Uncover the Facts and Expose the Truth
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Private investigation has moved out of the shadows and become a vibrant, intriguing profession. Today, a wide variety of agencies, law firms, insurance companies and government entities rely on savvy PIs who can unearth the facts, compile the evidence and contribute to the resolution of complex issues and sticky situations.
In this three-course certificate program, you’ll develop the legal and professional knowledge and skills to become an effective private investigator. We’ll cover different aspects of the courts and the legal system, practices of civil and criminal case investigation and preparation, various investigative specialties and the latest industry trends. Accelerate your career in the dynamic field of private investigation.
Professionals working as private investigators who want to refresh or expand their skill set, along with those interested in entering the field.
Applicants must meet one of the following requirements:
While not a requirement for entering this certificate program, if you intend to be an unarmed or armed private investigator working for a licensed private investigative agency, the Department of Licensing requires that you “have no criminal convictions that directly relate to your capacity to perform the duties of a private investigator and/or hinders public safety.”
If you're not a native English speaker, you’ll need to have at least basic English language skills to enroll. To learn more, see English Language Proficiency Requirements.
To enroll, international students must have a visa that permits study in the United States. This program does not enable students to obtain or maintain F-1 visa status. For more information, see Admission Requirements for International Students.
You must have access to a computer, and we recommend a high-speed internet connection.
You earn the certificate by regularly attending class and successfully completing all required courses. For more information, see Completing Your Program.
You’ll have the opportunity to take the exam to become a licensed Washington state private investigator.
Complete the courses listed below to earn the certificate. You may be able to take individual courses without enrolling in the certificate program; check the course pages for details.
Private Investigation & the Law
Criminal Investigation & Investigative Techniques
Civil Investigation & the Business of Investigation
Certificate in Private Investigation
View this program's advisory board.
Each of our programs uses an advisory board to review content, guide design and recommend updates to ensure the program remains current as the field of study evolves. By tapping the minds of the top thinkers, doers and leaders in the field, we offer a transformational learning experience. The following individuals serve as the advisory board for this program.
Bryson Alden, Principal and Owner, Alden And Associates
Christine Beck, Investigator, President, C.D. Beck and Associates, Inc.
Rovy Branon, Vice Provost, University of Washington Continuum College
Pat Brown, Administrator, Public Protection Unit, Washington State Department of Licensing
Tina Chang, Assistant Director of Academic Programs, UW Professional & Continuing Education
Chesterene Cwiklik, Forensic Scientist, private practice; Laboratory Director, Cwiklik & Associates
Jennifer Davis, Investigator, Federal Public Defender
Francisco Duarte, Partner, Fox Bowman Duarte, PLLC
Robert Edgmon, VanEgmond Investigations
Leila Gorbman, Owner, Leila Gorbman Investigations
John Hunter, Owner, Investigative Training Service, and Accident Reconstructionist
John Junker, Professor, UW School of Law
Georgia G. Kearns, Owner, Kearns Investigations, Inc.
Elizabeth Lindquist, Managing Attorney, Bernard Law Group, PLLC
Jacqueline McMurtrie, Associate Professor, University of Washington School of Law
Beverly Payne, Supervisor, Division of Licensed Resources, Child Protective Services, Seattle
Joe Purcell, Investigator, Joe Purcell Company
Christian Selk, Supervisor, The Investigation Intern Program, The Defender Association
Susan Stafford, Investigator, Owner, Stafford Legal Investigation
Margaret Wolfe, Investigator, Labor and Industries, State of Washington
With the exception of the one-time application fee, certificate program fees are charged on a quarterly basis. Payment is due when you register.
Course fees do not include any costs for class materials such as textbooks and software.
Drops, Withdrawals & Refunds
Attend class in person at one of our convenient locations. You’ll engage face to face with your classmates and instructors as part of a highly interactive curriculum. An online learning management system may be required to access some course materials and assignments.
Our special blended programs combine the convenience of online study with the vibrancy of in-person classes for a unique learning experience.
Not available for this program
Enjoy the flexibility of online learning, which allows you to participate in class activities, assignments and discussions on your schedule, from anywhere. Experience cutting-edge technology and a supportive, diverse learning community.
Owner/Investigator, Scaffidi & Associates
Attorney at Law
If you’re thinking about heading back to school, you’re probably also wondering how you’ll pay for it. To help you figure that out, we’ve put together a list of ways to help fund your education.
Build an understanding of the U.S. legal system and explore the major aspects of court systems, hearings, trials, laws and legal theory.
Develop the specialized skills required to recover, preserve and evaluate digital forensic evidence in support of civil, criminal and internal investigations.