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The PI Academy of the Rockies has been listed by as one of the top 5 classroom PI training programs in the country. It's the premier school in Colorado for prospective and new investigators. This is your opportunity to learn the techniques, tips, tricks, even secrets that help define the very meaning of the term "Private Investigator."

Rick Johnson, Founder and President of the Academy, is a former investigator for the Denver and Jefferson County District Attorneys' Offices, as well as a Grand Jury Investigator for both offices, and is founder and president of the Colorado Society of Private Investigators, who has committed every bit of his 38 years of experience in law enforcement and in private practice to the Academy.

"This is the no-nonsense, tell it like it is class for those who are serious about the profession," says Rick. "It's critically important for those in our profession to have a full understanding of the tactics and techniques... the principals and ethics that every PI must achieve. Excellence is not just a goal. It's a requirement!"

Over two weeks, you'll be introduced to the critical thinking skills necessary for investigators, domestic surveillance, family law investigations, how to find and use public records, the art of the interview, how to deal with clients, how to create great reports, even how to set up an office... and so much more.

A Certificate of Completion will be presented at the end of the course.

If you ever thought about joining the ranks of one of the most dynamic and rewarding professions, this is your chance to truly explore that possibility.




  • Meet Rick Johnson
  • Homework Assignments
  • The Colorado PI Licensing Law
  • How to Start and Run a PI Business
  • Public Records
  • Family Law Investigations
  • General Surveillance
  • Report Writing
  • The Successful Interview
  • On the Witness Stand
  • Public Corruption
  • The Background Investigation
  • Inquiries for Services
Course content may be changed wihout notice.

Article: PI Magazine - In The Classroom


This is a strong introductory course for those who are committed to careers as private investigators in Colorado, for active investigators who want to renew and hone their skills, and for those who, if not yet committed, have a burning interest in learning more.

For someone considering entering the field, the course focuses in detail on the important basics... how to set up and operate a business... how to prepare reports... client relations... marketing... and, most importantly, it provides detailed insights into key investigative areas, such as domestic surveillance, background investigations, skip tracing, service of process, financial investigations, and much more.

For someone already active as an investigator, the Academy offers a chance to hone existing skills, learn new skills, and to interact with some of the best known experts in the field.

For someone not yet committed, this is the definitive course that will leave you with no doubt about what "PI" really means.



Rick Johnson | Rick Johnson & Associates Teaching/Moderating Each Session

Rick Johnson established his private investigative firm, Rick Johnson & Associates of Colorado, Inc., in 1987, following eight years with the complex crimes units of the Denver County and Jefferson County District Attorneys' Offices.

Well known and respected for his work in the areas of public corruption, litigation support, insurance fraud, sexual harassment, police misconduct, and domestic relations matters, including child custody, Rick has earned a reputation for speedy, accurate, thorough, and discreet investigations among major law firms, governmental agencies, business and commercial clients, and individuals in Colorado and around the nation.

Rick is the only private investigator ever hired by the City of Denver to investigate allegations of election fraud, and he is the investigator who was hired by the Arapahoe Board of County Commissioners to investigate allegations of misconduct by County Clerk Tracy Baker. Rick was the investigator hired by the City of Aurora to conduct pre-employment screening of police chief and fire chief candidates, and he was hired to conduct investigations into allegations of police chief misconduct by Central City, Breckenridge, Fort Lupton and Fowler.

In 2010, Rick founded the Colorado Society of Private Investigators and is the current president of that organization. Additional information can be found at

Rick is a past President of the Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado.

Rick will present both the opening session and the closing session of the course. His broad and wide-ranging presentation will include how to set up a PI business, where and how to find clients, domestic relations investigations, surveillance, public corruption investigations, insurance defense, and interview techniques that produce good and useful results.

Rick knows the difference between a great investigator and a merely adequate investigator. After this course, you'll know it, too.

What Students Say


"Rick Johnson is Colorado's premier private investigator. If you're serious about private investigations, this class is where you want to be."

For a more in-depth review, read Dan's article about the PI Academy:
Method to the Mysteries of a Secretive Business

Daniel Luzadder, Investigative Journalist and Pulitzer Prize Winner - PI Academy Class of Fall 2010


"The Private Investigator's Academy of the Rockies is a great introduction to the world of research and intelligence that goes into developing an investigator that becomes a key player to successful outcomes. Rick Johnson's experience makes him a top-notch instructor. His course is worth the investment."

Jymmetta Pearl Reeves - November 2015


"Eye-opening and very informative! Rick's presentation style is refreshing and effective. Beneficial to all levels of investigator."

Gary L. Green - November 2015


"Enlightening, informative, interesting and fun!"

student - November 2015


"Rick's knowledge and experience with public corruption cases was a priceless learning opportunity. The education provided on this subject was not only fascinating but also an opportunity to learn and engage with one of the country's few investigators who has unearthed and successfully brought general public figures and organizations' deep-rooted corruption and illegal activities to court and made public."

Brittany Kelley - November 2015


"Rick is a wealth of knowledge. He shares his experiences in a straight forward, matter of fact manner, which I value greatly in an instructor. He is easy to listen to, keeps his students interested in what he has to say, and is passionate about the content."

Katie Bolton - Winter 2015


"Rick provides a no-nonsense approach to private investigator training. His 40 years of experience and knowledge in the PI field greatly enhance the value of his offered courses."

Lloyd Fanning - Winter 2015


"The interaction with Rick is like a 1-on-1 conversation, even though there are 20 people."

Student - Winter 2015


"Very entertaining personality."

Student - Winter 2015


"All it was billed to be and more. Thanks, Rick!"

Student - Winter 2015


"Most informative class ever."

John Brogan - Spring 2014


"The Academy was very informative. This class gave me the insight I needed to choose my career direction."

Angela Zuccaro-Gaughan - Spring 2014


"Amazing class. Invaluable information. Your investigative career depends on taking this class."

Student - Spring 2014


"Fantastic classes! Great speakers! Wonderful instructor! Rick Johnson is passionate, enthusiastic, and has a great sense of humor. Rick wants his students to succeed and is willing to share his wealth of knowledge and experience to make that happen. His experience is invaluable in all areas of investigative work. If you are looking for a "REAL" account of what PI work is all about... take this class!"

Shannon Peterson - Spring 2014


"Most impressive presentation ever. Wonderful class - hope you offer other classes in the future."

Student - Spring 2014


"Excellent teaching style. Very informative and very entertaining! Great Guest Speakers!"

Student - Spring 2014


"Rick is very thorough and will definitely make you think and be a better person, and a hard worker."

Tony G. - Spring 2014


"I absolutely loved the course. I wish it was longer and involved more material regarding surveillance. I hope there will be other courses offered by Rick that address more comprehensive aspect of Skip Tracing, surveillance, adoption searches, public faud, etc. The only problem I had was the fact that we would be asked to do homework assignments before we actually covered the material. Maybe this was because we were woefully behind in the material. But whatever. I would absolutely love to see more classes offered."

Student - Spring 2014


"Not enough time! Great information! Great instructor! A very "real" account of investigation work. When's the next class?"

Student - Spring 2014


"I really enjoyed the PI Academy of the Rockies. All of the instructors were very informative and I enjoyed their personal experiences and stories. I am looking forward to pursuing a career in investigative work."

Andrew Martinez - Fall 2013


"Thank you, Rick. You opened my eyes to the PI world and confirmed in my mind that I want to pursue this line of work."

Anonymous - Fall 2013


"Excellent class. Wish it lasted for several more weeks. There's so much information to absorb. The homework assignments were great learning tools. Love Rick's sense of humor! :) "

Anonymous - Fall 2013


"Very fun and informative! "

Anonymous - Fall 2013


"The academy is a broad overview of the private investigation field. It is a great first step to figure out what area to partake in."

Ashley Jetta Garcia - Spring 2013


"Great information. I wish I would have taken this course years ago when I started in the business!"

Stephen Powell - Spring 2013


"Great avenue to send possible future employees. Glad I took the course."

Kathy S. Carlson - Spring 2013


"Appreciated the no-nonsense, straight-forward delivery. The anecdotes and experiences were highly valuable. Good teaching methods."

Student - Fall 2012


"Rick is very knowledgable about all areas of investigation and shared his experience (through some of his real cases) which made the class much more fun!"

Student - Fall 2012


"Excellent introductory course. I learned a lot of practical things on a wide variety of investigation subjects. The homework was great to reinforce what we learned but I would sequence it to coincide with the classroom material. As for your style, it's right-on. You were a DI (drill instructor) in a boot camp for a tough business. Great job!"

Geary Keeton - Spring 2012


"The Private Investigators Academy of the Rockies exceeded my expectations. An amazing value considering the great information that was shared and the experience of the presenter and speakers. Thank you!"

Cindy Miller - Spring 2012


"The training manual contains such helpful information. I foresee referencing it in years to come."

Lindsay Gannott Gehde - Spring 2012


"This course provided me with a valuable foundation on which to build a career in this industry."

Christina Miller - Spring 2012


"If you are serious about a career as a private investigator, regardless of your background and education as an investigator, you would benefit in taking the course and finding out how working in Colorado functions vis a vis being an investigator."

Joe Wesley - Spring 2012


"Rick is awesome. He is a wonderful teacher!!"

Sara Warwick - Spring 2012


"Rick is a well-rounded individual with a world of knowledge to share. It's too bad the course is not long enough to really pick his brain."

Thomas Walsh - Spring 2012


"I am really glad I signed up for this course. I now have a realistic idea of the responsibility involved with running a PI business. Also great fun!"

Sean Harris - Spring 2012


"I found the information in the class to be very fascinating and useful. This class gave me a very grounded, down to earth view on exactly what private investigators do. Every minute I spent in class and on homework was well worth the time and price. I really enjoyed the class and would take it again in a heartbeat!"

Whitney Hey - Spring 2011


"Excellent course. Definitely on the same level with the college courses I've taken before, if not higher. I would definitely recommend the course to anyone interested in the P.I. field."

Rodolfo Guerrero - Spring 2011


"I really enjoyed this class. So much information and so little time. Thanks, Rick."

Brenda Haenel - Spring 2011


"Wealth of knowledge - very inspiring!"

Fran Seiner - Spring 2011


"I truly feel I gained more knowledge about this subject than I had anticipated. I plan to put to good use a number of items learned over the course of 3 weeks. The greatest compliment I can give you is that I entered your Academy with a skull full of mush and now leave thinking like a Private Investigator!!!"

Steven M. Crete - Spring 2011


"This course is well worth the money. It's organized, fun, but most of all a serious course for aspiring private investigators. Rick knows his stuff!"

Lucilla Giron - Fall 2010


"There is no better source of real-world knowledge than Rick Johnson. He is excellent and I would recommend him to anyone."

David Muelken - Fall 2010


"Thank you very much, Rick and the guest speakers. Your course is definitely going to be helpful to me as I begin to move forward in my new career as an investigator and process server."

Ramona Gomez - Spring 2010


"This course is a no-holds-barred, punch-in-the-gut entry into the fascinating field of private investigation. It is refreshing to have someone be brutally honest, to care so much about work that is important and crucial and to have conviction in the worth of his reputation and reputation of the industry. The presentations, guest speakers, and class notebook are all well worth the cost of attending the course."

Sally Bishop - Spring 2010


"As a corporate professional for over 20 years, I was interested in learning more about the private investigation career opportunities. The Private Investigator's Academy of the Rockies was extremely professional and informative. Rick Johnson was a wealth of knowledge and willingly shared his expertise and experience with the class. I would highly recommend this course."

Susan Leibsly - Spring 2010


"Must-have class for anyone doing or planning to be a private investigator. If you thought you knew everything, sit back for a rude awakening about investigations."

Joshua Hale - Spring 2009


"This class helped to show me the real side of investigating. I feel like I have all the tools I need to start my business."

Rich Hall - Spring 2009


"This is everything I had hoped it would be. Pure, honest, education. Rick is quick on his feet, speaks from his heart, and is a wellspring of knowledge. I learned and learned and learned. The class is worth every single penny charged (and then some)."

Melvin Boone - Spring 2009


"I was genuinely impressed with the depth and breadth of information presented in this class. Rick, your personality and no-nonsense approach make this class entertaining and educational."

Anonymous - Spring 2009


"If you want professional instruction that goes beyond theory and into the realm of reality, then get set for this ride!

Chuck Denisen, Ph.D. - Fall 2004


"The information, enthusiasm, and overall thoroughness of Rick Johnson and his colleagues in the PI business have left me intrigued.... Thank you!"

Christine Garrabrants - Fall 2004


"By far the most useful class I've seen for new investigators."

H. Andrew Schmidt III - Fall 2003


  • Enrollment Closed - Stay Tuned!

    Call or email to be on the notification list for the next class and to find out about new learning opportunites for private investigators!
  • Phone

    (303) 296-2200
  • Email
  • Location

    Classes for the Academy are presented at the Denver Athletic Club, 1325 Glenarm Place, Denver, Colorado, 80204.
  • Email or call to be on the notification list!
  • The Benefits

    The course fee includes all materials. The fee for this course of study is an extraordinary value... an investment that can pay high dividends. Consider that private investigators in Colorado earn anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour. Balance that against the costs of the Academy. This is an opportunity you can't afford to miss.

    There are over 100 people on our list of potential students for the next session and only 20 slots. With limited slots available, we suggest you don't delay!

Other Classes

Continuing Education for Private Investigators and Those New to the Profession

Cost for 3-hour sessions will be $125 per class.
Dates to be announced. Stay tuned!

  • Classes are held at
    The Denver Athletic Club

        1325 Glenarm Place
        Denver, Colorado, 80204.
  • For More Information

        Phone: (303) 296-2200

    Not on our email notification list? Call or email Rick with your info today!
  • Future Classes

    Classes will be held at the Denver Athletic Club between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and will include sessions on the following topics:
    • The role of the private investigator
    • Public record and proprietary database research
    • Elements of a background investigation
    • Family Law and the role of the investigator
    • Public corruption and the private investigator
    • Interviewing subjects, suspects, and witnesses
    • How to testify in court
    • How to find clients
    • Stalkers - what to do, what not to do, and how to catch them at their own game
    • The Surveillance Class (6-hour session)
          (see below for details)
    • The Investigation Class (special session)
          (see below for details)
    • You will know the answers to these questions at the conclusion of the Academy
    • Detailed discussions on Questions for the Private Investigator
  • The Surveillance Class

    This is an all-day exercise that will include the following:
    • Discussion with client about their particular needs.
          (1 hour)
    • Drafting your surveillance outline with your assigned classmates/teammates.
          (1 hour)
    • Locating your assigned target on the 16th Street Mall.
          (30 minutes)
    • Monitor the activity with your classmates/teammates of the assigned target.
          (2 hours)
    • Meet with classmates/teammates; draft report; include photos.
          (2 hours)

    Cost and dates to be determined.

  • The Investigation

    Your opportunity to conduct your own investigation with other classmates under my supervision. These investigations will be centered around local government activity. A strong understanding of the Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) will be a prerequisite. You must possess strong writing, interview, research, and surveillance skills for this class.


    This class will give the student an opportunity unlike no other in the country.

    Cost and dates to be determined.

The Premier school in Colorado for Prospective investigators with classes taught by some of the best investigative minds in Colorado. Classes are beginning soon- sign up today! Top 5 Classroom Ranking for PI Academy The PI Academy of the Rockies has been listed in the top 5 classroom PI training programs in the country with