Institute of Professional Investigators Training Centre


Institute of Professional Investigators


SFJ Level 3 Professional Investigator Course FAQs

Q. Is this SFJ course an approved one for investigator licensing? 

A. The SIA has indicated that the Level 3 Award will be the requirement if and when investigator licensing is introduced. The SIA has yet to licence private investigators, and unless and until they do so there can be no approved course or qualification. We can state that the content of this course exceeds the competencies identified by the SIA during the consultations that gave rise to a set of 5 competencies published by the SIA in 2007.


Q. Is the course online or classroom based?

A. The course is delivered entirely online. The only physical attendence required is if you choose to sit the SFJ Examination. You will then be required to attend an exam centre in London or the Midlands.


Q. When can I start the course?

A. The course is self-paced and you can start as soon as we have received payment. There is no specific enrolment date.


Q. Do I need qualifications to start the Foundation Course?

A. You do not need any prior qualifications to take the Foundation Course, just a good grasp of English. Skills for Justice Awarding Organisation require individuals to be able to read and write using the English language at Level 3 standard or where English is not their first language to produce a certificate of IELTS equivalence in order to be registered for an Award.  


Q. How long does it take to complete the course?

A. The course is based on an estimation that classroom learning for the material (plus some self-study) would take 39 hours. For this reason, the Institute considers that three months is a reasonable length of time for completion, while 6 months may be needed by those in full time employment. Students have two years to complete the course from the date they sign up


Q. Do you offer the facility to pay the course fee in instalments?

A. In some instances we allow students to pay in instalments. Please contact the Institute to check if you qualify for our instalment plan.


Q. What is the Assessment Process?

A. Students are required to submit answers to multiple choice questions at the end of each part of the four parts that make up the course. They are also required to submit five written exercises. On successful completion students will be awarded an IP certificate to indicate that they have completed the course requirments. In order to achieve the SFJ Level 3 Award students will need to sit a multiple choice exam at an examination centre. These centres are currently in London and the Midlands.


Q. What is the format of the final SFJ Level 3 Award Examination?

A. Candidates will need to complete two 45 minute multiple choice papers.


Q. I hear I have to provide a Surveillance Plan as part of the qualification assessment. How will I do this?

A. You will learn how to plan an investigation in the first Part of the course (Major Investigation Planning) and will be taught the nature, practice and legalities of surveillance in Part 3. As a result you will combine the knowledge and, using your imagination and experience, you will be able to prepare a plan for a surveillance. It doesn’t have to be extravagant and most people use the example of a small team conducing a surveillance on an insurance claimant. There is an example of a plan in the material, too.


Q. How long will it be before I get my Manual?

A. The Manual will be made available for download two weeks after enrolment. This provides us with the opportunity to protect our Intellectual Property while the student starts the programme based on the information available through the training site. This will not compromise your learning in any way. The manual will be available to download from the library.


Q. What work will I get after the Course?

A. We cannot offer any guarantee of work after you complete the course.

Unscrupulous fraudsters will offer ‘guaranteed’ work after completion of their (usually unaccredited) courses. This is a sign of fraud. No-one can guarantee work, because clients can’t guarantee a need for an investigation! These fraudsters may also offer ‘a network of contacts’, and while membership of an organisation like the IPI does create a network, there is another network to which all investigators have access. It’s called The Yellow Pages! The IPI cannot offer work post-qualification – nor can anyone else. However, we are initiating a project called Support a Student which we hope may result in IPI members providing experiential opportunities for IPI students. This is not a guarantee and any contract will be between the Member and the Student.


Q. Do you offer other courses?

A. We offer a Person Tracing Course and a Surveillance Course

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