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Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Kansas

This guide will take you through the steps needed to learn how to become a private detective in Kansas:

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

The Office of the Attorney General is the licensing and regulating body for private detectives in Kansas, which monitors the 520 PIs working across the state along with the 120 licensed private detective agencies. Whether you are interested in private investigator jobs doing surveillance work in Wichita, locating a missing person in Overland Park, or tracking fugitives in Kansas City, to work legally in the Sunflower State you will need to obtain a license for private investigator operations.



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
  • Psychology



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:

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

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that 110 private investigators were employed in Kansas in 2012.  Their average annual salary was $46,070, while experienced investigators in the top 10th wage percentile earned $76,120 a year.

The Kansas Labor Market Information Service has provided 2012 salary data for private investigators working in Kansas City, Kansas.  Their average salary was $47,108, while experienced PIs in the upper two thirds of their wage bracket made $51,753 on average.

Individuals who want to become a private investigator in Kansas have to be licensed by the Kansas Attorney General.  This is done through the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.  Applicants must be at least 21 years old and pass an examination to be eligible to get a PI’s license.  They must also have 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

Two sets of fingerprint cards are also required, so that a background check can be conducted.

Once an applicant has received his or her license to operate as a private investigator in Kansas, there are a number of different types of employment options.  Many private investigators work for insurance companies and double check that people who have filed workman’s compensation claims are truly injured.

Other PIs work for individuals.  This can range from performance surveillance on spouses to make sure they are not cheating to checking out potential investment companies to make sure that they are legitimate.

Defense attorneys are another source of employment.  Particularly with serious crimes, attorneys rely on private investigators to provide accurate information about the person’s background and details for the crime they were alleged to have committed.  Sometimes this can lead to the defendant being exonerated.

Detailed information on the employment levels, annual, and hourly salaries of private investigators in Kansas is provided by the BLS.  In the case of Kansas, the following table of information is available on the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Private Investigator Salaries in Kansas

Area name
Annual mean wage
Kansas City MO-KS

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