Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Florida

If you would like to join the ranks of the licensed private investigators in Idaho, follow this process:

Meet Basic Qualifications in Florida
Complete Training and Experience Requirements in Florida
Pass the Florida Exam
Apply for Licensure in Florida
Now that you’re a Licensed Private Investigator in Florida

Florida requires all private investigators to carry a Class C license. As of August 31, 2013, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing reports that there are 7807 Class C licensed private investigators in the state. Additionally, there are 1707 Class CC private investigator interns, and 79 Class MA private investigative agency managers.



Step 1. Meet Basic Qualifications for Licensure as a Private Investigator in Florida

In order to obtain a Class C Private Investigator license in Florida, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Have no disqualifying criminal history
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have no history of mental illness
  • Have no history of use of illegal drugs
  • Have no history of alcoholism
  • Have two years of experience (which can be gained through first obtaining a Class CC Private Investigator Intern License in Step 2 below)



Step 2. Complete Training and Experience Required of Private Investigators in Florida

Training – Because applicants for a Class C Private Investigator’s License in Florida must have two years of experience, most applicants opt to apply for licensure as a Class CC Private Investigator Intern first. Prior to applying for the intern license, you must complete at least 40 hours of professional private investigator training and Chapter 493 of the Florida Statutes, offered by an accredited school.  A list of currently approved schools is here.

The training programs offered by these schools result in a diploma and fulfill Florida’s requirements. However, some applicants choose to go on for college degrees in these related fields, to boost their career chances further:

  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Additionally, one year of college course work in law enforcement, criminology or criminal justice (or a related field) may be used to substitute for one of the two-year experience requirement for a Class C Private Investigator license in Florida.

Firearms Training – If your job as a private investigator or private investigator intern will require you to carry concealed firearms, you must complete 28 hours of range and classroom training given by a Florida Class K licensed firearms instructor. Acceptable forms of training are listed here.

Experience – Once you have completed training and applied for and received a Class CC Private Investigator Intern license, you may begin working under the sponsorship of a Florida-licensed private investigator. As the experience requirements for a Class C Private Investigator license include two years of full-time private investigative experience, this is a great way to work towards becoming a full-fledged private investigator.



Step 3. Pass the Florida Private Investigator Licensing Examination

The next step on your path to Florida licensure as a private investigator is to pass a state examination. Your knowledge of Florida Statutes Sections 493.6100 through 493.6203 and Section 493.6301(5) dealing with business practices of the industry of private investigation and legal responsibilities of being a private investigator will be tested on this exam. To schedule an appointment to take this examination, call one of the eight statewide Licensing Division Regional Offices:

  • Fort Walton Beach (850) 833-9146
  • Punta Gorda (941) 575-5770
  • Jacksonville (904) 828-3100
  • Tallahassee (850) 245-5498
  • Doral (305) 639-3500
  • Tampa (813) 272-2552
  • Orlando (407) 245-0883
  • West Palm Beach (561) 681-2530

You must pay $100 to take the exam, which lasts about two hours. Your results will be mailed to you two to four weeks after taking the exam.



Step 4. Apply for Class C Licensure as a Private Investigator in Florida

After passing the exam, you are ready to apply for Class C licensure as a private investigator in Florida.

  1. Complete the Application for Class C Private Investigator License.
  2. Attach a color passport-sized recent photo of yourself.
  3. Include a completed, signed and notarized Affidavit of Experience (Form FDACS-16023)
  4. Include the certificate of completion confirming your passing score on the exam
  5. Include proof of completion of the training and/or educational requirements, such as a diploma, degree and/or transcript
  6. Include a set of fingerprints on the fingerprint card included with the application package or by electronic fingerprint scan. Instructions for this process are provided within the application package.
  7. Include a check or money order payable to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for $167 (includes $50 application fee, $75 license fee, and $42 fingerprint processing fee)

Mail the above information to Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing, P.O. Box 9100, Tallahassee, FL 32315-9100.

If you plan to carry a concealed weapon either as a Private Investigative Intern or Private Investigator and are at least 21 years old, you must file the Class G Statewide Firearms License application. You must include the certificate showing you have completed the mandatory firearms instruction, a health certificate signed by your physician or advanced registered nurse practitioner, a passport-sized photograph, and fingerprint information. Also, enclose check or money order payable to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for $154 (license fee of $112 and fingerprint processing fee of $42). Submit all of this to the Division of Licensing address listed above. (If you are submitting the application for Class C or CC licensure at the same time, you only need to submit one set of fingerprints and one fingerprint fee).

If you wish to manage a private investigative agency, you must apply for Class r MA Manager of a Private Investigative Agency licensure. Experience and training requirements for MA managers are the same as for those of private investigator. You must also pass the same examination as private investigators.



Step 5. Now That You are a Licensed Private Investigator in Florida

Congratulations! You have worked hard, studied hard and are now a licensed private investigator in Florida! You must renew your Class C license every two years. This may be done and paid for online. You might also want to consider joining professional organizations such as the Florida Association of Licensed Investigators, which provided advocacy and networking for licensed PIs in the state.
A large number of private investigators are employed in Florida.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2,160 PIs had jobs in the state in 2012.  Salary data for that year indicated that the average annual private investigator salary in Florida was $43,980.  Those in the top ten percent of wage earners made $65,550 a year.



Private Investigator Salary Information for Florida

The average salary for selected cities in Florida is listed below, followed by the salary of those in the top ten percent of the field:

Florida City
Average Annual Salary

The metropolitan area with the highest average salary of Florida cities listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota.  It was $54,500 in 2012.

Private investigators working outside of cities can also earn high salaries in Florida.  The average wage in the nonmetropolitan area of northeast Florida was $41,110—the top paying nonmetropolitan area in the country.

Private investigators in Florida that specialize in finance and insurance can expect to earn significantly more than the average, according to the state of Florida.  Their median salary was $66,143 as compared to $41,200 for private investigators as a whole in the state.  Only five percent of Florida’s PIs were employed in this area, however.

Licensing through the state’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is required to become a private investigator in Florida. A Class “C” license is required for individuals who work as private investigators in Florida.  An additional Class “G” license is required for PIs who wish to carry a firearm.

To obtain a Class “C” license, applicants must either have two years of verifiable full-time experience working in investigations.  Education in criminal justice, law enforcement administration, criminology or having obtained training for law enforcement officers can substitute for a year of this experience.

Detailed salary information on selected cities in Florida is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is presented below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Florida

Area name
Annual mean wage
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach FL
Estimate not released
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach FL Metropolitan Division
Gainesville FL
Jacksonville FL
Estimate not released
Lakeland-Winter Haven FL
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach FL
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall FL Metropolitan Division
North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota FL
Estimate not released
Ocala FL
Estimate not released
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford FL
Port St. Lucie FL
Estimate not released
Tallahassee FL
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater FL
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach FL Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
Northeast Florida nonmetropolitan area

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