Shady bottom feeders need not apply. Today’s private investigators are passionate defenders of the legal system whose morals are just as strong as their investigative chops. When information needs to be uncovered and facts need to be collected, Kansas’ PIs are the obvious go-to pros for a wide range of clients. Law offices rely on them to gather evidence for civil and criminal cases… government agencies and private sector employers turn to them for information integrity checks on job applications…and private citizens reach out to PIs for everything from vetting potential business partners to catching cheating spouses in the act.
|Meet the Initial Qualifications in Kansas|
|Make the Necessary Preparations for your Kansas License Application|
|Submit a Complete Application Packet to the Attorney General|
|Maintain your Practice in Kansas|
And for PIs in Kansas driven by a strong sense of justice, there are plenty of cool opportunities to make a difference doing some very important work here. Take, for instance, Latahra Smith, a medical assistant turned private investigator who chose the profession after fighting to clear her son of capital murder back in 2008. Today she works as a Kansas PI to free the wrongfully accused and is involved in both the KC Freedom Project and Missouri Families for Inmates Rights.
According to the Kansas Department of Labor, Smith was among just 130 PIs in the state in 2019. With this number projected to hold steady through 2021, there’ll be plenty of room to learn the ropes and get a PI agency of your own up and running with very little competition to bump up against.
Kansas private investigators are licensed by the Office of the Attorney General’s Private Detective Licensing Division.
Step 1. Initial Qualifications in Kansas
Your first step before doing anything else is to make sure you are eligible to become a private detective. That means meeting these minimum qualifications:
- Be a U.S. citizen at least 21 years old
- No felony convictions
- No misdemeanor convictions in the past 10 years
- Be mentally competent to fulfill the job duties of a private investigator
- Be of good moral character
You must also meet the private investigator school requirement of having either graduated from high school or obtained a GED equivalency.
In addition to a high school education, you can also consider pursuing a certificate or degree program in a PI-related field. Demonstrating an educational background to your prospective employers or clients can improve the success of your career in addition to broadening your future options. It will also ensure you are capable of carrying out your duties in a safe and efficient manner.
Certification classes and degree programs are offered online and across the State of Kansas in the following fields:
- Criminal Justice
- Law Enforcement
- Business Administration
- Public Administration
Step 2. Preparing for Your Application for Licensure in Kansas
You will fill out the same application for licensure whether you plan to work for a private investigator agency, or go into business for yourself as the owner of a PI agency. However if you are planning to be the owner of an agency you will need to fill out an additional application. You will also need to prepare the following before you make your initial application:
- Complete the Private Detective Licensing Act Exam which is part of the initial application and covers:
- $100,000 in any one of the following:
- Corporate surety bond
- General insurance liability including property damage or bodily injury caused by negligence, errors, or omissions
- Cash deposit with the State Treasurer
- Optional Firearm Permit: If you choose to carry a firearm while working you will need to complete the following private investigator training requirements:
- Complete a 16-hour training course covering the lawful use of force and firearm handling for which you will receive a notice of completion. You may substituted for this by showing proof of completion of a full-time law enforcement training course
- You must accurately fire 35 out of 50 rounds into the center of mass of a target whose distance ranges between three and 75 feet
- Pay a $50 permit fee
Step 3. Submit your Application for Kansas Licensure with the Attorney General
When making your application to the Attorney General in Topeka be sure to include the following:
- Complete application
- Complete Private Detective Licensing Act Exam
- Fingerprint cards and permission for a background investigation
- Proof of surety bond, insurance coverage, or cash deposit
- Proof of education
- DD 214 for military service personnel
- Five personal references from U.S. citizens who have known you at least five years
- Application fee:
- $250 if you will work for an agency or work independently
- $100 if you are the owner, partner, or associate of a PI agency
Step 4. Maintaining Your Practice in Kansas
As you are busy developing your career do not forget you will need to renew your license every two years. If you choose to carry a firearm this also means taking another private detective training course in firearms every two years. To complete these tasks you will need to submit the following to the Attorney General:
- $175 fee and a PI renewal application
- If carrying a weapon, $50 fee and a firearms permit renewal application
You may also find it to your advantage to join a professional organization of your colleagues such as the Kansas Association of Private Investigators (KAPI) or the Kansas Association of Licensed Investigators (KALI). With either of these agencies you can develop networking opportunities, find additional information on how to become a private investigator in Kansas, and learn about firearm certification classes.
Private Investigator Salary Information for Kansas*
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), private investigators in Kansas earned an annual, median salary of $51,520 as of May 2019. Those with the most impressive credentials and longest client list earned even more, making $82,740 on average.
If you want to work as a PI in Kansas, you’ll need a license through the Kansas Attorney General. To qualify for licensure, you must be at least 21, and you must pass a written examination and background investigation. You must also provide proof of one of the following:
- $100,000 corporate surety bond
- General liability insurance providing coverage for bodily injury or property damage that provides $100,000 of coverage
- $100,000 deposit with the State Treasurer
Private Investigator Salaries in Kansas City
According to 2019 BLS stats, there were about 150 licensed PIs working in the Kansas City metro area (MO-KS). The salary range (median-top 10%) for the PIs here was $52,130-$87,560 at that time, just slightly higher than the state average.
*Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2019. Figures represent accumulated data for all employment sectors in which private investigators work. BLS salary data represents state and MSA (metropolitan statistical area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries.
2019 job growth projections from the Kansas Department of Labor are aggregated through the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource, Projections Central. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
All salary and employment data accessed May 2020.