School Catalog

Detective Training Institute
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 909, San Juan Capistrano, California 92693-0909
Telephone: (888) 425-9338, Fax: (949) 498-4751, website:

Course: Private Investigator
Objective: Become a Private Investigator
Type of Program: Non-Degree, Diploma

DTI’s provides valuable training to people who are willing to work as private investigators but cannot do so without proper training and instruction in the field of private investigation. The school was founded to provide its graduates with the necessary job skills to perform private investigations to the satisfaction of their employers, or to work independently on their own after meeting their state’s licensing requirements.

In DTI’s course, there is an emphasis on different types of investigative work, and the role and functions of private investigators. You’ll learn the various practices and techniques used in private investigation, enhance your ability to perform effective record searches through public information sources, and learn how to decipher and summarize court files in public documents and various types of investigations. You will also learn how to gather and evaluate facts and properly gather evidence and develop witness and statements through interviews. You'll develop further skills needed for investigations in such specialized areas as background searches, insurance fraud, personal injury, surveillance, skip tracing, and missing persons. Finally, you'll learn about the investigative opportunities in the business community. You’ll learn how to create opportunities for employment through contacts, networking, and other resources.

DTI does not provide employment placement services. The school does not release graduate names to private parties seeking to employ the student to conduct investigations since the student would be required to be state licensed to offer such services.

You do not need to be licensed to learn private investigation or conduct your own personal investigations. However, if you intend to advertise your services to solicit business from the general public, you must apply for a state license. Generally, you will be required to work under another investigator’s license for a period of two to three years to fulfill your state’s experiential requirements before becoming licensed.

The following are general requirements for private investigators in states with licensing laws for private investigators and for positions in private industry. However, they vary from state to state and with different private agencies. Verify the private investigator licensing laws in your state before enrolling.

Applicants must be at least 18, 21, or 25 years of age depending on the state. Private industry usually requires the applicant to be at least 18 years of age. There is no maximum age limit. States with licensing laws usually give written examinations, but never oral examinations. Private industry may require written examinations and oral interviews.

Many states may require a licensing fee and/or posting a bond. Some states require you to have one to three years of work experience/internship as a private investigator trainee before applying for a state license. Applicants must be in generally good health although many minor handicaps that do not severely affect the ability to perform the job are acceptable. These same requirements apply in private industry. Candidates applying for state licensing or for private industry must have a good moral character with no felony convictions, no history of personal maladjustments, and no treatment for mental and/or psychological disorders of any type.

DTI is an equal opportunity institution and admits applicants without regard to race religion, sex, age, color, national origin, physical disability, or place of residence, and offers education to anyone who meets the admissions standards and can benefit from the training.

To qualify for admission to the school, a student must 1) be able to read and write, 2) be a minimum age of 18 years old with a high school diploma or equivalent, 3) be of good moral character with no felony convictions, no history of personal maladjustments, and no treatment for mental and/or psychological disorders of any type.

DTI accepts admissions on any regular business day. The applicant will receive prompt notification of acceptance or rejection of admission. Instructional materials are emailed and mailed to the student when the application is accepted, which marks the beginning of the enrollment period. Additional materials are mailed as required to ensure maintenance of student progress.

All course lessons and communications are in English. DTI does not offer English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction.

DTI grants no credit toward completion for previous education or training. The school does not award credit for prior experiential learning or other education or experience.

DTI has not entered into a transfer of credits agreement with any other college or university.

The complete DTI course consists of 35 lessons—700 hours.

DTI is a correspondence/distant learning school that offers no classroom instruction and has no attendance requirements. Students must complete the total course within two years maximum. However, DTI encourages students to submit for correction and grading at least one study unit (five lessons) per three-month period.

You graduate the private investigator program when you have completed all seven course examinations with an overall grade average of C or better and have met all financial obligations. DTI has no final exam or internship requirements for graduation.

State law requires DTI to maintain student records for each student, whether or not the student completes the educational service, for a period of five years after the date of the student’s graduation, withdrawal, or termination.

The transferability of credits you earn at Detective Training Institute is at the complete discretion of an institution to which you may seek to transfer. Acceptance of the diploma you earn in the private investigator program is also at the complete discretion of the institution to which you may seek to transfer. If the diploma that you earn at this institution is not accepted at the institution to which you seek to transfer, you may be required to repeat some or all of your course work at the institution. For this reason you should make certain that your attendance at this institution will meet your educational goals. This may include contacting an institution to which you may seek to transfer after attending Detective Training Institute to determine if your diploma will transfer.

You may begin your enrollment period on any business day, and progress at your own pace, but you must complete the coursework within 24 months. The enrollment period may be extended, upon written request of the student and approval by the School Director.

DTI may grant a leave of absence up to six months to students who are temporarily unable to continue their studies due to personal circumstances or emergencies. During a leave of absence, DTI places a student’s enrollment period on hold. At the end of the designated period, students are expected to resume course study.

To receive a leave of absence, you must send a request by email or letter to the School Director, detailing the reasons for the request and the time period of leave requested (not to exceed six months). Should circumstances change at any time during the leave period, you may notify the school that you wish to end your leave of absence, and you may resume coursework at that time.

DTI’s Academic Probation system functions to warn students of impending academic problems and to provide remedial assistance if needed. We give all students the opportunity to succeed.

If you fail two exams, DTI will send a letter to alert you of potential academic problems. Failing three exams will make you a candidate for academic probation and allow the school to step in and offer special instruction and counseling with the opportunity to meet standards upon re-examination. Failure to meet grade standards and the terms of probation will result in dismissal.

DTI offers students instruction on “How to Study” and “How to Get the Most out of the Instruction.” We make instructional assistance available to students for help on lessons, exams, exercises, grades, transcripts, and lesson shipments via email or fax. We give written consultation concentrating on how to improve study skills and performance to students who are having difficulty in completing lessons satisfactorily. DTI gives students who ask for assistance the appropriate time and attention to help them deal with their problems satisfactorily.

DTI reserves the right, subject to the Tuition and Refund Policy, to terminate a student from the program for the following reasons:
  • Criminal arrest record, falsifying Personal Background Data Form, history of personal maladjustments or treatment for mental/or psychological disorders of any kind
  • Use of the training to subvert the law or cause harm or fraud to others
  • Failure to demonstrate reasonable and successful progress in the program
  • Inability to benefit from the instruction
  • Failure to maintain tuition payment agreement
Students seeking to resolve problems or complaints should first contact Student Services.

If, for any reason, you are unable to continue this course, you are fully protected by our liberal cancellation and refund policy:
  1. 100% REFUND WITHIN 15 DAYS! The first 15 days are a trial period and it begins when you receive the lessons. When the lessons arrive, please examine them carefully. Assure yourself that they are what you expected and that you will be able to do the work that is required of you. If you decide that you do not want to proceed, notify us by phone, email, or letter and YOUR MONEY WILL BE REFUNDED IN FULL.*
  2. If you must stop your training after the 15-day trial period, notify the school at once and return all unused lesson materials. The school will keep the pro rata charge for each lesson completed and serviced. All other paid-in-advance tuition will be subject to a prompt refund.*
  3. If you choose to have all course materials sent to you at one time, you will not be eligible for a refund.
*All refunds made after receipt of the materials minus any non-refundable postage fee.

Lesson Title Lesson Title
Lesson 1 World of the Private Investigator Lesson 18 Arson Investigation
Lesson 2 Investigative Records and Resources Lesson 19 Workers Compensation Investigation
Lesson 3 Interviewing, Interrogation, and Statements Lesson 20 Writing Reports and Testifying in Court
Lesson 4 Private Process Servers Lesson 21 Missing Persons Investigation
Lesson 5 Marital Investigations Lesson 22 Parental Kidnapping Investigation
Lesson 6 Employee Theft Investigation Lesson 23 Skip Tracing
Lesson 7 Undercover Operations Lesson 24 Bounty Hunting
Lesson 8 Surveillance and Surveillance Photography Lesson 25 Auto Repossession
Lesson 9 Automobile Surveillance Lesson 26 Asset Investigation
Lesson 10 Foot Surveillance Lesson 27 Business Intelligence Investigations
Lesson 11 Shoplifting Detection and Shopping Investigations Lesson 28 Industrial Espionage Investigation and Counter Measures
Lesson 12 Vehicle and Foot Pursuit Lesson 29 Electronic Surveillance and Counter Measures
Lesson 13 Arrest Procedures and Tactics Lesson 30 Computer Crime Investigation
Lesson 14 Personal and Private Background Investigations Lesson 31 Bodyguard Training
Lesson 15 Employment Related Background Investigations Lesson 32 Executive Protection Training
Lesson 16 Legal Investigations Lesson 33 Investigating by Computer
Lesson 17 Insurance Fraud Investigation Lesson 34 Getting a Job as a Private Investigator
    Lesson 35 Starting and Operating Your Own Agency


You will have access to the school’s multimedia library to receive video instruction. These self-paced instructional videos give you the opportunity to observe investigative practices that are difficult to demonstrate in printed lessons. You will also receive the Detective Agency Tape Series instruction to hear conversations between investigators and new clients and appropriate responses, demonstrating the variety of reasons why clients hire private investigators.

You will receive short, specialized, and independent instruction on a variety of related topics essential to the development of your investigative skills. Topics range from Dynamics of Eye-Witness Perception to Sexual Harassment Investigations.

These important directories, indexes, guides, and checklists outline the many procedural steps needed to facilitate access to many government and private agencies to obtain information necessary to conduct investigations.

This comprehensive catalog illustrates the many investigative aids and devices available to the private investigator for conducting assignments. Students are not required to purchase equipment to complete their training.

Actual field assignments prepare you for real-life, on-the-job assignments carried out as a private investigator. Some of these assignments include performing auto and foot surveillance, searching public records at government offices, and conducting online research and investigations.

Detective Training Institute uses a number-letter system of grading, with number grades being assigned to mail-in assignments, and letter grades to projects and completed courses. DTI determines the letter grade for each course by obtaining a mathematical average of the course mail-in assignments. We convert letter grades for courses to grade points for the purpose of computing the grade point average. Grade points range from 4.0 for an A grade to 0 for an F grade or I for incomplete.
Numerical Grade Letter Grade Rating Grade Point Equivalent
90-100 A Excellent 4.0
80-89 B Good 3.0
70-79 C Average 2.0
60-69 D Passing 1.0
Below 60 F Fail (no credit) 0
You may convert a failing grade on a mail-in assignment to a passing grade by satisfactorily completing a make-up assignment or examination.

Tuition: $799.00
Shipping: 49.00
Maximum Total Cost: $848.00

The school does not participate in any federal or state financial aid programs, including grants, scholarships, student loans, or the GI Bill.