How To Become A Private Investigator In Ohio In 2022 | Schools, Requirements

The duty of a Private Investigator is one that requires tact and knowledge that comes from education and experience. For the purpose of this article, we’ll show you how to become a Private Investigator in Ohio by stating the step-by-step process involved. Carefully read through!

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Private Investigators in Ohio earn $50,510 annually and $24,28 per hour. The job is expected to rise by 8% from 2021 to 2028.

To become a private investigator in Ohio, you must earn a license through the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which requires passing a written exam and satisfying background checks.

Before we go on to walk you through the steps to becoming a Private Investigator in Ohio, I think it’s important we take you through the duties of a PI in Ohio and their annual earnings. Stay with me!

See the table of contents below for a quick overview of this article.

Who Is A Private Investigator?

According to Wikipedia, a private investigator (often abbreviated to PI and informally called a private eye), a private detective, or inquiry agent, is a person who can be hired by individuals or groups to undertake investigatory law services. They often work for attorneys in civil and criminal cases.

Furthermore, a private investigator is one who finds facts and analyzes information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer services like verifying people’s background, investigating computer crimes, tracing missing people, and lots more.

As a private investigator, you can work for individuals, attorneys, or businesses or own your own agency. Due to the nature of the job, it’s not something anyone can do anyhow, there is a laid down process and protocols to the job. For instance, Private Investigators use a variety of tools to research facts about a particular case. Much of their work revolves around the use of the internet and cyberspace.

To cap it all, Private Investigators in Ohio work for organizations and individuals to find information. In the course of their job, they may engage in different types of cases, finding legal, personal, or financial information; performing background checks; interviewing people; and engaging in surveillance activities.

What Does A Private Investigator in Ohio Do? Career description, Duties and Tasks

Private Investigators in Ohio work for corporations, law firms, individuals, or any other entity that needs the services of a PI. Here, they are charged with the responsibility of verifying information, assembling evidence, searching for missing persons, and looking into any matter deemed worthy of investigation.

As a PI in Ohio and a private citizen, they understand the legal constructs binding them and make sure to keep to them. That is to say, a Private Investigator should have a good understanding of Federal and Local laws, such as privacy laws. However, private investigators must learn to make good choices as to how to go about a case.

Furthermore, in the discharge of their duties, Private Investigators carry out surveillance in accordance with the available subject and reports. In some cases, they might have the need to properly collect evidence like photos and other exhibits available. This can be done using photographic and video cameras, binoculars, and global positioning systems (GPS).

Therefore, the job of a Private Investigator in Ohio revolves around researching targets and yielding factual results.

A Private Investigator in Ohio carries out the following duties:

  • Interview people to gather information.
  • Do various types of researches, using computer or non-computerized records.
  • Conduct surveillance (looking for, following, or watching a person without that person noticing)
  • Collect evidence to present in court.
  • Verify employment, income, and facts on a person’s background.
  • Investigate computer crimes, such as identity theft and illegal downloads.
  • Assist in cases of criminal and civil liability, missing-persons cases, and insurance claims and fraud.

How Can I Become A Private Investigator In Ohio?

To become a Private Investigator in Ohio, there are various paths to achieve the aim. However, where experience counts, the laid down steps matter. Prior to getting a license to practice as a Private Investigator in Ohio, you need to meet specific educational training, experience, examination, and background check requirements.

The list below explains the step by step process to becoming a Private Investigator in Ohio.

Step 1. Obtain a High School Diploma

To be a better fit for the job, you need to have a high school diploma. This is because most employers won’t fancy the idea of hiring someone without a high school diploma as a Private Investigator.

It will be of great benefit if you obtain an associate or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. This is so because a degree in criminal justice or any other related discipline exposes you to the workings and technicalities involved in the duty of a private investigator. Furthermore, a degree qualifies you for wider opportunities.

Armed PI Training – You will need to learn the fundamentals of firearms training at a school that has been approved by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission and prove that you successfully completed the program.  This requires 20 hours of training in using a handgun.  If you plan on using other types of firearms, you will need 5 hours of additional training.

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Step 3. Get Relevant Work Experience

With adequate experience in law enforcement, it will be easy to adapt and perform optimally well as a Private Investigator. Many private investigators work in law enforcement agencies before moving on to become a private investigator. This can also serve as a perfect post-retirement plan.

Step 4. Obtain License

To obtain a license to practice as a Private Investigator in Ohio, you have to satisfy a good number of requirements that will be listed as we go on in this piece. However, the license is the only approval to practice as a PI in Ohio.

How To Obtain A Private Investigator License in Ohio

There are two main steps to follow in order to obtain PI license in Ohio are:

Step 1.  Submit your Ohio Application

When you submit your application, you will also have to provide the following:

  • Photograph (recent full-face)
  • Character references (from at least 5 reputable citizens)
  • Fees:
    • Examination fee of $25
    • License fee of up to $375 (refundable if you don’t get a license)
  • Fingerprints for a criminal background check—submitted directly to the Superintendent of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation
  • Proof of liability insurance of at least
    • $100,000 for each investigator
    • $300,000 for each occurrence of bodily injury
    • $100,000 for property damage

Forms are available on the state’s website for the PISGS.  If you want to carry a firearm in the line of work, you will need to notify the Director.

Step 2.  Take the Ohio Examination

After you have submitted your application for your license, you will be told when and where to go to take your written examination.  Unless you prove illness by a doctor’s certificate, you will have to appear on this date. 

The exam covers the state’s regulations for the private investigation business in Chapter 4749 of the state’s revised code, along with other features of working as a private investigator.  You will have to score 80% on this 75 question multiple exams to pass it.

What Are The Requirements To Become A Private Investigator In Ohio?

After satisfying the educational and experience requirements, there are background requirements you need to satisfy in other to obtain a license. Private investigator licenses are issued by the Private Investigators & Security Services (PISGS) of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.  

Background requirements

  • Age: Fulfilling requirements for licensure will see applicants being at least 21 years of age in most cases.
  • Provisional Requirements: Provisional licenses aren’t necessary or available in Ohio.
  • Applicants must be free of violent crimes, felonies, sexual offenses, or other crimes involving moral turpitude.
  • The military discharge doesn’t come into play in Ohio licensing.
  • There are no financial background checks.
  • You need to be mentally competent to hold licensure.
  • Businesses must be bonded for $100,000 per investigator, plus $100,000 in property damage liability and carry $300,000 in bodily injury insurance.
  • Criminal offenses or mental incompetence will disqualify an applicant.

A licensing fee of $375, plus an examination fee of $25 and any fingerprinting fees.

How Much Does A Private Investigator In Ohio Earn? Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Private Investigators in Ohio earn $50,510 annually and $24,28 per hour. The job is expected to rise by 8% from 2028-2028.

To become a private investigator in Ohio, you must earn a license through the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which requires passing a written exam and a background check, completing at least 4,000 hours (two years) of experience as an investigator (or law enforcement officer or military policeman), and providing proof of liability insurance in the following amounts:

  • $100,000 per investigator
  • $100,000 for property damage
  • $300,000 for each occurrence of bodily injury

If you’ve gone the extra mile and earned a degree in criminal justice degree, you’ll only need 2,000 hours of experience to qualify for licensure. Applicants who want to be armed must attend a school approved by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission.

Do Private Investigators In Ohio Carry Gun?

Generally, Private Investigators do not carry guns. This is because the duty of a Private detector in Ohio is not a violent one that involves street arrests or dealing with violent criminals. However, in some circumstances, there might be a need for a PI in Ohio to carry a licensed gun. After obtaining weapons permit from the right police department, PI’s can move to carry guns when need be.

Schools For Private Investigators In Ohio

Ohio’s criminal justice schools offer many opportunities to earn an education that prepares you for careers in fields such as law enforcement, forensics, private investigation, and corrections. There are numerous options to earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or even a doctoral degree in criminal justice in Ohio.

The program you choose will likely be tied to your career goals. Some criminal justice employers may require only a high school diploma, while others may require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. However, even if a degree is not required, holding a degree can make you a more competitive applicant. Having a criminal justice degree can also better prepare you for training academies, lead to higher starting salaries, and provide better chances at promotion.

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List of Criminal Justice Programs in Ohio

  • University of Cincinnati – Main Campus
  • Xavier University
  • University of Dayton
  • Ohio Northern University
  • Cedarville University
  • The University of Findlay
  • Baldwin Wallace University
  • University of Mount Union
  • Miami University
  • Bowling Green State University-Main Campus

Our list of top criminal justice schools for Private investigators in Ohio was selected based on the following ranking factors:

Accreditation – This shows whether a program is approved by the regional or national accrediting body.

Reputation – This data shows the program’s ranking performance on other websites.

1. University of Cincinnati – Main Campus

The no.1 school for Private Investigator in Ohio on our list awards Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral Degrees. U of C is committed to the pursuit of discovery and excellence in research, teaching, and service that addresses real-world challenges and opportunities to create positive social change. Furthermore, they prepare students to maximize their ability to have a positive impact and to be contributing members to society. 

It’s a big public university in a large city. In 2015, 519 students graduated in the study area of Criminal Justice with students earning 283 Master’s degrees, 229 Bachelor’s degrees, and 7 Doctoral degrees. It has 4,958 students currently.

The College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) at the University of Cincinnati is consistently a nationally-ranked no. 1 College by numerous ranking agencies, including US News and World Report, USA Today, and College Factual. 

The University of Cincinnati (UC) and all regional campuses are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

2. Xavier University

The Criminal Justice program at Xavier University has a long history of preparing graduates for careers in law enforcement, the judicial system and corrections, and private investigation.

Criminal justice examines the nature, incidence, prevalence, distribution, cause, and remedies to crime and delinquency in our society.

Xavier is ranked #1 for its excellent academic reputation among top competitors in the region. Students get the best of education, from rigorous classroom studies to experiential learning in the real world.

Xavier University awards 4 Criminal Justice Degree programs. It’s a medium-sized private university in a large city. In 2015, 21 students graduated in the study area of Criminal Justice with students receiving 16 Bachelor’s degrees, 5 Master’s degrees.

Xavier University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

3. University of Dayton

The Criminal Justice Studies Program at the University of Dayton provides potential private investigators with knowledge of the historical, philosophical, social, political, and legal theories, concepts, practices, and events that affect the criminal justice system, its agencies, and components in contemporary society.

The Criminal Justice Studies Program (CJS) offers a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. Here, students gain practical and critical understanding of criminal justice, justice studies and criminology.

The University of Dayton offers 2 Criminal Justice Degree programs. It’s a large private university in a mid-sized city. In 2015, 32 students graduated in the study area of Criminal Justice with students earning 32 Bachelor’s degrees.

The University of Dayton is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

4. Ohio Northern University

ONU offers a major and minor in Criminal Justice. In this program, you’ll take challenging courses in corrections, policing, the courts, and juvenile justice as well as courses in related fields like psychology, sociology, political science, statistics, and research methods. Many of these courses include strong research and writing components.

You’ll also develop teamwork, communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills with hands-on experience in the field. 

Upon graduation, you’ll be ready for whatever the future holds – whether it’s attending law school, rehabilitating criminal offenders, fighting terrorism, or eventually working for the FBI.

The bachelor’s program at ONU ranks #69 on College Factual’s Best Schools for the criminal justice list.

Ohio Northern University holds accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission.

5. Cedarville University

Cedarville’s distinctly Christian B.A. in criminal justice degree will prepare you for graduate school or career positions in a wide range of criminal justice fields.

The criminal justice program faculty believes so strongly in the importance of internship experience that they require an internship as part of the program.

The program prepares you for a career in private investigation, police officer, detective, probation officer, and other law enforcement-related careers.

The University holds regional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission.

6. The University of Findlay

The criminal justice program at the University of Findlay will put you on the path to a successful and productive career. 

Criminal justice students benefit from dedicated and caring faculty whose primary focus is on meeting your personal needs and career aspirations beyond earning your criminal justice degree through interactive instruction and personalized one-on-one advising.

With a comprehensive interdisciplinary curriculum design, you will be fit for successful careers in many diverse areas of criminal justice including law enforcement, courts, corrections, and juvenile justice. 

At the end of the program, students go on to work in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, local police and probation departments, private investigators, and lots more.

The University of Findlay holds accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission.

7. Baldwin Wallace University

BW’s Criminal justice bachelor’s program offers diverse career opportunities in corrections, law enforcement, private investigation, law and courts, and juvenile justice.

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Its interdisciplinary nature helps you know the psychological, sociological, and political factors underlying criminal and delinquent behavior and critical issues within the criminal justice system.

Through BW’s program, you’ll gain critical thinking and problem-solving skills that equip you for a career in law enforcement, courts, and corrections. You’ll gain insights, strategies, and professional practices that can be readily applied to real-world situations.

A comprehensive, interdisciplinary program, criminal justice includes coursework key areas such as policing, criminology, and victimology, as well as relevant courses in psychology, political science, sociology, and statistics. It is offered as a major and minor.

Baldwin Wallace University holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

8. University of Mount Union

The Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from the University of Mount Union provides students with the skills to obtain a career in any number of fields.

The criminal justice degree offers four tracks to choose from – law enforcement, community corrections, forensic studies, or criminology. The courses permit students to study a wide variety of topics from dedicated faculty.

As an interdisciplinary study, criminal justice combines sociology, psychology, forensic science, legal studies, philosophy, political science, and urban studies, and tries to identify and explain patterns of criminal behavior.

The University of Mount Union  is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

9. University of Miami

The Bachelor of Science in criminal justice at Miami’s Regional locations offers students a comprehensive and dynamic understanding of crime, justice, punishment and corrections, policing, and the legal system within the context of a liberal arts education.

Furthermore, the degree in Criminal Justice prepares budding private investigator in Ohio for in-demand careers in the U.S. criminal justice system. The two and four-year degrees are offered exclusively at Miami University’s regional locations in Hamilton, Middletown, and West Chester.

At the end of the program, graduates possess the knowledge, experiences, and skills needed to lead a meaningful, reflective life, who will be productive and contributing citizens, who will be successful in their criminal justice careers, and who will be life-long learners.

The University of Miami is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees.

10. Bowling Green State University-Main Campus

The mission of the Criminal Justice Program is to be the leader in educating future criminal justice practitioners by providing students with the skill needed to critically examine the world around them, the ability to understand and embrace the diversity of the society in which they serve and live, and the continuing desire to learn more about themselves, society, and the criminal justice field.

Most of our criminal justice classes are taught by full-time, highly qualified faculty who are well respected nationally in their field and bring real-world experience to their teaching. 

Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. 

Conclusion

Having taken you through the step by step process to becoming a private investigator in Ohio, the duty is yours to keenly adhere to the steps and make moves in the right direction to achieve the goal.

FAQs On How To Become A Private Investigator In Ohio

Who is a private investigator?

A private investigator is a person who can be hired by individuals or groups to undertake investigatory law services. They often work for attorneys in civil and criminal cases.

What does a private investigator in Ohio do?

Private Investigators in Ohio work for corporations, law firms, individuals or any other entity that needs the services of a PI. Here, they are charged with the responsibility of verifying information, assembling evidence, searching for missing persons and looking into any matter deemed worthy of investigation.

Do Private Investigators in Ohio carry guns?

Generally, Private Investigators do not carry guns. This is because the duty of a Private detector in Ohio is not a violent one that involves street arrests or dealing with violent criminals.

How can I become a Private Investigator in Ohio?

To become a private investigator in Ohio, you need to Obtain the relevant degree and training, get relevant work experience and lastly obtain license.

References

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