Top 10 Background Investigator Certifications

This article discusses the best certifications for background investigators, including their requirements and benefits.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications for background investigators are important in the job market because they demonstrate a level of knowledge and expertise that employers look for. Certifications provide proof to employers that an individual is knowledgeable about the laws, regulations, and ethical standards related to conducting background investigations. Additionally, certifications can give background investigators an edge over other applicants by demonstrating their commitment to professional development and staying up-to-date on the latest trends in the field. Finally, many employers require or prefer candidates with certain certifications, so having them can make a difference when applying for jobs.

The purpose of this article is to review some of the top certifications for Background Investigators and explain how they can help to enhance a background investigator's career.

What are Background Investigator Certifications?

Background Investigator Certification is an official recognition that a person has achieved the necessary qualifications to become a professional background investigator. This certification is offered by various organizations, such as the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), and demonstrates that the individual has met the required standards for performing background checks.

Having this certification can be beneficial in several ways. For starters, it can help individuals gain more credibility with potential employers and clients, as they will know that they are hiring a qualified professional. It also helps demonstrate to potential employers that the individual has taken their training seriously and is committed to providing quality services. Additionally, having this certification may open doors to higher-paying positions or different types of assignments within the field of background investigations. Finally, it may make an individual eligible for certain certifications or designations from other organizations, which can further increase their marketability.

Overall, having Background Investigator Certification is a great way for individuals to show that they are serious about their career and have invested in their education and training in order to provide high-quality services to their clients.

Pro Tip: Make sure to thoroughly research and understand the requirements of becoming a certified background investigator before beginning the application process. Knowing what is expected of you, from educational requirements to experience, will help ensure that you are well-prepared to take the certification exam.

Related: What does a Background Investigator do?

Top 10 Background Investigator Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Background Investigators today.

1. Certified Professional Investigator (CPI)

Certified Professional Investigator (CPI) is a professional certification program for private investigators. It is designed to recognize the knowledge, skills, and abilities of those who practice in the field of investigation. The certification is administered by the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI).

To become a Certified Professional Investigator, an individual must meet certain requirements. These include having at least five years of experience as a private investigator, completing an approved training course, passing an examination, and maintaining continuing education credits.

The process to become certified typically takes between one to two years depending on how quickly the applicant completes the requirements.

To get started with the certification process, applicants should contact NALI for more information about their eligibility requirements and application process. They will then need to complete an approved training course and pass an exam before they can be certified.

The cost for becoming a Certified Professional Investigator varies depending on which training program you choose and other factors such as additional fees or exams required by your state or local licensing board. Generally speaking, however, it can range anywhere from $500-$2000 USD.

2. Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

A Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) is a professional designation given by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). CFEs are trained to identify, investigate and prevent fraud. They possess the knowledge and skills to detect fraudulent activity in financial statements, insurance claims, tax returns and other documents.

The process of becoming a CFE includes completing an ACFE-approved training program, passing an exam, meeting experience requirements and agreeing to abide by the ACFE's Code of Professional Ethics. The training program can take up to 16 weeks to complete depending on the individual's schedule.

To get certified as a CFE, individuals must first join the ACFE as a member. Memberships range from $100-$400 depending on the type of membership chosen. After joining the ACFE, individuals must then complete an approved CFE training program. Training programs typically cost between $1,000-$2,000 depending on which course is taken and how long it takes to complete it.

Once individuals have completed their training program and passed their exam with a score of 75% or higher they will be eligible for certification as a CFE. The certification fee is $250 for members of the ACFE and $350 for non-members.

3. Certified Background Investigator (CBI)

Certified Background Investigator (CBI) is a professional designation that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated expertise in conducting background investigations. CBIs are skilled in researching and analyzing public records, interviewing witnesses, and verifying information to determine an individual’s suitability for employment or other purposes.

It typically takes between 6-12 months to become a Certified Background Investigator. The process includes completing a training program, passing an exam, and obtaining experience in the field. Training programs can be completed online or through local educational institutions. After completing the training program, applicants must pass the CBI exam administered by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS).

To become certified as a CBI, applicants must also have at least two years of experience working as a background investigator or similar position. This experience should include conducting background checks on individuals for employers or other organizations. Applicants must also demonstrate knowledge of relevant laws and regulations related to background screening processes.

The cost of becoming a Certified Background Investigator varies depending on the type of training program chosen and any additional fees associated with taking the certification exam. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$2,000+ to become certified as a CBI.

4. Certified Legal Investigator (CLI)

Certified Legal Investigator (CLI) is a professional certification program designed to recognize and promote excellence in the field of legal investigation. The CLI credential is awarded to individuals who have met rigorous standards of experience, education, and training in the profession. It is intended to demonstrate a commitment to excellence and professionalism in the practice of legal investigation.

To become certified as a Certified Legal Investigator (CLI), an individual must meet certain requirements set forth by the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI). These include:

  • A minimum of five years' experience as a full-time legal investigator;
  • Completion of at least 30 hours of continuing education related to legal investigations;
  • Passing a comprehensive written examination;
  • Demonstration of ethical conduct and professional responsibility; and
  • Payment of an application fee.

The process typically takes between six months and one year from start to finish, depending on how quickly all requirements are completed. The cost for certification is $195 for NALI members or $295 for non-members.

5. Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI)

Certified Forensic Interviewer (CFI) is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have acquired the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to conduct effective forensic interviews. The CFI program is administered by the National Association of Certified Forensic Interviewers (NACFI).

In order to become certified as a CFI, applicants must complete an 80-hour training course that covers topics such as interviewing techniques, investigative interviewing, nonverbal communication, report writing and legal considerations. Upon completion of the training course, applicants must pass a comprehensive exam administered by NACFI. The exam consists of multiple choice questions and essay questions that test the applicant’s knowledge of forensic interviewing principles and practices.

It typically takes approximately 6 months to complete all requirements for certification. The cost of becoming certified as a CFI is $1,500 USD which includes the cost of the training course and exam fees.

6. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) is a certification program offered by the ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association). It is designed to recognize professionals who have achieved a high level of competency in managing, developing, and overseeing an organization’s information security program. The CISM certification validates that the individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage enterprise security programs.

The CISM certification process consists of four parts: an application process; a 200-question multiple-choice exam; a work experience requirement; and an ethics statement. The exam covers topics such as information security governance, risk management, incident management, and compliance.

It typically takes around six months to complete the entire CISM certification process. To get started, applicants must submit an online application form and pay the associated fee. Once approved for the exam, applicants must schedule their exam date with Pearson VUE. After passing the exam, applicants must provide proof of at least five years of relevant work experience in information security management within the past 10 years. Finally, applicants must submit an ethics statement affirming their commitment to ethical practices in their professional life.

The cost of taking the CISM exam varies depending on where you take it. Generally speaking, it costs around $575 USD for ISACA members or $760 USD for non-members. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with scheduling your exam or other services related to taking the test.

7. National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS)

The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) is a non-profit organization that provides accreditation to organizations that are engaged in the practice of background screening. NAPBS was founded in 2003 and is dedicated to promoting ethical business practices, compliance with applicable laws, and public education in the background screening industry.

It takes approximately four months to get NAPBS accreditation. The process includes an initial application, submission of a detailed operations manual, and a site visit from an independent auditor. The cost for applying for accreditation is $2,000 plus travel expenses for the auditor's site visit. Once accredited, there is an annual fee of $1,500 plus travel expenses for the auditor's follow-up visit.

8. International Association for Identification (IAI)

The International Association for Identification (IAI) is a professional organization of forensic identification experts. It was established in 1915 and is the oldest and largest forensic identification association in the world. The IAI's mission is to foster, promote, and improve the science of identification by providing education, training, certification, and networking opportunities to its members.

It typically takes between 6-12 months to complete the requirements necessary to become an IAI Certified Latent Print Examiner (CLPE). To get certified, applicants must successfully complete a written examination that covers topics such as fingerprint comparison techniques, crime scene investigation procedures, and legal issues related to latent print examinations. Applicants must also submit a portfolio demonstrating their proficiency in latent print analysis.

The cost for certification varies depending on the type of certification sought. The fee for CLPE certification is $400 USD plus an additional $50 USD application fee.

In addition to offering individual certifications, the IAI also offers group certifications such as Certified Crime Scene Investigator (CCSI) and Certified Forensic Photographer (CFP). These certifications require additional fees and have different requirements than those mentioned above.

9. American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS)

The American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) is a professional organization and global community of security professionals dedicated to the protection of people, property, and information. ASIS provides members with educational resources, networking opportunities, and access to industry-leading certification programs. ASIS also serves as an advocate for the security profession and promotes best practices in the field.

To become an ASIS member, you must complete an online application form and pay a membership fee. The fee varies depending on your membership type; individual memberships cost $175 per year while corporate memberships cost $595 per year. After submitting your application and payment, it typically takes up to two weeks for your membership to be processed.

Once you become an ASIS member, you will have access to a variety of benefits including discounts on educational events, publications, and certifications; access to career development resources; networking opportunities; and more. You can also take advantage of ASIS’s certification programs which are designed to help security professionals demonstrate their knowledge and expertise in specific areas of security management.

10. Private Investigators and Security Professionals of Canada (PISPC).

Private Investigators and Security Professionals of Canada (PISPC) is an organization that provides certification to private investigators and security professionals in Canada. It is a voluntary program that sets a standard for the profession, ensuring that all certified members have the necessary skills and training to provide quality services.

To become certified by PISPC, applicants must meet certain criteria which include having a minimum of two years of experience in the field, passing a criminal record check, completing an approved course or courses from an accredited institution, and passing the PISPC exam. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions covering topics such as legal ethics, investigation techniques, surveillance methods, report writing, and other related topics.

The process typically takes four to six weeks from application submission to receiving your certification. Applicants must submit their application online along with supporting documents such as proof of education or experience and payment of the applicable fees. Once all documents are received and verified by PISPC staff, applicants will be notified if they are eligible to take the exam. If successful on the exam, applicants will receive their certification within four to six weeks.

The cost for PISPC certification varies depending on the type of membership you choose. There are three different levels: Associate ($125), Professional ($175) and Master ($225). Each level requires different qualifications and has its own set of benefits such as access to resources, discounts on courses and conferences, networking opportunities etc.

Do You Really Need a Background Investigator Certificate?

No, you do not need a background investigator certificate to be a successful background investigator. However, having a background investigator certificate can provide some added credibility to your credentials and demonstrate your commitment to the profession. A background investigator certificate is typically obtained through an accredited institution or program. The coursework often focuses on the legal aspects of conducting investigations, interviewing techniques, report writing and other related topics.

In addition to the value of having a certificate, having experience in the field is also important for becoming a successful background investigator. This could include prior law enforcement experience, private investigative experience or even research skills from working in an administrative role. Having knowledge of applicable laws and regulations pertaining to background investigations can help investigators understand their responsibilities and prevent them from making costly mistakes that could result in litigation or other serious consequences.

Overall, while having a background investigator certificate is not required to become a successful background investigator, it can provide some added credibility and demonstrate your commitment to the profession. Additionally, gaining experience in the field and familiarizing yourself with laws and regulations pertaining to investigation work can also be beneficial for achieving success as a professional background investigator.

Related: Background Investigator Resume Examples

FAQs About Background Investigator Certifications

Q1: What is a background investigator certification?

A1: A background investigator certification is a credential that demonstrates proficiency in conducting background investigations for organizations and businesses. It is typically obtained by completing an accredited training program or passing an exam.

Q2: Who should get a background investigator certification?

A2: Anyone who wishes to pursue a career as a professional background investigator should consider obtaining this certification. It can also be beneficial for those who may need to conduct background checks for their organization or business, such as employers, law enforcement agencies, and private investigators.

Q3: What are the requirements for becoming certified?

A3: The requirements vary depending on the certifying organization, but generally include completing an approved training course or passing an exam. Some certifications may also require additional experience or continuing education credits.

Q4: How long does it take to become certified?

A4: The time frame varies depending on the certifying organization and individual circumstances, but typically ranges from two weeks to several months.

Q5: Are there any renewal requirements?

A5: Yes, most certifications require renewal every two years. This may involve taking continuing education courses or passing an exam to demonstrate ongoing competency in the field of background investigation.