The state of North Dakota requires a license to become a private investigator, which is issued by the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board (NDPISB). This guide describes the steps necessary to obtain a license and start practicing as a private investigator in North Dakota:
|Meet North Dakota Requirements to Obtain a License|
|Obtain the Necessary Education and Training in North Dakota|
|Take the North Dakota Examination|
|Submit your North Dakota Application|
|Start Work as a Private Investigator in North Dakota|
Private investigators provide investigative services to groups or individuals. In North Dakota, the definition of a private investigative service provider includes any licensed business that furnishes or obtains information with reference to any individual or act in exchange for monetary compensation.
There are a number of different types of jobs for private investigators in North Dakota, since both individuals and companies seek the services of PIs. Many work for attorneys in civil or criminal defense cases. Others work for insurance companies and examine suspicious claims. Individuals also seek the services of private investigators to find out information on everyone from potential spouses to business investors.
Step 1. Meet North Dakota Requirements to Obtain a License
You must meet the following qualifications to become a private investigator in North Dakota:
- Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have not been found guilty or convicted of any of the following (including as a juvenile):
- Misdemeanor (Class A or B) involving violence, intimidation, or controlled substances
- Theft, including shoplifting
- Be free of a mental defect or condition that would impair your ability to professionally and competently provide services
- Have not committed an act indicating bad moral character
You may still be able to become a private investigator in North Dakota if you have one of these prohibited convictions if the board feels that you have been rehabilitated or that your offense would not prohibit you from serving the public.
Step 2. Obtain the Necessary Education and Training in North Dakota
You will need to have a substantial amount of experience to obtain your license to be a private investigator in North Dakota. The state requires that you have worked as a registered employee for a detective agency and have provided 2000 hours of investigative services in this manner.
To be an attractive candidate and to help you prepare for the exam, you may want to consider obtaining a formal degree in criminal justice. This will help train you in the analytical skills that are required to be a top-notch investigator and will help you in navigating the legal system as you perform your job.
You can obtain an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from schools within the state or from online schools that offer such degrees. You may also want to take some courses in business management, as there will be questions on this area when you take your exam.
Armed PI Training – To work as an armed private investigator in North Dakota requires special training. You will need to comply with all state and federal laws governing the use of firearms. The state requires that you receive the same training as peace officers.
You will have to take an exam that has both a written part and a portion in which you demonstrate your skills with using a firearm. To pass this, you will have to score 70% overall and 100% on the portion about North Dakota’s laws.
Step 3. Take the North Dakota Examination
Before you can apply for your license to become a private investigator, you will need to have passed North Dakota’s written examination. There are multiple versions of this 150-question exam. You are well advised to study ahead of time to make sure you are prepared.
You will need to contact the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board to arrange a time to take the exam, which is proctored in Bismarck. You can contact them at 701-222-3063.
If you do not pass the exam, you can arrange to take it again at least 30 days after being notified of your results. If you fail it twice, you will need to wait a year before you can take the test again.
Step 4. Submit Your North Dakota Application
Once you have received your training and passed your exam, you can apply to receive your North Dakota private investigator license. You will have to pay a $130 fee for your license. When you apply for the first time, you will also have to pay a one-time fee of $100.
You will have to submit a number of forms that you can download from the state’s website. These include the following:
- Personal authorization for a criminal background check
- Certification of training
- Employment history for the past ten years
Step 5. Start Work as a Private Investigator in North Dakota
Now that you have received your license, you can start working as a private investigator. The state requires that you conspicuously post your license at your place of business. They will send you a laminated pocket card that you should use as you interview people.
You will need to renew your license annually, and it is a crime not to do so if you are working as a North Dakota PI. Licenses expire on September 30, and you have 30 days to renew it so that it continues to be valid.
Private Investigator Salary Information for North Dakota
The number of private investigators throughout the country is expected to grow 20.7% in the ten year period leading up to 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). September 2013 salary information for PIs in North Dakota is provided by Indeed.com and is listed below:
- Private investigator: $32,000
- Private detective: $27,000
These are the average salaries for a year. Experienced professionals can earn substantially higher wages.
A license from the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board (NDPISB) is required to become a private investigator in the state. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. Before they can apply for their license, aspiring PIs must pass a written examination.
The NDPISB requires a substantial amount of experience from those applying for a PI license. They must have been employed performing investigative services for 2000 hours. This must have been as a registered employee of a detective agency.
Special training is required to work as an armed PI. Applicants must have received the same amount of training as peace officers. There is an additional exam that has both a written part and a part in which to demonstrate firing skills.
Once private investigators have their license, there a number of avenues they can take to find jobs. According to the BLS, most of the private investigators in the country work for investigative and security service firms. Fewer people work as PIs in the following industries, but their salaries average over 39% of the mean PI’s salary in the country:
- Manufacturing of
- Aerospace product and parts
- Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments
- Computer systems design and related services
- Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution
- Management, scientific, and technical consulting services