Before you can become licensed as a private investigator in the State of New Mexico, you must meet specific requirements and complete specific steps:
The Securities Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department regulates and licenses activities for about 100,000 individuals in New Mexico.
The Private Investigations Advisory Board, within the Securities Division, is responsible for licensing private investigators, private investigator managers, and private investigation companies using the Private Investigations Act to ensure ethical standards are upheld. Regardless of the location in New Mexico, from Albuquerque to Las Cruces to Rio Rancho and Roswell, license requirements for private investigators are the same.
Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for a New Mexico Private Investigator License
Before pursuing a license as a private investigator in New Mexico, you must first meet minimum requirements for licensure:
- You must be a citizen of the United States.
- You must have no felony convictions or convictions involving the illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon or violent act.
- You must have a high school diploma.
- You must be at least 21 years old.
- You must be able to successfully pass a jurisprudence examination issued by the department.
- You must be able to secure a surety bond of no less than $10,000.
- If you will provide personal protection or bodyguard services, you must be able to secure general liability insurance of no less than $1 million.
- You must be able to pass a background investigation.
Step 2. Complete Required Experience Hours in New Mexico
Candidates for private investigator licensure in New Mexico must show proof of the completion of at least 6,000 hours of investigative work in the last 5 years. Acceptable investigative work may include:
- Investigation for the purpose of obtaining information regarding crimes or threats
- The investigation of persons
- Investigation for the purpose of locating or recovering lost or stolen property
- Securing evidence to be used in court, in investigative committees, or for law enforcement officers
Although a college education is not a requirement for licensure as a private investigator in New Mexico, many individuals choose to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a similar program as to achieve a comprehensive framework of knowledge of the criminal justice system and of the many aspects of working within this system.
Step 3. Complete Mandatory Firearms Training in New Mexico
If you plan to carry a weapon as a private investigator in New Mexico, you must complete mandatory firearms training. All licensed private investigators must show proof of being firearm certified by an instructor who is recognized and certified by the New Mexico law enforcement academy or the National Rifle Association Law Enforcement Activities Division.
You must contact the Board at 505-476-4650 to receive information and forms related to firearms certification in New Mexico.
Step 4. Pass New Mexico’s Jurisprudence Examination
Before you apply for a license as a private investigator in New Mexico, you must pass a jurisprudence exam given by the Department. You must contact the Regulation and Licensing Department at 505-476-4500 to schedule a date and time to complete this examination.
Step 5. Apply for a Private Investigator License in New Mexico
Upon ensuring you meet the minimum requirements for licensure, you must complete the appropriate license application (and sign it in front of a notary public):
- Private Investigator License Application
- Private Investigation Company License Application Attachment
- Private Investigations Company License Application
- Private Investigation Manager Application
- Private Investigations Employee Registration Application
You must provide the following documentation with your completed application:
- A non-refundable application fee of $200 (includes $100 license fee and $100 examination fee)
- Proof of experience
- Two passport-sized photographs
- Proof of age (birth certificate, driver’s license or state-issued ID)
- Proof of mandatory firearms training (if applicable)
- A copy of your surety bond of no less than $10,000.
- Proof of an owner or licensed private investigations manager who will certify that they will manage the daily operations of the private investigation company (for private investigations companies)
- If you are the owner or CEO of a private investigation company that provides personal protection or bodyguard services, you must provide proof of an active general liability insurance policy of at least $1 million. (for private investigations companies)
- Proof of employment with a private investigation company for whom you will provide investigation services and the individual who will provide direct supervision to you (for private investigations employees)
Send the completed application and required documentation to:
New Mexico Private Investigations Board
P.O. Box 25101
Santa Fe, NM 87504
Step 6. Submit Fingerprint Cards in New Mexico
All candidates for private investigator licenses must provide 2 full sets of fingerprints to qualify for licensure.
You can obtain blank fingerprint cards by contacting the Regulation and Licensing Department at 505-476-4650. You must have them completed by a New Mexico state police officer, county sheriff or municipal chief of police.
You must submit your completed fingerprint cards to the department, along with a check or money order in the amount of $44 (made payable to NM Department of Public Safety) to cover the FBI and state background investigation. Mail the completed fingerprint cards and fee to:
NM Department of Public Safety
P.O. Box 1628
Santa Fe, NM 87504-1628
Step 7. Maintain your New Mexico License
Many private investigators in New Mexico seek professional certification as to achieve professional recognition and to separate themselves from others in the field. You may choose to achieve professional certification as a Professional Certified Investigator through ASIS or a Certified Legal Investigator through the National Association of Legal Investigators.
All private investigator licenses expire biennially on the last day of your birth month, and you must complete your license renewal using the Division’s online license renewal system. License renewal fees are as follows:
- Private investigator: $300
- Private investigations manager: $200
- Private investigations employee: $200
You must also show proof of the completion of at least 4 continuing education hours, and you must send updated fingerprint cards, along with a $44 background fee (made payable to the Department of Public Safety, Fingerprint Section) to:
NM Department of Public Safety
P.O. Box 1628
Santa Fe, NM 87504-1628
Private Investigator Salary Information for New Mexico
The field of private investigation in New Mexico is expected to grow over twice as fast as the protective service industry as a whole in the state. According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the growth rate for private investigator and private detective jobs in the state is expected to be 27.5% in the period from 2010 to 2020.
Private investigators made an average of $47,010 in New Mexico in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Experienced professionals in this field made nearly twice as much. The average salary of PIs in the 10th percentile was $68,310.
Most of the private investigators in New Mexico are in Albuquerque with eight-five percent of the 130 PIs in the state being located in this city. Thus, the salaries in this city are very similar to those for the state as a whole. The average 2012 PI salary in Albuquerque was $47,390 with experienced private investigators having earned $69,620 a year.
The state of New Mexico requires a license by the New Mexico Private Investigations Board to work as a private investigator in the state. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have completed mandatory firearms training. They must provide proof of having a $10,000 surety bond as insurance. The Board also requires that applicants have 6,000 hours of investigative experience obtained within the past five years. A criminal background check is also required.
While no educational requirement is specified, over half of the PIs in the U.S. have a bachelor’s degree. Private investigators in New Mexico are mandated to take part in continuing education to maintain their license and must complete at least four hours of such training during their renewal period.
For those private investigators who were working in Albuquerque in 2012, the BLS provides detailed information on the annual and hourly salary levels by percentile. This data is provided in the table below.
Private Investigator Salaries in New Mexico