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CPI Certification

What Is The Certified Private Investigator Program?


The Certified Private Investigator program is a nationwide certification that provides objective proof and verification of outstanding knowledge, experience and proficiency in the investigating field. Administered by the PIAI, certification grants the use of the professional designation Certified Private Investigator, it's post nominals CPI (i.e. John Davis CPI), and the CPI logo.


Applicants must be at least 21 years old.


Applicants must have a minimum of 500 verifiable investigative hours. This excludes law enforcement, government or military work experience hours. See professional experience hour requirement discounts below.


Applicants must provide proof of and maintain general liability insurance including errors & omissions with a minimum $500,000 coverage.


Applicants must possess and maintain a private investigator license issued by their city and/or state of practice where licensing is required. CPI certification does not substitute license requirements by local authorities.

Certified Private Investigator Application Requirements

CPI Logo

Professional Work Experience Hour Requirement Discounts

Military & Law Enforcement: 50% reduction to 250 verifiable hours of professional work experience.

Private Investigation Education: 25% reduction to 375 verifiable hours of professional work experience.

Certified Private Investigator Program Information

The Certified Private Investigator certification process consists of an application process and an exam detailed below.

Certification Fees

Initial Two Year Certification:

$150.00 for PIAI members with a background check on file. Non PIAI members are subject to an additional $50 background check fee.



$75.00 for PIAI members who have a background check on file. Non PIAI members are subject to an additional $50 background check fee.

Certified Private Investigator Program Requirements


Submit a completed application with any applicable background check fees and accompanied by three professional, industry-related references who have known the applicant for at least three years.


Upon application approval and successful background check, applicant must complete an oral interview by the certification board.


Continuing Education:

Applicant must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years prior to recertification. A list of acceptable continuing education will be supplied with the certification packet.


Applicant must pass a certification exam comprised of approximately 175 questions with at least an 80% score. The timed exam must be completed within 6 hours.