Q. How long does it take to complete the course?
A. As long or as short a time as you need. Some have taken 2 months, others two years. Once you’re on the course you can take as long as you want. The SIA requirement was for 39 guided learning hours for the qualification – we believe our course exceeds that by quite some degree so the content is more than enough! Ultimately, the judge of whether you took long enough is the examination. If you think you’re ready, just take it. The nature of a distance learning course is such that only you know whether (for example) you’re reading the answers from the manual during the course, but the exam (no books allowed) will find out whether you really know your stuff!
Q. Do you offer the facility to pay the course fee in installments?
A. Currently we do not offer the ability to pay in installments.
Q. Is this IQ Level III course an approved one for Investigator Licensing?
A. The SIA have indicated that following a review last July of the competence standards for proposed licensing, the IQ Award meets their competency standard. We do not believe they can change this view in the time supposedly available for the introduction of the licensing regime.
Q. Where and how often are the exams held?
A. The exams are routinely held in London but if sufficient demand enables exams to be held elsewhere we can make arrangements accordingly.Currently we are running one exam every three months.
Q. How easy is the examination?
A. Any qualification worth having must be challenging, but our results to date show that students have a very high success rate – almost exactly 100%. We have ensured that the material provided matches the requirements of our partner IQ Limited, who set and assess the exams.
Q. What is the nature of the examination?
A. The exam is multiple choice, where you are provided 4 possible answers to a question and have to select the right answer from them. The course itself uses MC questions so you’ll be familiar with the technique by exam time.
Q. I have experience in investigation – do I have to do the whole course?
A. If you can provide good evidence that shows you have knowledge that is addressed in the course we can exempt you from part or all of the Guided Learning Hours elements and charge accordingly. See our matrix for suggested approaches. The exam fee is set, and we must make a small administration charge for any exemption process, but the IPI is adamant that people should not undergo training they don’t need.
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. Other courses are cheaper, why pick the Institute’s?
A. The Institute’s course was written and reviewed by qualified investigators, not by someone researching the field and adding their course to those on accountancy, farming, interior decorating and other courses mashed together on their portfolio. It is accredited, which means it is directed towards your obtaining of a formal, recognised qualification; it is not a course sold solely on the basis of a ‘promise of work’ (which is usually a lie and impossible to provide), and ‘access to a network’, which you have even before taking the course – it’s called a members’ directory and we have one you can access now. Or the Yellow Pages. That’s called ‘business’.
Our trainers are qualified to train; they have gone to the effort to demonstrate to others that they know what they are doing. Would you go to a school where the teachers aren’t qualified, you don’t get a proper certificate at the end, and when you DO need a certificate – you have to go to another school and do it all over again?
Q. The SIA hasn’t licensed the investigators yet. Why do I need a formal qualification?
A: Partly because they might. If they do and you’ve paid for an un-accredited course you’ll have to do another. And partly because your future clients will be glad to know that you have been trained, know what you are doing, and aren’t just a member of an internet 'club'.
Q. Can I join the Institute when I pass?
A. Associate Membership of the Institute is available to those who pass the qualification AND who pass our vetting process – a criminal record check (that you provide) and other relevant research, including references from two sources. You will also be informally interviewed at the exam – no pressure…
Q. How long will it be before I get my Manual?
A. Owing to an attempt by some dubious ‘training companies’, the Manual will not be made available for download until 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 internet itself. This will not compromise your learning in any way.
Q. What work will I get after the Course?
A. 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.