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Private Investigations

Online, Non-credit, Career Ready Certificate

Work with educators and field experts – including Executive Director Dr. Scott Belshaw, while earning the Certificate in Professional Private Investigations from PDX of the University of North Texas. This exciting program prepares students to enter the field of private investigations.

Every program is taught by professional faculty, attorneys and practitioners in the field. This curriculum offers over 200 hours of instruction broken down into 10 classes over 33 weeks, including special topics. The program is exclusively online. Call for complete details.

Upon successful completion of the program, you will be awarded a Certificate in Professional Private Investigations from PDX and be automatically eligible to sit for the licensing PI exam in Texas. (after meeting all other PSB licensing requirements)

Features of the Private Investigations Program

  • 200 hours of instruction
  • Taught by seasoned experts
  • All-inclusive tuition is only $4,595

Qualifications for Becoming a PI

A person may be eligible to sit for the licensing exam, provided he/ she meets one of the following five criteria:
  • 3 consecutive years of investigation related experience
  • A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or related course of study
  • A bachelors degree with twelve (12) months of investigation related experience
  • An associate’s degree in criminal justice or related course of study, with twenty-four (24) months of investigation related experience
  • A specialized course of study directly designed for and related to the private investigation profession, taught and presented through affiliation with a four (4) year college or university accredited and recognized by the State of Texas. This course of study must be endorsed by the four (4) year college or university’s department of criminal justice program and include a departmental faculty member(s) on its instructional faculty. This course of study must consist of a minimum of two hundred (200) instructional hours including coverage of ethics, the Act, and this chapter; or
  • Other combinations of education and investigation related experience may be substituted for the above at the discretion of the department or its designated representative. The degrees referenced in subsection (a) of this section must be affiliated with a college of university recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or other accreditation organization recognized by the State of Texas.
  • For more details on the qualifications, view the Texas Administrative Code


    Civil/Insurance Investigations I

    Differentiate and understand insurance, fraud, vehicle, product liability and police-involved investigations.

    Criminal Investigations I

    Learn precise and methodical techniques used in the careful collection of information and evidence in a criminal investigation. Heavy emphasis will be placed on understanding crime scene investigation, discovery, and court testimony. Understand the critical importance of communication with law enforcement, civilians, professionals and other subjects in an investigation.

    Domestic and Family Investigations I

    Discuss the sensitive nature of all types of cases, review high profile examples and discuss positive business responses. Discuss and prepare for the responsiveness, creativity and sensitivity that are usually needed in large amounts during these investigations.

    Foundations of Private Investigation and Professional Ethics

    An overview of private investigations as a profession.

    Investigative Techniques & Research I

    A review of research practices and sources.

    Investigative Techniques and Research II

    A focus on conducting investigative interviews and on planning, conducting, recording, interpreting, and presenting the results. Learn best practices and real time in-class research.

    Legal aspects of Private Investigations In Texas

    Principles of law and the role of private investigators.

    PI Practice Management

    Explore what it takes to establish and structure a private investigation business, and how to work with clients and other professionals in the field. Review Section 1702 of the Texas Occupation Code, the Rules and regulations of the Private Security Board and DPS. Review client Interaction, creating partnerships and networks with law enforcement, other professional investigators, and those within the legal field.

    Pre Employment/Background/Corporate Investigations

    Learn how to help companies as well as individuals protect themselves in the marketplace and on the street. Review and understand the rules and regulations surrounding the obtaining of information, how it is obtained and how it is then communicated effectively to the client.

    Special Topics in Private Investigations

    Have the opportunity to overview many of the most intriguing PI topics in our Special Topics Classes, with separate presentations on each individual topic. Topics may include: Asset Investigations; Bail Enforcement Investigations; Beginning Photography & Media; Computer Crimes & Internet Investigations; Executive Protection; Forensic & Crime Scene Investigation; Loss Prevention Basics and Physical Security; Missing Persons; SIU – Accident Reconstruction; Fraud & Forensic Accounting; Arson Investigation; Nursing Home/Elder Care Investigations; and Electronic Countermeasures / TSCM / Debugging.

    Surveillance & Undercover Operations

    Understand how observation and description are related to investigations. Includes sections on surveillance and undercover/covert operations.

    Executive Committee

    Scott H. Belshaw,
    Ph.D. Advisory Council Chair, Executive Director

    Dr. Belshaw holds a Ph.D in Juvenile Criminal Justice. He is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of North Texas and Director or UNT’s Cyber Forensics Lab. His primary investigative experience is in criminal investigations. He is an expert in the field of criminal mitigation and investigations.

    Karen Hewitt
    Hewitt and Cowden Investigations

    Ms. Hewitt is a UNT graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and is a Texas Licensed Private Investigator. She spent years as a criminal investigator and as a staff investigator with a civil law firm. She graduated from East Texas Police Academy and has her Basic and Intermediate Peace Officer certificates. She served as President and Chairman of the Board of Texas Association of Licensed Investigators, is a member of the Public Affairs and Community Service board of UNT. She obtained the distinction of Texas Certified Investigator.

    Robert Wall

    Mr. Wall has a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Texas. He is a lecturer at the University of North Texas and was formerly an adjunct instructor at Tarrant County College. He is also a retired police officer with more than 28 years service with the Grapevine and Haltom City Police Departments. His law enforcement experience includes investigations, crime scene search, traffic investigation and reconstruction. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Criminology at the University of Texas-Dallas.

    Reynaldo Ramirez, Jr.,
    BBA, MBA, JD

    Mr. Ramirez, QL TT University of Oxford, Ox Brooks, has taught law, as an adjunct law professor, at Texas Southern University’s law school for several years. He is the author of the “Texas Traffic Ticket Dismissal” book. He has been a Chief Prosecutor, a Chief Public Defender in Webb County, as well as Chief of the Harris County Public Defenders Mental Health Division. He has held the position of corporate counsel for the Texas Mexican Railway, as well as other transportation and Fortune 500 companies. He has also represented investigatory and security entities. He currently practices civil and criminal law in Houston and holds the position of chief counsel to the Mexican American Sheriffs Association in Harris County, Texas.

    Advisory Council

    Jimmie Mesis is one of the most recognized private investigators in the world. He has created three investigative agencies. He owns a marketing consulting firm and several Internet based companies. He and his wife Rosemarie own PI Magazine. Jimmie sits on the Board for the National Council of Investigation & Security Services (NCISS).
    Sonja Raffeet/Research World Unlimited
    Clyde Burleson/Attorney at Law
    Jim Bearden/Jim Bearden & Associates, PLLC
    George Cervantes/Cervantes & Associates, Inc.

    If you have any questions about the program or the registration process, please contact us by phone at (940) 369-7363 or by email at PDX@unt.edu.

    Download PDX Private Investigation Flyer

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