined training course.

Why Train at Smith Investigation Agency?

Our award-winning agency is the largest provider of online training for the Private Investigator and Security Guard courses in Ontario. Our Ministry-approved courses allow you to train in class or online at your own speed. Not only do our students have a 99% success rate but our firm also offers many job placements for graduates.

To find out more about our training programs contact us today!

About the Author

Whitney Joy Smith

Whitney Joy Smith is a prominent figure in the field of private investigation and security, serving as the founder and CEO of The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., Smith Security Inc., and Training Centre Canada, as well as a sitting politician.

With a remarkable journey that began in the early 2000s, Whitney's professional background as a private investigator is underscored by her unwavering dedication to the role. Born in Canada and having spent her early years between Canada and the United States, Whitney possesses a unique perspective shaped by her experiences in both countries. This background equips her with an in-depth understanding of the intricacies of private investigative laws, regulations, and operational standards in North America.

Throughout her career, Whitney has garnered numerous industry awards and accolades. She takes great pride in working closely with her continually expanding agency, striving to elevate industry standards, maintain compliance, and effectively meet the diverse investigative needs of clients.

Whitney actively engages in various membership, committee, board and support roles, demonstrating her commitment to the industry and professional community. She is affiliated with all local chambers, associations and more.

Whitney's wealth of experience is not limited to her professional achievements; her thought-provoking articles have been featured in publications ranging from Readers Digest, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, and Mens Health to Business News Daily. She constantly seeks to redefine standards and push the boundaries of excellence within the private investigative and security fields.

To discover more about Whitney Joy Smith and the dedicated team at The Smith Investigation Agency Inc., visit our website to learn more.

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