Across the U.S., the investigative industry is booming—with the Bureau of Labor Statistics noting in their 2019 numbers that the industry was growing at a rate of 8 percent—much faster than other industry averages. In Oregon, with BLS data showing a mere 390 people employed in the field (May 2019), there is a lot of room in the region for industry growth, for those who are looking to fill the shoes of a private detective.
Whether you’re looking to work corporate cases in the larger city of Portland, or take on clients in Bend or Salem, becoming a private investigator in Oregon isn’t hard to do, once you have the information. In this post, we’ll cover what you’ll need to become licensed as a private investigator in Oregon, as well as how much you could make as a PI in the Beaver State.
What are the requirements to become a private investigator in Oregon?
If you’re looking to become a private investigator in Oregon, there are a number of things you’ll need to know. In some ways, the state is less stringent than others—as an example, you don’t have to submit to a financial background check—but in others, such as the hours of continuing education required, it is a little stricter than other states. Here is a breakdown of what you’ll need in order to become a private investigator in Oregon.
First of all, if you want to become a private detective in Oregon, you must adhere to general criteria: you must be over the age of 18; legally able to work in the United States and must submit to a fingerprint background check. However, the state of Oregon does not require that you submit to any financial history check or psychological testing as part of your general requirements.
Should you qualify based on general requirements, you must have three references and 1500 hours of experience (500 of which can be exchanged for educational credits). However, in order to get 1500 hours of experience before you have a private investigator license, you’ll need to find an agency or investigator who is willing to let you learn or apprentice on a provisional investigator’s license—allowing you to work as a private investigator without having the licensing as such.
In Oregon, Private Investigators operate under the oversight of the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST), and must be licensed under PI ORS 703 (Truth and Deception Detection) and PI OAR 61 Investigator Licensing Standards and Regulations), and must also complete a PI-27 code of ethics form. Upon completion of the 1500 hours of experience, you must then take and pass an exam, in which you must earn a score of 86 percent or higher. Finally, In order to receive your license, you must have either a surety bond in the amount of $5,000 or a $5,000 errors or omission insurance policy
Once you have attained a license as an investigator, it is important that you keep up with continuing education credits consistently. In Oregon, a licensed private investigator must attain 32 hours of continuing education credits every two years; those with a provisional license must have 40 hours every two years. In both cases, two hours of the total must include an ethics course.
How much does a Private Investigator in Oregon make?
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary range for private investigators across the country is around $50,510—or around $24.28 an hour. In Oregon, however, you will find that the median salary range is a bit higher—at least in the metro areas of Salem and Portland, according to 2019 data from BLS. In Salem, which ranked ninth in the country, a private investigator’s salary averages around $68,810. In Portland, the average is around $62,620.
If you’re interested in becoming a private investigator in Oregon—or anywhere else in the U.S.—note that NITA can help you along your career path, through self-paced, online pre-licensing training, as well as continuing education and professional development courses once you’re licensed. If you have questions as you get started, please give us a call and we’ll help you navigate the best path forward.
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