Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in New Hampshire

To become a private investigator in New Hampshire, you must complete a number of steps:

Meet Minimum Requirements in New Hampshire
Obtain the Necessary Experience and/or Education in New Hampshire
Complete New Hampshire Firearms Training
Apply for your New Hampshire License
Get to Work and Maintain your New Hampshire License

The New Hampshire Department of Safety, Division of State Police regulates and licenses private investigators, private investigator employees, and private investigator agencies in the state*.

Private investigators, according to the Department of Safety’s Permits and Licensing Unit for Security/Detectives, are individuals engaged in conducting investigations, which may include:

  • Unsolved crimes
  • Insurance claims
  • Civil litigation issues
  • Clandestine surveillance
  • Locating of missing persons or property
  • Locating escaped felons or wanted persons

Regulation and licensing of private investigators remains the same throughout the state, regardless of whether you reside in Manchester, Nashua, Derry Village, or East Concord.

*(Private investigators in New Hampshire are defined as investigative professionals without employees and who are not employees of a PI agency themselves, while private investigator employees are employees of private investigator agencies.)

 


 

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements in New Hampshire

To qualify for a private investigator license in New Hampshire, you must meet a number of minimum requirements. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a residents of the United States
  • Have no felony, domestic violence, or abuse convictions
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions associated with theft, honesty, fraud, or sale or use of controlled substances

 


 

Step 2. Obtain the Necessary Experience and/or Education in New Hampshire

Eligible candidates for private investigator licenses (private investigator employees are exempt from the education/experience requirements) in New Hampshire must possess one of the following:

  • At least 4 years of experience in one of the following positions:
    • As a director of security or senior officer of a company or corporation or licensed security service
    • As a full-time adjuster, risk manager, or claims investigator for an insurance carrier or adjusting company
    • As a full-time law enforcement officer for a county, state, federal, college or university, or municipal police department
  • At least 2 years of employment as a full-time investigator for a private investigative agency AND one of the following:
    • An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from an accredited college or university
    • Certification from the American Society for Industrial Security as a certified professional investigator
    • Certification from the National Association of Legal Investigators as a certified legal investigator
  • At least 4 years of employment as a full-time investigator for a licensed private investigator or agency
  • At least 4 years of experience as a full-time experience as a full-time firefighter and certification by the International Association of Arson Investigators

Certification by the American Society for Industrial Security in security operations and at least 2 years of experience.

 


 

Step 3. Complete Firearms Training in New Hampshire

If you want to carry a firearm as a private investigator in New Hampshire, you must complete one of the following firearms training courses (or equivalent approved courses):

  • Firearms instructor school through the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • National Rifle Association police firearms instructor course
  • Police standards and training council firearms instructor school
  • Firearms instructor school through SIG Sauer or Smith & Wesson

 


 

Step 4. Apply for your New Hampshire License

To apply for a private investigator license, you must complete the appropriate Application for Licensure:

And provide the following to the Department of Safety:

  • A two-year, $50,000 surety bond on an approved form
  • $150 application fee (or $500 application fee for a private investigator agency license)
  • $25 criminal record check fee
  • $10 background investigation fee
  • $26.50 fingerprinting fee (for armed status applicants only)

To schedule your fingerprints, you must make an appointment by calling 603-223-3873. You must make the appointment prior to dropping off your application for licensure.

Note: All forms must be printed out, completed and delivered in person (DO NOT mail forms) to:

Department of Safety
Room 106 (Permits and Licensing)
33 Hazen Drive
Concord, New Hampshire

 


 

Step 5. Network and Maintain your New Hampshire License

You may choose to seek membership in a professional association, such as the New Hampshire League of Investigators, as you can find a wealth of information regarding state investigative agencies, events, and networking groups.

All licenses for private investigators in New Hampshire must be renewed every 2 years, and individuals must complete the renewal application, pay the renewal fee and provide evidence that their surety bond is in force upon renewal.

Renewal fees are as follows:

  • Private Investigator Employee: $50 (plus $10 background investigation fee and $25 criminal record check)
  • Private Investigator: $150 50 (plus $10 background investigation fee and $25 criminal record check)
  • Private Investigator Agency: $500 50 (plus $10 background investigation fee and $25 criminal record check)

All armed private investigators in New Hampshire must meet the minimum requirements in the proficiency in the use of firearms every year, which include completing the practical police course or tactical revolver course (with a minimum score of 75 percent) and completing at least four hours of instruction, including:

  • Firearms techniques and safety
  • Laws on the use of deadly force
  • Moral and ethical use of force

 


 

Private Investigator Salary Information for New Hampshire

New Hampshire is projected to have a high rate of job growth in the field of private investigation.  According to New Hampshire Employment Security, the number of jobs is projected to increase 22.2% in the period from 2008 to 2018.

One hundred and ninety PIs were employed in New Hampshire in 2012 according to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics). 

Their average salary was $45,330 with more experienced private investigators earning $59,860 in the top 10th percentile.  Information on the 2012 salaries in the following NECTA regions is available from the BLS:

New Hampshire City
Average Annual Salary
Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford
$52690
Nashua
$46910

A license from the State Police of New Hampshire is required to become a private investigator or private detective in the state.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old and undergo a criminal background check.  Liability insurance in the form of a $50,000 surety bond is also required.

A significant amount of experience is required to be able to apply to be a PI in New Hampshire.  Applicants must have one of the following types of fulltime experience:

  • Two years of investigative if they have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in fire service or criminal justice
  • Four years as a law enforcement officer
  • Four years as an investigator
  • Four years as a firefighter and professional certification by The International Association of Arson Investigators

While they must be a resident of the U.S., applicants are not required to be residents of New Hampshire.

For applicants who had been approved and working as New Hampshire private investigators in 2012, the BLS provides detailed salary information on the hourly and annual wages in various percentiles.  This is provided in the table below.

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford MA-NH NECTA Division
Estimate not released
52690
Nashua NH-MA NECTA Division
Estimate not released
46910

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