Nevada’s Private Investigators Licensing Board regulates and licenses private investigators so as to protect the general welfare and safety of the people of Nevada. The Board defines a private investigator as being “any person who for any consideration engages in business or accepts employment…to make any investigation.”
Before you can become a private investigator in the State of Nevada, you must complete a set of steps:
|Meet Minimum Requirements in Nevada|
|Meet Education/Experience Requirements in Nevada|
|Apply for a Nevada Private Investigator License|
|Pass the Examination for Private Investigators in Nevada|
|Networking and Keeping Licensure Current in Nevada|
Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements in Nevada
Before applying for a license as a private investigator in Nevada, you must meet the minimum requirements for licensure. Regardless of the city in which you live, from Las Vegas and Reno to North Las Vegas and Henderson, the minimum requirements for licensure are the same:
- Be at least 21 years of age
- Be a citizen of the United States or allowed to work in the United States
- Have no felony convictions or convictions involving crimes of moral turpitude or the illegal use or possession of a dangerous weapon
- Be able to pass a background investigation through the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Nevada Department of Public Safety, and the California Department of Justice (if you ever lived or worked in California)
Step 2. Meet Education/Experience Requirements in Nevada
All candidates for private investigator licenses in Nevada must possess at least 5 years of investigative experience (2,000 hours each year for a total of 10,000 hours).
However, you may satisfy some of your experience requirements through a college program in police science or criminal justice, as follows:
- An associate’s degree in police science or criminal justice equals 8 months (1,333 hours)
- A bachelor’s degree in police science or criminal justice equals 18 months (3,000 hours)
Step 3. Apply for a Nevada Private Investigator License
Upon ensuring you meet the minimum qualifications for licensure as a private detective in Nevada, you must apply for your private investigator license online through the Nevada Private Investigators Licensing Board portal. Along with a completed application, you must provide the following to the Board:
- A non-refundable application processing fee of $20
- A $100 examination fee
- A $750 background investigation deposit (and $250 for each additional category of license for which the application is made)
Note: If you are a resident of Nevada, the entire cost of the investigation may total no more than $1,500 (each additional category may be up to $500), while a corporate applicant or an application who is not a resident of Nevada is liable for the entire cost of the investigation.
- A passport-style photograph
- A completed child support information form (if applicable)
- A copy of your birth certificate, naturalization papers and/or passport
- Certificate of Good Standing and a Certificate of Incorporation from the state you are incorporated in (for corporation licenses only)
Note: If your license application is a firm or partnership, the application must be signed and verified by all members. If your license application is a corporation, it must be signed and verified by the president, secretary, and treasurer. Further, if you are applying for a corporate license, you must submit your corporate financial statement in addition to your personal financial statement.
- Three (3) fingerprint cards, along with a fingerprint processing fee of $37.50 (made payable to Nevada DPS) and 1 fingerprint card for California (if applicable) and a processing fee of $32 (made payable to CDOJ). You can have your fingerprint cards completed at any local law enforcement office.
- At least 3 Notarized Certificates of Support of Experience and Qualifications forms
- At least 3 Notarized Certificates in Support of Personal References forms
- Diplomas and transcripts showing proof of education (if applicable)
- Three (3) years of tax returns, including all W2s, K1s and/or 1099s
Step 4. Pass the Nevada Examination for Private Investigators
Upon submitting your application for licensure and receiving approval from the Board, you may take the Nevada State Board Examination, which is designed to assess your knowledge of the Nevada Revised Statutes and Regulations.
The examination is given quarterly and is administered either in Las Vegas or Carson City. You must score at least 75 percent to receive a passing score. If you fail the exam, you must pay a $100 fee to retake it.
Step 5. Network for Job Opportunities and Keep your Nevada License Up-to-Date
After passing the Nevada State Board Examination, before you can receive your license you will be required to provide proof to the Board that you have an insurance policy that is no less than $200,000, written by an insurance company authorized to do business in the state.
Membership in a local or state association, such as the Nevada Society of Professional Investigators, often provides a number of opportunities for private investigators in the field, including networking events and current information on legislation affecting the private investigation industry.
All online renewals are completed online. You must provide your license number to complete the online renewal. Licenses are renewed every year on July 1, and the cost of renewal is $500 per license, per year.
Private Investigator Salary Information for Nevada
The field of private investigation is growing in Nevada. According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the increase in job growth for private investigators in the period of 2010 to 2020 is expected to be 6.3%.
Most of the private investigators in Nevada work in the Las Vegas area. Of the 200 PIs employed in the state in 2012, 80% of them were based out of Las Vegas, according to information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The BLS provides 2012 salary data for Nevada as a whole and for the Las Vegas area. The median annual income of PIs for these areas is listed below, followed by the wage of PIs who earn in the top 10th percentile of their field.
The median hourly wage for PIs in Las Vegas in 2011 was 24% higher than that for the U.S. as a whole, and the area has a lower cost of living than many cities in the U.S.
The state of Nevada requires a license from the state’s Private Investigator’s Licensing Board to work as a private investigator or private detective. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and undergo a rigorous background check involving the:
- Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS)
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- California Department of Justice (CDOJ)
- For applicants who have either lived in or visited California
They must also pass a two hour exam with a score of at least 75%. There is a stringent requirement that applicants have 5 years (10,000 hours) of investigative experience before they can apply. Having one of the following degrees in criminal justice or police science can replace the following amount of required hours:
- Associate’s: 8 months (1,333 hours)
- Bachelor’s: 18 months (3,000 hours)
The BLS provides a detailed breakdown of PI salaries in the Las Vegas area. Hourly and annual percentiles are provided in the following table.
Private Investigator Salaries in Nevada