How to Become a Private Investigator in Montana

A private investigator in Montana is a highly trained individual specializing in various

investigation types. If you have a private investigation case that you would like to hire someone to conduct, you should choose a private investigation agency that has experience handling the case. The companies listed below have a history of providing

private investigations in Western Montana. Their services are available throughout the state, including Missoula, Kalispell, Billings, and the surrounding areas.

Bitterroot Investigations

Bitterroot Investigations is a full-service investigation agency specializing in Montana insurance and  civil investigations. The  company was  founded by  Devin Heffelfinger, a

licensed private investigator in Montana, previously California, and offers a wide range of  services. Heffelfinger has over 13 years of investigative experience, including  8 years as a fugitive recovery agent in California. As an  investigator  and  fugitive recovery agent, he has managed thousands of cases. This means that he has encountered practically every situation imaginable in the field. This vast repository of experiences allows him to apply his knowledge to new situations without losing focus .

Qualifications to become a private investigator in Montana

You can work as a Montana private investigator if you meet these requirements. To be licensed in Montana, you must be a US ci tizen or permanent state resident. You must have 5400 hours of verifiable experience in investigations. You can  partially  reduce the 5400 hours needed with a criminal justice degree. Then, you must pass an

examination and submit three-character references. You also need to pass a criminal background check administered by the State of Montana. It’s important to note that

you can only work as a private investigator if you have no  criminal  records like felonies or crimes of moral turpitude. You must have at least $500 ,000 in liability insurance.

You must also submit three professional letters of reference duri ng the licensing process. The process can take four to eight weeks. Private investigators in Montana must be at least eighteen years old, but you can get a license if you are at least

twenty-one. However, the process can be accelerated if you have some col lege credits. Then, you can apply for a license with the Board of Private Security in Montana. This agency will administer an exam covering various laws regarding Montana’s private investigations. Usually, a passing grade for the exam is seventy percent.

Requirements to maintain a license

In Montana, private investigators must renew their licenses every year. They must pay

$175 for renewal, and if they are licensed to use f irearms, they must also pay a $50 renewal fee. Private investigators are also required to complete yearly continuing education by companies approved by the Board of Private Security.

Earning potential

In May 2020, the median salary for private investigators in Montana was $71,531, which is $18,000 more than the national average. Becoming a Montana private

investigator requires specific training. Unlike the government licensing course, private investigator education involves learning about the private investigation industry,

different investigative techniques, and career options. The training is conducted in

either an in-person or online setting. In either case, the goal is to provide prospective PIs with the knowledge necessary to become successful in the field.

As a private investigator, your earnings potential will depend on the type of cases you take on. You’ll typically charge by the hour for your services. However, the amount of money you’ll earn depends on where you work, how much discretion you need to exercise, and whether or not you’re facing danger in the type of  cases you take. Once  a private investigation firm has hired you, the investigator can give you an estimate of the cost of the job.


Whether you want to become a Montana private investigator or work in a private security company, several resources are available. These resources may include databases, human contacts, and other resources that help you do your job better and more efficiently. According to Billy Jensen, the key to successful private investigation work is information exchange. Billy Jensen is an investigative journalist focused on unsolved murders and missing persons. Combining the shoe-leather investigative work and skills he learned reporting crime with techniques honed from his day job as a digital executive, Jensen has solved or helped solve ten homicides and helped locate missing persons. You must share as much information with your investigator as possible so they can be effective and efficient. In addition, you will need to have the necessary equipment for your career field.


The Montana Board of Private Security regul ates licensed private investigators in Montana. Unlike in other states, you must have 5400 hours of experience as a private investigator to get a private investigator license . You may apply for an apprenticeship

with an agency licensed in the state. Apprentices must have a sponsor to work under a licensed Montana PI agency.

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