Ever since audiences were introduced to the PI film genre, the profession has been associated with shady practices and questionable characters. It seems like every TV and big screen depiction shows PIs as borderline outlaws looking for a quick buck.
|Meet Fundamental Requirements in Connecticut|
|Fulfill Connecticut Education and Experience Prerequisites|
|Submit Connecticut Application and Documentation|
|Now that you’re a Licensed Private Detective in Connecticut|
But make no mistake– the real-life work PIs do isn’t the stuff of fiction. Today’s private investigators have earned themselves a solid reputation as hardworking professionals whose work supports the efforts of law enforcement. In fact, PIs in Connecticut are often former military service members, or retired police officers and corrections officers. They come to the profession with a strong ethical grounding and tirelessly work within the bounds of the law for clients seeking closure, information, or proof of their suspicions.
Landlords have them on speed dial when they need background investigations for potential tenants…insurance companies call on them to investigate suspected insurance fraudsters…and businesses use their expertise when investigating claims of sexual harassment in the workplace. And that’s just the beginning…
According to the Connecticut Department of Labor, there were just 420 PIs working throughout the state in 2019. This number is projected to hold steady through 2021, although the state should see about 40 annual job openings each year. This means there’s plenty of room to make your mark in the field, whether you choose to settle in Hartford or New Haven.
The Special Licensing and Firearms Unit of the Connecticut State Police oversees the practice and licensing of private investigators in Connecticut. So how to become a private investigator in Connecticut? For that, you’ll need gumption, resourcefulness, initiative, a good deal of experience, and a lot more than just that.
Step 1. Meet Fundamental Requirements for Private Detectives in Connecticut
Before applying to become a private detective in the state of Connecticut, make sure that you meet these fundamental requirements:
- You are at least 25 years old
- You are of good moral character
- You have a minimum of five years of experience as a full-time investigator or ten years of experience as a state or municipal police officer (employment as a security officer does not count towards investigative experience required to become a private detective)
- You have no felony convictions on record
- You have no misdemeanor convictions in the past seven years of the following types:
- Illegal possession of narcotics
- Criminally negligent homicide (Class A misdemeanor)
- Assault in the third degree (Class A misdemeanor)
- Threatening in the second degree (Class A misdemeanor)
- Reckless endangerment in the first degree (Class A misdemeanor)
- Unlawful restraint in the second degree (Class A misdemeanor
- Riot in the first degree (Class A misdemeanor)
- Riot in the second degree (Class B misdemeanor)
- Inciting to riot (Class A misdemeanor)
- Stalking in the second degree
- You have no convictions for offenses involving moral turpitude
- You have never been discharged from the military because of questionable moral character
- You can post a $10,000 performance surety bond with the state
- You can obtain a $300,000 General Liability Insurance policy
Step 2. Fulfill Education and Experience Prerequisites for Private Detectives in Connecticut
Training in private detective work or a related discipline may count towards up to one year of the state’s experience requirements for licensure as a private detective.
Obtaining a degree such as these may be quite helpful to you as an applicant for a private detective license in Connecticut:
- Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Technology
- Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies- Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Legal Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice- Homeland Security Technology
Any of the following full-time work experiences may count towards the experience requirement for licensure of private detectives in Connecticut:
- Five years as a licensed private detective in another jurisdiction
- Five years as a registered private investigator in another jurisdiction
- Five years operating a proprietary detective agency
- Five years as an investigator with local, state, or federal government
- Five years as a detective with local, state, or federal police department
- Five years of investigative experience in another recognized industry
- 10 years as a police officer with a municipal, state, or federal police department
You are not permitted to currently be a police officer when you apply to become a private detective in Connecticut.
Step 3. Submit Connecticut Private Detective License Application and Required Documentation
If you have fulfilled the above requirements, you are ready to apply for licensure as a private detective in Connecticut.
- Download and complete the Application for Private Detective or Security Service License, and have your signature notarized
- Attach two recent passport-type photos of yourself on a blue background
- Complete and enclose two fingerprint cards, one for the state background check and one for the FBI background check
- Enclose one check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut for $50 (state background check fee)
- Enclose one check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut for $16.50 (FBI background check fee)
- Enclose one check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut for $1450.00 (initial two-year license fee)
- If you are seeking a license for a private detective agency, enclose a check or money order payable to the Treasurer, State of Connecticut for $1750.00 (initial two-year license fee)
- Enclose a copy of your driving record from the motor vehicle department of the state in which you have lived for the past three years
- Enclose a copy of your current driver’s license
- Enclose a copy of your military discharge papers, if applicable
- Enclose a copy of your recent credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion)
- Enclose a copy of your high school diploma or GED
- Enclose a copy of your college degree and college transcript, if applicable
- Include proof of citizenship or legal residency in the U.S.
- Include verification of your investigative, detective, or police officer experience. This verification must be from the agency for which you worked and include your name, any licenses you held or still hold, your title, duties, and reasons for leaving employment
- If you are under psychiatric care, you must have your attending psychologist or psychiatrist send a letter to the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit to verify your ability to work as a private detective
- If you are a former police officer, have your former employer send a letter confirming your discharge from police service to the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit. This letter must include your length of service there, the titles you held, your duties, and the date you left their employ.
- Within 60 days of submitting your application, ask four people who know you well and can attest to your character, but are not immediate family members, to write you letters of character reference. These must be sent from the letter writers directly to the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit and must include the reference’s address and telephone number. Enclose four letters of character reference.
- If you plan to open your own private detective agency and seek a corporate license, send a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation from the Connecticut Secretary of State. If your company is out-of-state, send a copy of the Authority to do Business as a Foreign Corporation from the Connecticut Secretary of State.
- Make sure everything is sent within 60 days of submitting your application to Connecticut State Police, Special Licensing and Firearms Unit, 1111 Country Club Road, Middletown, CT 06457.
You will be contacted for an oral interview once your complete application packet and documentation are received and reviewed. Before licensure, you must obtain a $300,000 General Liability insurance policy. You will also be asked to submit the executed Bond for Private Detective License for $10,000. Once you are issued a private detective/private detective agency license, your name will be published on the Connecticut list of Licensed Private Detectives and Security Companies.
Step 4. Now that You’re a Licensed Private Detective in Connecticut
Kudos to you on earning your private detective license in Connecticut! Make sure to maintain that license properly, by renewing it every two years. You will receive a renewal application in the mail from the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit 90 days before the expiration of your license. At each renewal, you must submit:
- Completed Renewal Application for License as a Private Detective/Security Company
- Renewal fee of $625 via check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut (for private detective license)
- If you own a corporation, association, or partnership, the renewal fee for a private detective agency of $1000 via check or money order is payable to the Treasurer, State of Connecticut.
- Completed Form DPS-363-C, Verification of Performance Bond
- A list of all registered employees if you own a private detective agency
Consider joining one of the following private detective professional organizations in Connecticut and nationwide to increase your networking opportunities:
- Connecticut Association of Licensed Private Investigators, LLC
- SPI-The Society of Professional Investigators
- Professional Investigators and Security Association
Now that you know how to become a private investigator in Connecticut, here are some of the important statistics details:s
Private Investigator Salary Information for Connecticut*
According to May 2020 statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), private investigators in Connecticut earned a median, annual salary of $61,464 – a good $8,000 more than the national average for the profession. Those who have the experience needed to build a successful business can expect to earn in the top 10% here, which means making around $80,390 a year.
Before you can become a PI in Connecticut, you’ll need to be at least 25 years old, and you’ll need to show proof of at least five years of full-time experience as:
- A registered private investigator
- An operator of a detective agency
- An investigator/detective with a law enforcement agency
- An investigator in another related area
You may be able to bypass this requirement if you have at least ten years of experience as a police officer.
You can fast-track your eligibility for licensure here by substituting your post-secondary degree for up to a year of experience.
PI Salaries in Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, Hartford, and New Haven
The BLS reported that as of May 2019, the biggest earners in private investigations were in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk metro area, both at the median and top 10% levels. New Haven PI salaries fell below the state averages, while those in Hartford earned salaries consistent with the state averages.
The following BLS stats indicate what PIs in the median-top 10% salary range are earning in Connecticut’s largest metro areas:
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk: $74,810-$83,970
- Hartford: $61,650-$78,650 (approximately 160 licensed PIs)
- New Haven: $39,670-$66,200 (approximately 150 licensed PIs)
*May 2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary and Job Market Figures for Private Detectives and Investigators reflect state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.