Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Vermont

Becoming a private investigator in Vermont includes following these steps:

Meet Basic Vermont Requirements
Satisfy Training and Experience Requirements in Vermont
Apply for Registration in Vermont
Apply for Vermont Licensure and Pass an Examination
Now that you’re a Private Investigator in Vermont

The Vermont Board of Private Investigative and Security Services is the branch of the Vermont Secretary of State Office of Professional Regulation that is responsible for licensing and regulating Vermont’s private investigators. Strict experience and training mandates are upheld to ensure that only qualified applicants receive registrations and licenses to practice in Vermont.

 


 

Step 1. Meet Basic Requirements for Private Investigators in Vermont

The Vermont Board of Private Investigative and Security Services requires that applicants who wish to become private investigators in the state meet some basic requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have two years of investigative experience
  • Be a citizen of the United States or legal resident
  • Complete required training
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Have a job with a licensed Vermont private investigative agency
  • Be a Vermont resident in good standing with regards to:
    • Child support orders
    • Taxes
    • District court fines
    • Judicial bureau

 


 

Step 2. Satisfy Training and Experience Mandates for Private Investigators in Vermont

Experience

Before you may take the state’s required exam and apply to become a registered private investigator in Vermont, you must have at least two years of full-time investigative experience working under the supervision of a licensed Vermont private investigator. If you have worked as a police officer for at least two years, this requirement is considered satisfied.

Training

Prior to becoming a registered private investigator in Vermont, you must complete mandatory state training. This training must be completed after your initial registration application has received temporary approval and during the time you are awaiting permanent registration approval. This training consists of 40 hours in a Board-approved program. Once you have completed the program, your agency will submit proof to the Board for your full registration/licensure. These courses must be included in every 40-hour private investigator training program:

  • Report writing
  • Evidence
  • Statements
  • Observations/note taking
  • Investigative applications and tools
  • Public relations and communication
  • Legal powers/limitations
  • Ethics and professional conduct, including grounds for unprofessional conduct
  • Role of the private investigator

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Additionally, if you plan to carry or use firearms as a private investigator, you must also complete a Board-approved firearms training program. This program must be taught by a licensed instructor in a classroom and on the range, and include a written exam at the end of the program. Contents of the program must include:

  • 12 hours of classroom instruction in firearms safety, legal responsibility and usage
  • 4 hours of classroom instruction on safety and use of a particular firearm
  • Written examination
  • Fire a qualifying range course

Education

While a formal college degree is not necessary in order to become a private investigator in Vermont under the Board’s rules, many applicants choose to gain this type of knowledge to help them understand the profession better and to further their investigative knowledge. Degrees that are the most beneficial to Vermont private detective applicants include:

  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice-Human Services
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Registration as a Private Investigator in Vermont

Next, you must apply for registration as a private investigator in Vermont.

  1. Download and complete the Private Investigator and/or Security Guard Registration Application
  2. Submit the proper application fee ($60 if you will be unarmed and $120 if you will be armed) via check payable to Vermont Secretary of State
  3. Attach a recent passport-sized photo of yourself to the application in the correct spot
  4. Have your current supervisor sign the Temporary Registration/Statement of Supervisor
  5. Contact Kara Shangraw, Licensing Board Specialist at (802) 828-1134 to arrange for an FBI background check and fingerprinting if you seek armed status. She will provide you with the proper forms and inform you of the fees associated with this check.
  6. Completed Verification of Firearms Status form from your firearms instructor, if requesting armed status

Mail the above to Vermont Secretary of State, Office or Professional Regulation, 89 Main Street, 3rd Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620-3402.

Once your application is submitted, a thorough background check will be run by the Vermont Criminal Information Center. After this is complete, you will be issued a 60-day temporary registration. During this time, you must complete a Board-approved 40-hour training program (as specified in Step 2 above). Your agency must submit proof of you successfully completing this training before you will be issued a full registration/license as a private investigator in Vermont.

 


 

Step 4. If You Wish to Become a Licensed Qualifying Agent or Sole Proprietor of a Private Investigative Agency in Vermont

If you are applying to open your own private investigative agency or to work as a Qualifying Agent (responsible person for a private investigative agency) in Vermont, you must pass the Vermont Private Investigator Examination to receive full licensure. Passing this multiple-choice exam allows you to work as a Qualifying Agent, sole proprietor, or independent private investigator. The examination covers these areas:

  • Public Records in Vermont –1 V.S.A. 310-320
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act – 15 U.S.C. 1681
  • PD/Security Service Licensing Laws – 26 V.S>A. 3151-3183, 3 V.S.A. 121-131, Administrative Rules
  • General knowledge of investigation through academic studies and practical experience

Contact Kara Shangraw, Licensing Board Specialist at (802) 828-1134 to arrange a time to come to the Board offices and take the examination. Once you have passed the exam:

  1. Submit the Private Investigator and/or Security Guard Qualifying Agent Application
  2. Attach a fee of $150 for unarmed status or $200 for armed status via check payable to Vermont Secretary of State
  3. Attach a passport-sized photo of yourself to the application
  4. Request that character references and verifications of your experience be submitted directly by the reference to the Board (form included in application packet)
  5. Complete fingerprinting requirements by contacting Kara Shangraw as in Step 3 above
  6. Attach certification of completion of firearms training, if requesting armed status

Mail the above to Vermont Secretary of State, Office or Professional Regulation, 89 Main Street, 3rd Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620-3402.

 


 

Step 5. Now That You’re a Private Investigator in Vermont

Kudos to you! You are now a private investigator who can legally work in Vermont! Registered private investigators may work for a licensed private investigation agency, while licensed private investigators may work for themselves or as a qualifying agent for a licensed agency.

If you are a registered P.I., you must renew your registration every two years via the Private Investigative and Security Services Armed/Unarmed Registrant Renewal Application. Armed P.I.s must include a check payable to the Vermont Secretary of State for $130, while unarmed P.I.s owe a renewal fee of $80. If you hold firearms qualification, you must complete at least six hours of requalification training in basic firearms safety, use and legal responsibility, and requalify on the firing range every two years. Include the date of your requalification course and the instructor’s name on your renewal application. Mail it to the Vermont Secretary of State, Attn: Renewal Clerk, Office of Professional Regulation, 89 Main St., 3rd Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620-3420.

Renewals of Licensed Qualifying Agent Private Investigators are also on a two-year basis. Use the Private Investigative and Security Services Armed/Unarmed Licensee Renewal Application. Enclose $180 for armed renewal (via check payable to Vermont Secretary of State) or $120 for unarmed renewal. If you are requalifying for firearms status, include the date of your requalification course and the instructor’s name on your renewal application. Mail it to the Vermont Secretary of State, Attn: Renewal Clerk, Office of Professional Regulation, 89 Main St., 3rd Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620-3420.

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