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Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in North Dakota

The state of North Dakota requires a license to become a private investigator, which is issued by the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board (NDPISB).  This guide describes the steps necessary to obtain a license and start practicing as a private investigator in North Dakota:

Meet North Dakota Requirements to Obtain a License
Obtain the Necessary Education and Training in North Dakota
Take the North Dakota Examination
Submit your North Dakota Application
Start Work as a Private Investigator in North Dakota

Private investigators provide investigative services to groups or individuals.  In North Dakota, the definition of a private investigative service provider includes any licensed business that furnishes or obtains information with reference to any individual or act in exchange for monetary compensation.

There are a number of different types of jobs for private investigators in North Dakota, since both individuals and companies seek the services of PIs.  Many work for attorneys in civil or criminal defense cases.  Others work for insurance companies and examine suspicious claims. Individuals also seek the services of private investigators to find out information on everyone from potential spouses to business investors.



Step 1.  Meet North Dakota Requirements to Obtain a License

You must meet the following qualifications to become a private investigator in North Dakota:

  • Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have not been found guilty or convicted of any of the following (including as a juvenile):
    • Felony
    • Misdemeanor (Class A or B) involving violence, intimidation, or controlled substances
    • Theft, including shoplifting
  • Be free of a mental defect or condition that would impair your ability to professionally and competently provide services
  • Have not committed an act indicating bad moral character

You may still be able to become a private investigator in North Dakota if you have one of these prohibited convictions if the board feels that you have been rehabilitated or that your offense would not prohibit you from serving the public.



Step 2.  Obtain the Necessary Education and Training in North Dakota

You will need to have a substantial amount of experience to obtain your license to be a private investigator in North Dakota.  The state requires that you have worked as a registered employee for a detective agency and have provided 2000 hours of investigative services in this manner.

To be an attractive candidate and to help you prepare for the exam, you may want to consider obtaining a formal degree in criminal justice.  This will help train you in the analytical skills that are required to be a top-notch investigator and will help you in navigating the legal system as you perform your job.

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You can obtain an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from schools within the state or from online schools that offer such degrees.  You may also want to take some courses in business management, as there will be questions on this area when you take your exam.

Armed PI Training – To work as an armed private investigator in North Dakota requires special training.  You will need to comply with all state and federal laws governing the use of firearms.  The state requires that you receive the same training as peace officers.

You will have to take an exam that has both a written part and a portion in which you demonstrate your skills with using a firearm.  To pass this, you will have to score 70% overall and 100% on the portion about North Dakota’s laws.



Step 3.  Take the North Dakota Examination

Before you can apply for your license to become a private investigator, you will need to have passed North Dakota’s written examination.  There are multiple versions of this 150-question exam.  You are well advised to study ahead of time to make sure you are prepared.

You will need to contact the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board to arrange a time to take the exam, which is proctored in Bismarck.  You can contact them at 701-222-3063.

If you do not pass the exam, you can arrange to take it again at least 30 days after being notified of your results.  If you fail it twice, you will need to wait a year before you can take the test again.



Step 4.  Submit Your North Dakota Application

Once you have received your training and passed your exam, you can apply to receive your North Dakota private investigator license. You will have to pay a $130 fee for your license.  When you apply for the first time, you will also have to pay a one-time fee of $100.

You will have to submit a number of forms that you can download from the state’s website.  These include the following:

  • Application
  • Personal authorization for a criminal background check
  • Certification of training
  • Employment history for the past ten years



Step 5.  Start Work as a Private Investigator in North Dakota

Now that you have received your license, you can start working as a private investigator.  The state requires that you conspicuously post your license at your place of business.  They will send you a laminated pocket card that you should use as you interview people.

You will need to renew your license annually, and it is a crime not to do so if you are working as a North Dakota PI.  Licenses expire on September 30, and you have 30 days to renew it so that it continues to be valid.

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