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Private Investigator

Private investigators gather information to secure evidence relating to a wide range of private, corporate and legal interests.

  • Avg. Salary $30,467.00
  • Avg. Wage $18.14
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 13,100
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Fraud Investigator, Investigator

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Private Investigators (6465.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Protective Service Occupations (G625) 
  • 2011 NOC: Security guards and related security service occupations (6541) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Interest Codes
The Private Investigator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Private Investigators

Interest in compiling information for use in civil and criminal litigation matters; may also conduct polygraph tests (integrity surveys) for clients


Interest in conducting investigations to locate missing persons


Interest in speaking to question individuals to obtain information and evidence

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2016

Private investigators may:

  • investigate and work to prevent loss caused by theft or fraud in corporations and businesses
  • observe disability insurance claimants to see if they are working at another job while they are claiming disability, or to see if their activities are consistent with the claimed disability
  • conduct searches for missing persons
  • gather information for lawyers about defendants or witnesses in criminal and civil court cases
  • gather material or evidence for individuals in divorce or child custody cases
  • conduct pre-employment checks
  • work with government agencies, for example provincial family maintenance agencies.

To gather the information and evidence they need, private investigators may:

  • interview employers, friends, relatives and other sources
  • take photographs and videotape events
  • locate witnesses and obtain statements from them
  • search through public records
  • keep individuals under surveillance.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2016

No two assignments are ever the same. However, long hours and hard work are almost always involved. Much of the work is routine. Depending on the assignment, private investigators may work regular office hours or outside of the office hours, such as evenings, nights and weekends.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 10 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Private investigators need the following characteristics:

  • personal integrity
  • physical fitness
  • tact and good oral and written communication skills
  • good interpersonal skills
  • a good memory
  • the ability to stay alert while performing routine tasks
  • an inquiring mind
  • a determination to investigate each problem in detail.

They should enjoy having work responsibilities that change frequently, taking a methodical approach to compiling information, finding innovative approaches to locating people, and working with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Private investigators must:

  • be licensed by the Government of Alberta (GOA), or employed by a licensed agency
  • be at least 18 years of age
  • be a Canadian citizen or legally entitled to work in Canada
  • be competent and of good character
  • have no serious criminal record for which a pardon has not been granted
  • have no outstanding charges and not be the subject of a criminal investigation
  • be fluent in English (to be able to communicate with the public and emergency responders in emergency situations).

Individuals may be licensed in the following classes:

  • security services worker (includes loss prevention worker, security alarm responder, executive protection worker and patrol dog handler)
  • investigator
  • locksmith
  • automotive lock bypass worker.

To perform investigative work, individuals must hold an investigator class licence. Although individuals may hold more than 1 licence class, those who hold an investigator class licence may not hold an additional licence class as a locksmith or automotive lock bypass worker.

Applicants for the investigator class licence must complete a mandatory Alberta Professional Investigator Training Course (AIT) or provide proof of equivalent training and pass the provincial final exam. For more information, including training details and approved training providers, see the GOA website.

Some agencies require job applicants to have:

  • valid first aid and CPR certificates
  • a valid driver's licence
  • a vehicle.

Some related experience or education is a definite asset when seeking employment. Many agencies provide additional training programs for new employees.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Medicine Hat College

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Private Investigator

Private investigators gather information to secure evidence relating to a wide range of private, corporate and legal interests.


Under Alberta's Security Services and Investigators Act, Security Services and Investigators Regulation and Security Services and Investigators (Ministerial) Regulation, you must be licensed by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General to conduct surveillance activities or seek information about crimes, misconduct or allegations; causes of accidents, injury or damage; the activities or reputation of a person; or the location of property or whereabouts of a person.

What You Need

An applicant for licensing must be at least 18 years of age, a Canadian citizen or legally entitled to work in Canada, fluent in spoken English, competent and of good character and not the subject of a criminal investigation; have no serious criminal record or outstanding criminal charge; and successfully complete training and examination requirements. For official, detailed information about licensing requirements, visit the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General website.

Working in Alberta

Private investigators who are licensed and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for licensing in Alberta if they meet the training standards for Alberta. In order to perform investigation work in Alberta an Alberta licence is required. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

Contact Details

Security Services and Investigators Program
Alberta Justice and Solicitor General
9th Floor John E. Brownlee Building
10365 - 97 Street
Edmonton, Alberta  
Canada  T5J 3W7
Phone number: 1-877-462-0791
Fax number: 780-427-4670

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Private investigators are employed by investigation companies and security agencies. Some start their own agencies.

To open a private investigation agency, a contract business licence is required from the GOA. Applicants for this licence must:

  • be a registered company in Canada with an address in Alberta
  • hold a business licence or permit in the municipality where the business operates, if applicable
  • hold $1 million liability insurance
  • have business owners, partners or a board of directors who have no serious criminal record for which a pardon has not been granted, have no outstanding criminal charges and are not the subject of a criminal investigation
  • pay a $1,500 licensing fee for an agency (based on a 3-year term).

In the case of sole proprietorship, applicants must meet both business and individual (see Educational Requirements above) licensing requirements. Sole proprietors must submit the business and individual licensing application forms and documents, but are only required to pay the $1,500 business licensing fee.

Advancement opportunities are limited.

Private investigators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6541: Security guards and related security service occupations. In Alberta, 76% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Private investigators usually are paid a commission according to the fee paid by the client. Earnings vary enormously depending on employer and experience.

Security guards and related security service occupations

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $12.50 $20.00 $15.19 $14.00
Overall $14.10 $21.37 $18.14 $17.38
Top $16.00 $36.22 $23.70 $22.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Educational Services
Retail Trade
Business, Building and Other Support Services
Information, Culture, Recreation
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Accommodation & Food Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2016

Alberta Association of Private Investigators website:

Alberta Justice and Solicitor General website:

Canadian Association of Private Investigators website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 29, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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