Private Investigations

Earn your Certificate in Professional Private Investigations

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Work with educators and field experts while earning the Certificate in Professional Private Investigations from PDI of the University of North Texas. This new 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, including special topics. Upon successful completion of the program, you will be awarded a Certificate in Professional Private Investigations from PDI 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

Both the LIVE and ONLINE programs share many benefits such as

  • 200 hours of instruction
  • Taught by seasoned experts
  • All-inclusive tuition

The LIVE program is Friday from 6-9 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., over a 5-month period.  Tuition is $3,495.

The ONLINE program, which allows you to work each week at your convenience in the comfort of your own home, is conducted over a 33-week period. An externship is required to be completed while taking the online course. Tuition is $4,295.

Featured on - Top 25 Investigation Schools

Financial Assistance

If you have any questions, please contact Tami Russell at 866.374.0876 or

Attend a Free Information Session

View Online Session

Get all your questions answered at a free information session about the PI Program. Find out more about the private investigations field, the outlook for the profession and more about PDI’s certificate program with no obligation to register.

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 as an investigator
  • A bachelors degree in criminal justice
  • A bachelors degree with 6 months of investigative experience
  • An Associates degree with 12 months of investigative experience
  • Completion of a specialized course that's taught in affiliation with an accredited University in Texas and features at least 200 hours of instruction in investigative techniques, ethics and statutes related to the industry.
For more details on the qualifications, view the Texas Administrative Code

Meet the Instructors

Dr. Scott H Belshaw, Ph.D.,

Program Executive Director
Dr. Belshaw holds a Ph.D. in Juvenile Criminal Justice and is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of North Texas. He owned a private investigations firm licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety. His primary investigative experience is in criminal investigations. He is an expert in the field of criminal mitigation and investigations.

Karen Hewitt

Ms. Hewitt is a UNT graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, and is a Texas Licensed Private Investigator. She spend 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.

Reynaldo Ramirez, Jr., BBA, MBA, JD.

QL TT University of Oxford - Ox Brooks 

Mr. Ramirez has taught law, as an adjunct law professor, at Texas Southern University's law school for several years. In the past 15 years of academic instruction, he has published numerous law review articles, and presented papers for peer review. He is the author of the "Texas Traffic Ticket Dismissal" book, currently available through and Barnes & Noble. One of his academic articles was recently cited by the Tennessee Supreme Court, in a published state decision regarding effective assistance of counsel. With regards to criminal law, 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. With regards to civil and business matters, 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, during his extensive legal career. He currently practices civil and criminal law in Houston, Texas and holds the position of chief counsel to the Mexican American Sheriffs Association in Harris County, Texas.

Mark Gillespie

Founder Mark Gillespie has over thirty-three years of investigative and forensic science experience with a master's degree in forensic science from George Washington University. A former special agent for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations {AFOSI), Gillespie has commanded many investigative units in the U.S. and overseas. 

Upon retirement from the Air Force, Gillespie became the Director of Forensic Science for the Austin (Texas) Police Department, where he managed the department's crime laboratory and forensic science services. 

From 2002 to 2008, Gillespie served on the faculty at St. Edward's University {SEU) as an instructor of forensic science, crime scene investigation and criminal investigation. Gillespie was responsible for introducing forensic science to SEU and was responsible for helping create the Forensic Science Undergraduate Degree program. 

Gillespie is former president of the Texas Association of Licensed Investigators (TALI) and currently serves as Region Four Director for the National Council of Investigation and Security Services (NCISS) and is licensed in Texas, Alabama and Louisiana.


The Knowledge Nook – Do You Have To Be in Law Enforcement Before Becoming a Private Investigator?

The Knowledge Nook - The Texas PI Licensing Exam: What Is It?

The Knowledge Nook - Many Career Options Exist For Professional Private Investigators


Texas Department of Public Safety, Private Securities Board

Calling a PI for the First Time - written by PDI Private Investigations graduate Keith Owens