Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image
FAQ's for Private Investigators
Becoming a Private Investigator or Provisional Investigator
I want to be licensed for the first time, what do I need to complete?
  • Complete a PS-1 (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.
  • Complete at least one (1) fingerprint card in a tamper proof  bag along with the fingerprint affidavit form (PS-4)
  • Complete three (3) professional letters of reference.  References cannot be related to you by blood or marriage.
  • Submit proof of 1500 hours (via resume) of professional work experience if applying for a private investigators license.  No proof of experience required if applying for a provisional investigators license. (Some educational substitution may apply.)
  • Complete two (2) passport quality photographs. (Photos are to be submitted electronically at piappsubmittal@state.or.us. *Digital photo must meet certian criteria, see below for explaination. No copies or laser printer copies will be accepted.)
  • Review the list of criminal disqualifiers. (This list is available on our website http://www.oregon.gov/DPSST/PS/forms.shtml under the ‘criminal disqualifier’ tab.
  • Submit a one-time $79 application fee and the required $550 licensing fee (VISA/MC, cashier’s check, money order, or business check. No personal checks or cash please.)
  • Once your completed application packet is processed you will be registered to take the PI Proficiency Exam.  Please review our training calendar for class availability.  http://www.oregon.gov/DPSST/PS/docs/PSManagerInstClassSchedule.pdf
*Criteria for electronically submittal: Jpeg format (.jpg), minimum 640x480 resolution, cropped for head shot, solid colored background, photo date must be within the last six months, sent from an email address on file at DPSST (or) if new applicant, sent from email address listed on application or submitted on a CD with paper documents and driver's license quality professional photograph.
**The initial application process and criminal background check typically takes 4-8 weeks.**

Bond, Errors & Omissions Insurance
What is required by DPSST?
The state minimum standard amount required for a Bond or E&O Insurance is $5000.  Keep in mind this is the state minimum standard; most investigators are bonded/insured for much more than this amount.  Bonds and E&O Insurance can be obtained through various insurance providers.
If you are securing a Bond, your own name must be listed as principal on the bond form.
If you are securing E&O insurance, DPSST will not accept it unless the E&O Insurance shows that you are the insured. 
*Your PI license is issued to YOU, not your business and it is important to ensure that you are protected under your Bond and/or Insurance.*

How can I get CEU's?
Current Oregon Administrative Rule allows PI’s to obtain continuing education units when attending conferences and seminars, viewing industry related videos, attending computer seminars, attending educational institutions, publishing an article or book, self study including on-line courses, reading non-fiction investigation related books or professional/technical manuals, television and radio appearances, Board/Committee meetings, and network meetings. Refer to OAR 259-061-0240 for a better explanation of how you can get your CEU’s. 

How do I kow what I can count towards my required CEU's?
The Oregon Administrative Rule provides you with the foundation, and should be the first place you look.  If you feel the training/class/seminar/book/meeting is of benefit to you as an investigator or to your business, and the potential venue is in line with OAR guidelines then assume it will count.  Be sure you can articulate your need for the training, and its benefit to your business or professional development,in the event your training record is audited.  You may refer to OAR 259-061-0240 for clarification.  You may also contact DPSST if you have any questions.

Is two CEU hours of ethics really required? How can I 'package' those hours?
Yes, Oregon Administrative Rule requires two hours of ethics every licensing period.  Your CEU worksheet must show the two hours of ethics training separated from the other CEU hours.  A course on ethics may be taken individually or extracted from seminars or symposiums that offer sessions coving ethical issues.

Other training
How do I find out about training opportunities?
The Private Security/Private Investigator program shares the responsibility for processing initial and renewal licenses/certifications, providing constituent training, customer assistance, and administering and regulating the statutes and rules governing 15,000+ constituents.  To reduce costs we do not regularly mail out newsletters, other bulk mailings or training announcements.  Instead, we rely on communications through our website and industry specific list serves.
Our website is a resource that is very helpful known as the list serve.  There is access to training opportunities, newsletters, FAQ’s, necessary forms for licensure/certification, and contact information. 
When you sign up for the list serve, you will automatically receive training announcements via e-mail as we send them out.    Here is the link: http://www.oregon.gov/DPSST/PS/ListServe.shtml
Some training opportunities are free and some require a fee.

Does DPSST open classes to private investigators?
The state of Oregon mandates that DPSST provide training for police officers, corrections, parole and probation, and 911 dispatchers. At this time, Oregon law does not have a legal mandate to provide training to private investigators. The disciplines that fall under the mandate have priority access to training resources.

Does DPSST offer or sponsor training?
Yes, but because the PI industry is so diverse, it is nearly impossible for DPSST to isolate a specific topic of investigative instruction that would be beneficial to a large percentage of our constituents. Unlike private security providers, PI’s are not requiredby law to take mandated DPSST training as a condition of renewing their license.  The only training provided by DPPST is the PI Orientation that is associated with the PI Proficiency Exam.  This training is specifically designed to educate individuals on the professional standards of the industry and assist them in the preparation of the examination.

PI exam
How can I prepare for the PI exam?
The proficiency exam is a combination of 50 multiple choice and true/false questions.  It is an open book exam and all resource materials will be provided for you.  You will be provided copies of Oregon Revised Statute (ORS 703.401-703.995) and Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR 259 Division 61) which are relevant to the exam. You are not allowed to use any of your own materials during the exam.  You have up to three opportunities to pass this exam with a minimum of 86%.
The exam also covers statutes that PI’s need to be aware of while conducting investigations in Oregon.  Feel free to research the following statutes prior to your exam date. (ORS Chapter 9, 40, 135 and 161-167)
The orientation and exam typically takes all day, so please plan accordingly.  The first three to four hours of the day will be spent covering general licensing requirements and standards.  The exam will directly follow the orientation.  A lunch break will be provided between the orientation and proficiency exam.

Renewing License
What is required for renewal?
  • Complete the renewal application
  • Complete two (2) passport quality photographs. (Photos are to be submitted electronically.  No copies or laser printer copies will be accepted.)
  • Complete a Continuing Education Summary Form that meets the CEU requirements.
  • Provide proof of a valid bond or insurance if your policy has lapsed or changed.
  • Submit a $550 licensing fee (VISA/MC, cashier’s check, money order, or business check. No personal checks or cash please.)
Renewal applications should be submitted to DPSST a minimum of two weeks and no more than 90 days prior to expiration. It is illegal for you to continue to provide investigative services after the expiration date of your license, even if your renewal is pending. DPSST cannot guarantee that we can process your renewal in two week or less, so don’t procrastinate and get your forms in as early as possible.   
If your required renewal forms/fees/passport photographs are received afteryour expiration date, you will be assessed a $25 late fee.
If you submit for renewal 30 days past your expiration date,Oregon law requires you to comply with all the requirements of a new applicant, including taking the exam and completing the complete background investigation again.  If you are in this situation, feel free to contact our office and we can instruct you on how to proceed.

How long does the renewal process take?
After you submit the required forms/fees and photographs, the renewal process typically take 3-5 weeks.