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Private Investigator State Requirements.

Alabama  to  Wyoming .

 

ALABAMA

Alabama does not have a specific requirement for a Private Investigator license.  They do require you to be licensed by the state under a normal business license.  Your license will read "occupational license - section 093 Detective Agency".

The business license, under the section Detective Agency, will cost you about $ 175.  It is highly recommended that you obtain knowledge as a Private Investigator working with an Investigation Agency, before going it on your own.  Many people have been sued and even arrested for violations of illegal search, trespassing and concealed weapons,  If you plan on operating as a P.I. in a state that does not require a license, at least enroll in an online Private Investigator course.  Important Update:  There seems to be legislation pending to require Private Investigators to pass a state exam and obtain a state license.

ALASKA

Alaska does not have a specific requirement for a Private Investigator license.  They do require you to be licensed by the state under a normal business license. Certain cities require you to have a city business license.

It is highly recommended that you obtain knowledge as a Private Investigator working with an Investigation Agency, before going it on your own.  Many people have been sued and even arrested for violations of illegal search, trespassing and concealed weapons,  If you plan on operating as a P.I. in a state that does not require a license, at least enroll in an online Private Investigator course.
 
ARIZONA

Arizona is very concerned about private investigators and does require a state license.  The license is issued and regulated by The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS).

You must have a valid Private Investigator Employee registration certificate This registration certificate will only be issued under the sponsorship of an Arizona licensed private investigation agency; unless you fall under one of the exemptions.  The Private Investigator Employee registration certificate is valid only while employed by the
sponsoring Agency. 

It is illegal for a Private Investigator to work in Arizona without an Arizona registration certificate. Arizona does not have any reciprocity agreements with any other states.  Providing private investigation services without a license is a class 1 misdemeanor. Additionally, a violation of these regulations can prevent you from obtaining a license and/or registration certificate in the future.  For more information contact the DPS.


ARKANSAS

The state of Arkansas does require you to have a license.

The state wants all new private investigators to work for at least 2 years under a licensed P.I.  The licensed P.I. will need to document your time working under them.  That documentation will need to be sent to the state police regulatory department, when you apply for your license.  The Arkansas State Police Regulatory Division's phone number is (501) 618-8600.  You can also contact the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators in Little Rock, for more information.

CALIFORNIA

California requires a license for all private investigators.

The Private Investigator license is managed by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Security and Investigative Services.  For information on how to become a licensed private investigator, visit their website at www.bsis.ca.gov .  You will also find information on education required, exams and insurance. The California Association of Licensed Investigators can offer you a great deal of information.

COLORADO

Colorado has gone to a voluntary license program for private investigators.  The program seems to be working because the public only wants to hire licensed investigators.

The license is issued by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).  A license for Private Investigator is a voluntary program in Colorado. The department's activities include licensing, investigation of complaints and enforcement of discipline for those who violate the Colorado statutes and the voluntary license rules.  DORA is located in Denver and they can be reached by calling  (303) 894-7800.  You can also contact the Colorado Society of Private Investigators at  (303) 296-2200.

CONNECTICUT

The state of Connecticut does require a private investigator license.

The P.I. license is issued by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, which is located in Middletown. Guidelines for obtaining the license.  Private Detective firms are required to register all employees working as investigators under their license. The Special Licensing & Firearms Unit is responsible for processing the license applications and employee registrations, as well as investigating complaints concerning violations of the license regulations.  The minimum age is 25 years old.  The Connecticut Association of Licensed Private Investigators can provide more information.

DELAWARE

Delaware requires that all private investigators be licensed.

An applicant for a private investigator license in the state of Delaware must complete the Private Investigative Agency License Holder application.  The Department of Public Safety is responsible to issue the license and monitor investigators.  They can also give you more information.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

The District of Columbia does require you to obtain a license.

In order to be a private investigator in DC you need to possess a license issued by the Metropolitan Police Department. You must be at least 18 years of age and resident of the district..

You must be of good moral character and undergo an FBI background check. The next step is to complete a license application and attach a surety bond of $5000 with the application. The surety bond must be from a D.C. certified insurance company.  Metro. Police can give you more information.
 
FLORIDA

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Licensing handles the license for private investigators.  You must be licensed in this state.

There is an extensive background check and you must have 2 years of verifiable investigative excperience.  The license you are applying for is a Class-C  Private Investigator.  The state does offer a Class-CC license for an intern investigator, with no experience.  You can be employed by an investigation firm if you hold the CC license.  That will allow you to gain 2 years of experience to qualify for the Class-C license.  The Florida Association of Private Investigators can give you more information.

GEORGIA

Licenses in Georgia are only issued to experienced companies.  The owner or officer of the firm must meet all of the state's education and experience requirements to obtain the company license.

If you want to work as a private investigator in Georgia and not own an investigation company you will have to be employed by a licensed agency.  The company can hire you without experience and train you to be an investigator.
The minimum age is 18 years old.  The company is responsible for your training by a board approved instructor.  Contact the Georgia Secretary of State for more information.

HAWAII

Two types of private investigator licenses are available in the state of Hawaii. The first license is that of a private investigator business. The second is a provisional license which requires only that you be hired and supervised by a private investigation agency.

An agency license is issued by the Hawaii Professional & Vocational Licensing Department.

IDAHO

A private investigator in Idaho does not need a private investigation license to operate, however they are still subject to applicable business laws and can become a member of the Private Investigator’s Association


ILLINOIS

Illinois does require all private investigators to be licensed.

To become a licensed private investigator you must pass a 75-question exam. The test consists of questions on law, detective practices and licensing. To qualify for the exam you must meet the education and work experience requirements.  The private investigator’s license application packet is available at the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations (IDPR) , or by download at the IDPR website.  Study materials are included in the packet.

INDIANA

The state of Indiana requires a private investigator license.

An investigator in Indiana must be licensed. The Indiana state government regulates detective licensing through the Indiana Private Detective Licensing Board.

IOWA

The state of Iowa requires a private investigator license.

An investigator in Iowa must be licensed. The Iowa Department of Public Safety, Administrative Services Division, regulates private Investigators.  Their office is located in Des Moines, and you need to talk to the Program Services Bureau.  The minimum age is 18 years old, a U.S. citizen and have no criminal background.
 
You will need to submit an application and take a written exam.  If you pass the exam then you will receive the license.
 
KANSAS

The state of Kansas does require you to be licensed.

An investigator in Kansas must be licensed. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation regulates private investigators.  To work as a private investigator you must be at least 21 years of age, be of good moral character and a citizen of the United States. Kansas does not require that you meet any experience requirements before applying for the private investigation license.

You must complete a formal education that covers basic and advanced investigative techniques used by private investigators and law enforcement officials. Obtain general liability insurance of $100,000 and submit a license application you obtain from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. 

KENTUCKY

Kentucky requires a license for private investigators.

An investigator must be licensed and must take an examination in the State of Kentucky. The Kentucky Board of License for Private Investigators regulates private investigators in the state.  You can obtain the license application from their website, or visit their offices in Frankfort.  There is a background check and obtain a liability insurance policy for $ 250,000.  This policy is to cover acts of liability caused by your employees.

LOUISIANA

Louisiana requires that all private investigators be licensed.

The Louisiana State Board of Private Investigators Examiners regulates private investigators.  Their office is located in Baton Rouge.  You must meet rigorous requirements before being allowed to conduct any type of investigation in the state of Louisiana. You must be at least 18 years old, pass an FBI background check, be fingerprinted in Louisiana, have a minimum of  3 years of experience in related investigative professions and lastly, receive a passing grade on a test issued by the Louisiana state board of private investigator examiners.

MAINE

A private investigator license is required in the state of Maine.

A private investigator in Maine must go through a thorough background check and be licensed under the Maine Department of Public Safety.  All private investigators are overseen by the Maine State Police. Although there are no requirements other than to be licensed, many investigators have military or police training.

The minimum age is 21 years old, be a US citizen and have a high school diploma or GED.  You must have completed a state approved investigator education program or have had 3 years investigator experience at the federal level, the military or state law enforcement..  It is also accepted to have an investigator license from another state, with 3 years experience.

MARYLAND

A state license is required to be a Private Investigator in Maryland.

Private Investigators in Maryland are required to be licensed in order to conduct Private Investigation services.  A private investigator in Maryland must apply to the Maryland State Police and pass licensing requirements, including a thorough background check.  There is no training requirement, but training is highly recommended.  You do need to know the state privacy laws.  The Maryland State Police can give you more information, along with an application.

MASSACHUSETTS

A private investigator or private detective must have a state license.

A private investigator in Massachusetts must apply to the Massachusetts State Police. There is a thorough background check, with no felony offense on your record. The state does require you to have 3 years experience as an investigator or as a law enforcement officer.  It is against the law to provide the services of a private investigator without a Massachusetts Private Investigator License.  The State Police can offer more information.

MICHIGAN

You need a state license in Michigan.

A private investigator in Michigan must apply to the Michigan Department of Energy ( Labor and Economic Growth-Licensing Division) in Lansing.  You need to pass the licensing requirements;  to include a thorough background check.  

Licensing Requirements:  US citizen * No criminal history * Minimum 25 years old *  HS diploma or GED *  No dishonorable discharge *  3 years investigative experience, or 3 years police officer, or have a 4 year college degree in criminal justice. *  Submit a $10,000 bond.


MINNESOTA

Minnesota requires a state issued license.

A private investigator in Minnesota must apply for a license through the State of Minnesota’s Private Detective and Protective Agent Services. Before applying, the state requires all private investigator applicants to have a minimum of 6000 hours ( equals 3 to 4 years) of investigative experience with a licensed investigative agency or as a police officer. There is a full background check.

Obtain an application from the above agency, prove your experience, pass the background check, pay a $1,000 license fee and wait to see if they grant you a license.

MISSISSIPPI

In the state of Mississippi, Private Investigators are not required to apply for a license to conduct investigations

It is highly recommended to gain experience from an investigation agency, take an online or formal course of study and learn the Mississippi laws that cover investigations.

MISSOURI

Missouri requires a state license for private investigators.

A private investigator in Missouri must apply to the Missouri Board of Private Investigator Examiners and pass licensing requirements, including a thorough background check.   The Missouri law now requires private investigators be licensed by the state. The law changed in 2007, requiring private investigators to: (1)  Submit to a background check.  (2)  Pass a licensing exam.  (3)  Meet continuing education requirements.  (4)  Carry professional liability insurance'

Besides individual investigators, the law now requires licensing for private investigator agencies, some employees and trainers.  In the past all you needed was a business license.

MONTANA

Montana requires private investigators to have a state license.

A Private Investigator in Montana must be fully licensed in order to conduct any investigations legally. You must  fill out an application with the Montana Board of Private Security, in Helena and pass an FBI - Montana Criminal fingerprint background check. Montana also requires private investigators to have a high school diploma.  Minimum age is 21 years old, be a US citizen and have no criminal record.  There is a state exam, with a minimum passing score of 70%.  Contact the Board of Private Security for more information.

NEBRASKA

Nebraska requires private investigators to be state licensed.

A private investigator in Nebraska must apply for a license through the Secretary of State and is required to have a minimum of 3000 hours experience. Because of this, most private investigators in Nebraska are ex-law enforcement or come from a military background.  There is a state issued written exam and you must post a $10,000 surety bond. Contact the Secretary of State office in Lincoln, for more information.

NEVADA

Nevada is one of the tough states to become a private investigator and you are required to have a license.

Nevada private investigators must apply for and a private investigator’s license from the Nevada Private Investigator Licensing Board before they may operate as a private investigator. Many states have licensing requirements, which are meant to protect clients by holding private investigators accountable, but Nevada has some of the strictest licensing requirements in the country. Private investigator applicants must have at least 5 years of full time investigative experience, for a total of 10,000 hours of experience. Applicants with an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice may be granted a certain number of hours of experience based on the degree earned. Nevada private investigators must also pass an in-depth background check conducted by the FBI and Nevada Highway Patrol, and complete a one hour written exam with a minimum score of 75% correct answers.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire requires private investigators to be licensed.

A private investigator in New Hampshire must go through a detailed background check and be licensed under the New Hampshire Department of Public Safety and is overseen by the New Hampshire State Police. Although there are no requirements other than to be licensed, the state would prefer you to have a degree in criminal justice.  The New Hampshire League of Investigators can offer you a lot of information.  They are located in Concord and their website is :  www.nhli.com

Private investigators can obtain a license in New Hampshire without a degree, if they have proper experience. If you were a firefighter and have a International Association of Arson Investigator certificate, that would be acceptable. Police officers with 4 years full time experience, also qualify for a private investigator license.  Many investigators come from a military or police background.

NEW JERSEY

A private investigator in New Jersey must be state licensed.

A private investigator in New Jersey must apply to the New Jersey State Police - Private Detective Unit and pass the license requirements, to include a background check.  New Jersey laws refer to Private Investigators as Private Detectives and are licensed under the Private Detective Act of 1939.  You are required to have a minimum of five 5 years investigative experience.  The investigative experience may come from having a law enforcement background, military background, or private investigative experience, such as insurance investigations.  Applicants may also work under the license of an established  private investigator firm until they have gained the required experience.

NEW MEXICO

New Mexico requires a state issued license.

A private investigator in New Mexico must go through a full background check as well as complete at least 6000 hours of related experience before applying. New Mexico also requires that you pass a written exam before being issued your private investigator license.  The license is issued by the New Mexico Private Investigations Board. They are located in Santa Fe and can be contacted at (505) 476-4650.

NEW YORK

New York requires a state license for all private detectives/investigators.

In order to become a private investigator in New York you must have a minimum of 3 years experience in the investigations field. If a person meets the minimum requirement they may apply to the NYS Department of State and take the NY State issued exam.  You must be 25 years old and a principal in the business to be licensed.  You must pass the Department of State's private investigator exam and have the 3 years experience or 3 years in an equivalent position.

NORTH CAROLINA

In North Carolina you are required to have a state license.
 
A private investigator in North Carolina must apply to the North Carolina Department of Justice (NCDOJ)  and pass the license requirements; to include a thorough background check. Be at least 18 years of age with a high school degree or equivalent.  Be a US citizen or a resident alien.  No criminal record.  Three years of experience in private investigative work, or three years in an investigative capacity as a member of a law enforcement agency or other governmental agency.  You can contact the NCDOJ in Raleigh at (919) 716-6400, for more information.

NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota requires all private investigators to be licensed.

A private investigator in North Dakota must be at least 18 years old, pass an FBI background check and be fully licensed by the state of North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board.  Here is their website at which you can request an application be sent or you can download:  

http://www.nd.gov/pisb/faq.html

OHIO

Ohio requires a state license.

To work in Ohio as a private investigator you need a license issued by the Ohio Department of Public Safety. But the basic requirement for obtaining the license is that you have 2 years continuous experience in law enforcement, security and law. You can obtain experience by working under any licensed private investigator. If you do not have law enforcement experience, arrange for a two year internship with a licensed private investigator. The other requirement is that you have not been convicted of any crime in the last 20 years.

You will have to apply for the B class license. To obtain the license you will have to attach 5 letters of reference and attach proof of general liability insurance. You will have to attach an experience certificate showing 2 years of experience.  In order to get the license you will have to pass a state exam.  A degree in criminal justice is highly recommended.

OKLAHOMA

There is a license requirement in Oklahoma.

A private investigator in Oklahoma must go through a detailed background check and be issued a license by CLEET (Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training). They are located in Oklahoma City and can be reached by calling  (405) 425-2775.  There is also a minimal required training that someone applying for a PI License in Oklahoma must accomplish before submitting an application.  

Oklahoma offers 3 types of individual private investigator licenses: (1)  P.I.-unarmed (2)  P.I.-armed, and (3)  A combination license (private investigator and security guard, armed).  A P.I. license in Oklahoma requires a minimum of 55 hours of training for an unarmed PI, and an additional 32 hours of firearms training for an armed PI.  Training must be done by a state-certified school, and applicants must pass a statewide exam.
 
OREGON

Oregon requires private investigators to be licensed.

In Oregon, all private investigators are required to be licensed through the Department of Public Safety. In order to obtain their license, private investigators must pass Oregon’s licensing requirements, including an in-depth background check. Many private investigation firms value alternate experience, such as a degree in Criminal Justice or previous experience in security. Oregon does require private investigators to have at least one year of experience in active investigation work before they become licensed. It is possible to use related course work in place of 6 months of active experience, as determined by the Oregon Board of Directors.

The Oregon Association of Licensed Investigators, in Portland, can offer you a lot of information.  Their website is: www.oali.org.

PENNSYLVANIA

Pennsylvania requires a state license.

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to act as a private investigator without a private investigator license granted by a County Judge. To obtain their license, private investigators must pass Pennsylvania’s rigorous licensing requirements, including an in-depth background check. Obtaining a Private Investigator’s license in Pennsylvania is a little different than in most other states. There is no written exam required, but generally applicants must have 3 years full time, paid experience as a Detective on the police force, a Sheriff, a Police Officer with ranking higher than Patrolman, or have held a position with one of the United States investigative agencies in order to be considered for a license. Applicants must contact the Clerk of Courts to make an appointment in front of a county judge, who will ultimately issue the license. Applicants in most counties will be investigated by a District Attorney prior to being granted a court date.

RHODE ISLAND

Rhode Island requires private investigators to be licensed.

In order to be a private investigator in Rhode Island, one must be licensed and pass the minimum requirements to meet license guidelines.  All investigators must be legal US citizens. You must pass a background check and not suffer for any dependencies on alcohol or narcotics. An investigator must be of good moral character and be in a excellent mental state. A degree in criminal justice can substitute for experience; otherwise, a minimum of 5 years in related fields such as conducting investigations as a police officer, or with any other investigative agency will be sufficient.

The licensing is overseen by the local jurisdiction (town or city) in which the PI business is located. There is a state law covering the requirements and related rules for licensing. It is called the Private Detective Act.

SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina requires a state license.

South Carolina private investigators must be licensed to practice in the state. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) oversees the licensing program.  All applicants must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.  Be a citizen of the US.  Have not been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude.  Be of good moral character.  Not unlawfully use drugs.  Have 3 years’ experience as a private investigator with a licensed PI agency or as investigator for a law firm, government agency, private corporation, nonprofit organization or in other capacity which SLED deems appropriate. Education can substitute for up to one-half of the experience requirement.
Website for SLED:    http://www.sled.sc.gov/
 
SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota does not require a state license for private investigators.

No Private investigator license is required in the state of South Dakota; however a business license is required through the Department of Revenue.  You do need to know the state laws, especially the privacy laws.  It is highly recommended that you receive training as a P. I. from an experienced investigation firm.

The state Department of Revenue is located in Pierre and you can call their office at (605) 773-3311.  Their Website:  http://dor.sd.gov/

TENNESSEE

Tennessee does require a state license.

Tennessee requires private investigators to be licensed to practice in the state. The Private Investigation and Polygraph Commission oversees the licensing of private investigators in Tennessee. Their website is:  

http://www.tn.gov/regboards/pi/index.shtml

You must be 21 years old.    Be a citizen or resident alien of the US.    Be affiliated with a licensed Tennessee PI company.    Be of good moral character.    Meet exam and continuing education requirements:      Submit a  fingerprint card and pass a criminal history check.

TEXAS

The state of Texas requires private investigators to be licensed.

The Texas Department of Public Safety - Private Security Bureau coordinates the investigator license.  You must be 18 years old.    Not have a felony conviction.    Not have been convicted of Class A misdemeanor.    

Contact the Texas Department of Public Safety in Austin, for more information.  (512) 424 - 7293

UTAH

Utah requires investigators to have a license.

The Department of Public Safety - Bureau of Criminal Identification handles the licensing.  You must be at least 21 years old, a legal resident of Utah and be of good moral character.  You must meet the requirement: of 2, 000 hours investigative experience working in a licensed investigation firm.

Bureau of Criminal Identification, Salt Lake City  -    Phone: (801)  965-4445

VERMONT

Vermont requires all private investigators to be licensed.

The Secretary of State  (Board of Private Investigative & Security Services) handles the license.  You must be 18 years old and have  2,000 hours of experience.  You must pass a state exam and background check.   You must have 40 hours of training to get a permanent employee license.    

The Board of Private Investigative & Security Service is located in Montpelier.  You can call their office at:  (802) 828-1505

VIRGINIA

Virginia requires a state license.

The  Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Service (Private Security Services) handles the private investigator license.  Minimum age is 18 years old and be a US citizen.  You must complete the training requirements.  There is Private Investigator 60 hour training. You must also pass a background check.

You can contact the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Service in Richmond, at (804) 786-4700.

WASHINGTON

Washington  requires a license.

Washington requires that private investigators be licensed . The Washington State Department of Licensing (Public Protection Services Section) handles the license.  Washington has four types of licenses: a Private investigator agency license, an unarmed private investigator license, an armed private investigator license, and a certified trainer license.

Website:    http://www.dol.wa./business/pi/pifaqs.html


WEST VIRGINIA

West Virginia requires you to have a license.

A private investigator in West Virginia must apply to the West Virginia Secretary of State and pass the licensing requirements, including a thorough background check.

Website:    http://www.sos.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx   -    West Virginia Secretary of State


WISCONSIN

Wisconsin requires a private investigator license.

A private investigator in Wisconsin must apply to the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing and pass licensing requirements, including a background check.
Website:     http://dsps.wi.gov/Home

WYOMING

There is no requirement for a private investigator license in Wyoming.

A private investigator in Wyoming does not need a license to operate, however they are still subject to applicable laws.  It is best to learn the state laws, to include the rights to privacy.  We do recommend you obtain investigator training.

CANADA

Each province has different requirements to be a private investigator.  Check each province's website.

Each province in Canada has different requirements to become a licensed private investigator.  Listed below is the website for the British Columbia Ministry of Justice and their requirements for security firms and private investigators.  Website:     http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/securityindustry/

 

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