Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Rhode Island

If you wish to become a private investigator in Rhode Island, you need to follow these steps:

Meet Rhode Island Requirements to Obtain a License
Obtain the Necessary Education and Training in Rhode Island
Submit your Rhode Island Application
Start Work as a Private Investigator in Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island defines a private investigator as a person who has been hired to conduct investigations involving the following:

  • Clandestine surveillance
  • Inquiries into unsolved crimes
  • The search for stolen or lost property
  • The search for missing persons

Private investigators in this state must be licensed by the local authorities where their places of business are located.



Step 1.  Meet the Rhode Island Requirements to Obtain a License

There a number of requirements that you must meet before you can apply for a license to be a private investigator in Rhode Island.  They include the following:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Not have had any previous PI license revoked or have been denied a license
  • Not have been declared incompetent by reason of mental disease or defect
  • Be of good moral character
  • Not suffer from narcotics or alcohol addiction (ok if sober and recovery period completed)
  • Have one of the following:
    • Five years experience as a law enforcement investigator or police officer
    • A criminal justice degree from an accredited university or college
    • Five years of employment as an investigator for a private detective
    • Equivalent training or experience



Step 2.  Obtain the Necessary Education and Training in Rhode Island

If you are not already a law enforcement official, you will need to have either a criminal justice degree or a substantial amount of experience working in the field of private security.  You can obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from schools in cities such as Providence, Warwick, or East Greenwich.  Another option is to seek training from of the online schools that offer this type of education.

In addition to fulfilling a requirement, formal training in criminal justice should help you as you navigate the legal system and improve your analytical skills.

Penn Foster Career School's Online Private Investigator Training Program

Learn how to perform background investigations, operate surveillance equipment, and many other PI secrets through Penn Foster Career School's nationally accredited online Private Investigator training program. In less than three months, you can take the first step towards a career investigating missing persons cases, outing insurance fraudsters, handling cases related to marriage infidelity, and much more.

Request information to learn how Penn Foster Career School's distance learning program can quickly and conveniently help you begin your path towards a career in private investigation.



Step 3.  Submit Your Rhode Island Application

You will have to contact your local city or county to find out the particulars of submitting an application in your jurisdiction.  The state of Rhode Island requires that you provide the following along with your application:

  • $150 license fee
  • A surety bond for $5,000



Step 4.  Start Work as a Private Investigator in Rhode Island

Once your license has been granted, the licensing authority will send you an identification card to carry as you go about your work.  You may want to join the Licensed Private Detectives Association of Rhode Island.  They offer informational meetings and opportunities to network with fellow private investigators throughout the state.

There are a number of different types of jobs available to a licensed private investigator.  Some PIs work for individuals, while others work for insurance companies to investigate suspicious claims.  Yet others work for criminal or civil attorneys to assist them with their cases.

Your license will expire in one year, and you will have to renew it at least thirty days before its expiration date.  There is a $150 fee to renew it.  You will be able to keep working while your renewal is pending.

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