Requirements by State

 


 

Alabama

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Licensure

Before you can apply for a private investigator license in Alabama, you must verify you meet the minimum requirements for licensure, which include:

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Must have not been declared incompetent by a court or other competent jurisdiction by reason of mental defect or disease
  • Must not have been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude
  • Must not have been convicted of a felony crime

Although Alabama does not have post-secondary education requirements to practice private investigations, many prospective private investigators choose to complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a concentration in investigations or a related major as a way to gain a foundation of knowledge in the field of investigations, and to better prepare for success on the license examination.

Continuing professional development hours, which are required to renew your license every two years, can also be satisfied through college courses in criminal justice. See Step 4 for details on professional development requirements for license renewal

To date, there are more than 34 accredited schools in Alabama that offer criminal justice programs, as well as many online institutions.

Step 2. Pass the Required Examination

As an applicant for a private investigator license in Alabama, you’ll be required to complete an examination administered by the Alabama Private Investigation Board.

The exam is designed to measure competence in the field of private investigations.

The Board schedules the exam to take place twice a year through an independent exam service provider.

If you were currently in practice and held an Alabama business license on the date the current rules went into effect (March 7, 2014) you are eligible for licensure without examination. This exemption is referred to as Licensure by Work Experience. You must apply on or before February 28, 2015 to be allowed to take advantage of this exemption. See license application instructions in Step 3.

Step 3. Apply for an Alabama Private Investigator License

Upon the successful completion of the required examination, you may apply for an Alabama private investigator license by completing an Application by Credential/Examination. Along with a completed application, you must enclose the following documents:

  • Proof of a passing score on a Board-approved examination
  • Proof of Citizenship form and attached document (a copy of your Alabama driver’s license, valid U.S. passport, birth certificate, etc.)
  • A current photograph (meeting the specification set forth within the application)
  • A set of 3 classifiable fingerprint cards and a completed ABI Form 46
  • Affidavit of Applicant form
  • An application fee of $125 and a license fee of $300, both made payable to the APIB

If were providing private investigative services and you held an Alabama business license when the new private investigator rules became effective on March 7, 2014, you qualify for Licensure by work Experience so long as you submit your application by February 28 2015. This makes you exempt from exam requirements, but will require approval of your application all the same. Along with the Application for License by Work Experience (Business Owner), you must enclose all of the above named documents along with a copy of your current Alabama-issued private investigator business license. Your initial license will be dated May 1, 2014 and will remain valid until April 30, 2016.

Private investigators that work as employees or contractors and who qualify under this exemption will submit the Application for License by Work Experience (Employees/Contractors) along with the above named documents.

All applications must be notarized and sent along with the required fees and related documentation, to:

APIB
P.O. Box 241206
Montgomery, AL 36124

Step 4. Maintain your Private Investigator License

The Alabama private investigator license is valid for a period of two years, expiring on April 30 of even-numbered years. To qualify for licensure renewal in Alabama, you must complete a renewal form, pay the renewal fee of $200, and complete at least 16 contact hours (8 in each calendar year), 2 of which must be in ethics.

The units of measure for continuing education contact hours are:

  • 1 contact hour = 50 minutes
  • .05 contact hour = 25 minutes
  • 15 contact hours = 1 academic semester credit hour
  • 10 contact hours = 1 academic quarter credit hour

You may complete continuing education contact hours by:

  • Taking and passing (with a C or better) a college or university course within a criminal justice education program or any course that enhances your “professional growth and development”
  • Membership in professional organizations or participating on boards or committees related to private investigation (may be counted up to 2 hours per renewal period)
  • Completing a self-study course that has been approved by the Alabama Private Investigators Association or the ABIP (may be counted up to 8 hours per renewal period)
  • Preparation and presentation of a lecture (may be counted up to 2 contact hours)
  • Instruction provided by legitimate private investigator associations, including:
    • State and national associations that are properly incorporated and in good standing with the appropriate incorporating body
    • Company training
    • Institutions that provide training for profit
    • Online Internet-based training
    • Individuals and firms that provide training for profit
    • Continuing education approved by the licensure board or Commission for Private Investigators


Private Investigator Salary Information for Alabama

It is relatively easy to become a private investigator in Alabama, since the state does not require a special license for PIs. Those starting a detective agency do need to get a business license and should contact the state’s Department of Revenue.

Private investigators in Alabama earned an average annual salary of $58,320 in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Some PIs earned in the six figures.  For instance, those in the 90th percentile of their salary group earned an average of $109,350 a year.

The Birmingham-Hoover area is an especially lucrative area for private investigators in Alabama.  It had the third highest wages in the country for PIs in a metropolitan area in 2012.  The average annual salary in this city was $77,390 with the top earners averaging $131,800 a year.

Although Alabama doesn’t enforce state-wide PI licensing requirements, certain cities, such as Birmingham and Mobile, do enforce municipal licensing standards for anybody involved in private detective work within city limits.  Becoming licensed in these cities starts by contacting the local Police Chief to find out exactly what is involved in their independent licensing process.

Applicants in Montgomery should be prepared to undergo state and federal background checks, and to obtain liability insurance in the form of a surety bond.  The city of Mobile requires a fingerprint check and a comprehensive general liability insurance policy.

Private investigators work for a range of clients, from insurance companies to defense attorneys to individuals.  Often, they specialize in areas such as financial investigations related to fraud.  Having an education in criminal justice can help aspiring PIs learn the analytical skills they need to succeed and help them in navigating the legal system.

Although Alabama does not license PIs, many still demonstrate their professionalism by joining the Alabama Private Investigator’s Association.  This group of investigative professionals is active throughout the state and has three regional groups.  The organization holds it members to a high ethical standard established in a code of professional ethics.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides information on the salaries of private investigators by city.  In the case of Alabama, salary data is only available for the Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area.

Private Investigator Salaries in Alabama

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Birmingham-Hoover AL
50
77390

 

Alaska

Private investigators in Alaska face unique challenges due to the cold temperatures and light cycles that include both 24-hour-stretches of daylight and 24-hour periods of darkness. In addition, as the least densely populated state in the nation, small towns are far apart and often have poor road access.

Step 1. Obtain an Alaska Business License

Anyone can procure a business license for an annual fee of $50.00 ($25.00 for senior citizens). Business names should be selected carefully to avoid time wasted in re-applying because of duplication.

Applicants can file online and print out the license by going to the AK Department of Commerce website and clicking on license applications. Applications also can be mailed, along with the fee, to State of Alaska, Business Licensing Section, P.O. Box 110806, Juneau, AK 99811-0806. The telephone number is 907-465-2550.

Step 2.  Meet Requirements for a Private Investigator’s License in Fairbanks

There are very strict requirements for being granted a private investigator’s license in Fairbanks, Alaska’s second largest city. The license requirements are as follows:

  • U.S. Citizen
  • Good Moral Character
  • No Felony Convictions
  • Valid Alaska Driver’s License
  • Post $10,000 Surety Bond
  • Criminal Background Check

There is a $100 non-refundable application fee as well as a $400 license fee (good for two years). Mail application to the City of Fairbanks, City Clerk’s Office, 800 Cushman Street, Fairbanks, AK 99701-4615; telephone: 907-459-6715. It is noted that Fairbanks issued 21 private investigator (PI) licenses in 2011.

Step 3. Meet Anchorage Licensing Requirements

The requirements for procuring a PI license in Anchorage are not as stringent as those for Fairbanks. They include:

  • At Least 18 Years Old
  • Detailed Work History
  • Current Alaska business License
  • $100 Fee (two-year license)
  • Application Must be Notarized

Notarized application and fee must be mailed or hand delivered to the Department of Public Safety, 5700 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99507. This department will conduct a background check and then FAX the entire package to the city clerk’s office at 622 West 6th Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501. The license will be mailed to applicant.

Step 4. Obtain the Education Needed to do the Job in Alaska

Although there are no specific educational requirements for private investigators in Alaska, the job demands knowledge of the criminal justice system, courtroom procedures, relevant laws, etc.  Individuals who become PIs after years working as police officers, military police or in similar occupations, already have much of the necessary training. However, newcomers would be wise to earn an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. There are four schools in Alaska that have criminal justice programs from which approximately 57 students graduate each year.

There also are a number of both on-campus and online schools in the U.S. that offer a Certificate in Private Investigation. Classes are usually taught by experienced, working PIs. Programs vary from 15 to 40 credit hours. Subject matter covered includes:

  • Criminal Investigations
  • Civil Investigation
  • Discovery/Document Review
  • Investigative Techniques
  • Interview Techniques
  • Courtroom Testimony
  • Report Writing
  • The Business of Investigation
  • Internet Research
  • Investigative Surveillance
  • Ethical Behavior

Step 5. Go to Work for an Agency in Alaska or as an Independent Contractor

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupational outlook for private detectives is good. Jobs in this field are expected to increase 21 percent by 2020. PIs can work for themselves or for an investigative firm. It’s a good idea for new PIs to spend a few years working for an established agency before venturing out on their own. PIs also have the option to specialize in one aspect of the business, such as locating missing persons, doing background checks for businesses or finding evidence for trial attorneys.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Alaska

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the mean annual salary of PIs in Alaska is $63,810.

To become a private investigator in Alaska can be lucrative, since the state had the third highest average salary in the country in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The average annual salary in the state was $63,810 with those in the top 10th percentile of the profession earning an average of $79,660 a year.

110 individuals were employed as private investigators in Alaska in 2012, according to the BLS.  This employment included PIs in a range of age groups.  According the state’s Department of Labor, approximately 65% of the PIs working in the state were under 45 years old in 2011.

Becoming a private investigator in Alaska is relatively straightforward, since most locations in the state do not require a special license to be a private investigator.  Only a business license is required for those working independently, and this is relatively easy to obtain.

The exceptions to the state-wide lack of licensing requirements include Anchorage and Fairbanks, which do require private investigators in these cities to have a PI license.  Fairbanks requires a background check and liability insurance in the form of possession of a $10,000 surety bond.  Anchorage also requires that applicants undergo a background check. There were 21 licensed private investigators operating in the city in 2011.

Options for PIs in Alaska include working for detective agencies or striking out on their own as independent private investigators.  The job situation in Alaska is better for the self-employed, since there were 57 people registered in the state looking for PI jobs in 2011.  Only two positions were posted.  As with most fields, though, there are often more jobs available than what are listed publicly, so it may pay to check with existing detective agencies for positions.

Private investigators frequently network with other investigative professionals to share information.  In Alaska, this can be done through the Alaska Investigators Association.

 


 

Arizona

In Arizona, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) regulates the licensing of private investigators (PI), also called private detectives. All independent private investigators in Arizona must be licensed – and licenses can only be issued to individuals with at least three years of full-time investigative work experience. That requirement can be met with work for a private investigation firm or a federal, state or local government or law enforcement agency. Many retired police detectives become licensed private investigators in Arizona.

Step 1. Meet Application Requirements in Arizona

Applicants for a private investigator license in Arizona must meet these basic requirements:

  • At least 18 years old
  • U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • No felony convictions
  • Not under indictment for a felony
  • No registered sex offenders
  • Not on parole or probation
  • No misdemeanor convictions in the last five years for violent acts, fraud, theft, domestic violence, sexual misconduct or narcotics violations. This holds true even if the conviction was set aside.
  • Never convicted of attempting to act as a PI without a license

Step 2. Education and Training for a Career as an Arizona Private Investigator

It is recommended that individuals interested in a private investigator license in Arizona acquire an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related subject. Many top private detective agencies prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree or even a law degree. There are more than 35 schools in Arizona, as well as numerous online schools, that have criminal justice programs. There are also colleges and private institutions that offer certificates in private investigation.

The Arizona Association of Licensed Private Investigators (AALPI) is dedicated to bringing professionalism to the investigative industry. They provide an opportunity for networking and present educational programs on topics such as utilizing the latest computer technologies. In addition, the AALPI lobbies against laws that attempt to limit access to public records or impose regulations detrimental to investigative work.

Step 3. Experience and Apprenticeships in Arizona

Obtain documentation of at least three years full-time investigative work experience from a former employer.

Persons without this experience must first get a job as an apprentice with a licensed private investigation agency and then apply for a Private Investigator Employee Registration Certificate under the sponsorship of that agency.

Applicants must be 18 years old, citizens or legal residents of the U.S., and have no criminal record.

Applications must be accompanied with documentation of employment and $73 ($50 application fee plus $22 for the required fingerprinting). The DPS does a criminal background check before issuing the employee certificate. It is illegal to work for a PI agency without this certificate.

Step 4. Submit Application and get Fingerprinting in Arizona

A license application form can be downloaded at the Department of Public Safety website; Adobe Acrobat Reader software is needed. Or request an application form from the DPS, 2102 W. Encanto Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85009-2347; telephone: 602-223-2361.  Mailing address is P.O. Box 6328, Phoenix, AZ 85005-6328.

If the applicant’s fingerprints are not already on file, he/she must be fingerprinted. The standard fee is $22.

The application form, employer documentation and required fees can be mailed to the above address or hand-carried to the Phoenix DPS office at 2102 Encanto Blvd. The licensing window is in Suite 130. Application packages, including fees, should be placed in the brown envelopes provided at the window.

The following fees need to be included in the application package:

  • One-time Application fee $250
  • License fee $400 (renewal $250)

Step 5. Now that You’re a Private Investigator in Arizona

Computer proficiency is a must for the job which also entails interviewing, conducting surveillances and writing detailed reports. The work done by a PI is extremely varied and can include such things as celebrity protection, background checks, and cases involving computer crime, harassment, child custody, insurance fraud, missing persons or copyright infringement.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for private detectives is better than average, especially for computer forensics investigation specialists.

The annual mean wage for PIs in Arizona is $52, 360 – slightly higher in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

In 2012, 210 private investigators were employed in Arizona, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Their median annual salary was $49,450, while those in the top 10% percent of their field made an average of $78,300 a year.  Private investigators in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale area averaged almost exactly the same salary-level as those throughout the state.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Arizona

According to 2011 salary data from Arizona’s Workforce Department, salaries increased nearly 18% between 2011 and 2012 for the top earning private investigators in the state.  The median wage increased by slightly over one percent.

The Workforce Department projected employment in this field to increase nearly 2.5% in the two year period from 2011 to 2013.  Sixty percent of this job growth was projected to be due to people leaving the work force.

To become a private investigator in Arizona requires a license from the Licensing Unit of the state’s Department of Public Safety. Anyone doing private investigatory work in Arizona must be licensed, including investigators from other states temporarily doing work in the state.

Arizona requires employees of detective agencies to get a registration certificate.  If an investigator works for multiple employers, a separate certificate is required for each employer.

Agency licenses are issued to the individual in charge.  This is even true for businesses that are set up as sole proprietorships.  This type of license has more requirements: applicants must have three years of experience working full-time as a private investigator.

Private investigators in Arizona are represented by the Arizona Association of Licensed Private Investigators (AALPI).  This organization helps to insure that only properly license PIs are working in Arizona.  It also helps to fight burdensome legislation that could be damaging to the profession.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides 2012 information on salaries for private investigators for selected cities in most states.  In Arizona, the BLS only presents the salary data for the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale area as shown here.

Private Investigator Salaries in Arizona

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale AZ
200
52700

 


 

Arkansas

Private investigators in Arkansas take on a wide variety of jobs, including:

  • Reconstructing accident scenes or investigating suspicious claims for insurance companies Seeking evidence to bolster a defendant’s case for defense attorneys
  • Looking into possibly fraudulent claims for disability or other benefits for government agencies
  • Seeking missing persons or cheating spouses for individuals

All private investigators in Arkansas must have a valid license issued by the Arkansas State Police Regulating Services Division. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to do the work of a private investigator in Arkansas without a license.

Step 1. Meet Requirements for Applying for a License in Arkansas

In addition to two years work experience alongside a licensed PI and passing the state board exam, applicants must meet the following additional requirements:

  • U.S. Citizen or legal resident
  • No felony or Class A misdemeanor convictions
  • No history of violent or immoral behavior
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • Be fingerprinted

Step 2. Work Alongside an Arkansas Licensed PI for Two Years

Any person interested in applying for a PI license must first spend a minimum of two years working for a licensed private detective. The employer’s license can be from Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma or Louisiana because Arkansas has a reciprocal PI licensing agreement with these three other states.

Step 3. Be Prepared to Take the PI Examination in Arkansas

Although there is no education requirement for becoming a licensed PI, a great deal of knowledge is needed to pass the examination requirement. It is recommended that prospective investigator’s earn an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. A degree is also an advantage when seeking an agency with which to fulfill the two-year work experience requirement. There are about 30 schools in Arkansas with criminal justice programs. Some of these schools, as well as a few private educational institutions, also offer a certificate in private investigation. The knowledge and skills needed to be a successful PI include such subject matter as:

  • Private Investigation Laws
  • How to Record Evidence
  • Surveillance Techniques
  • How to Use Computer Databases for Background Checks
  • Surveillance Methods
  • Courtroom Procedures
  • Business Management

Step 4. Take and Pass the Arkansas State Board Examination

Information about times and places for taking the private investigator examination can be obtained from the Arkansas Board of Private Investigation and Private Security Agencies, 1 State Police Plaza Drive, Little Rock, AR 72209; telephone: 501-618-8600.

The examination consists of 100 questions and a score of at least 70 percent is needed to pass. Questions cover a wide range of subjects, from sexual harassment laws to record-keeping. Results are immediately available.

Step 5.  Submit Application in Arkansas

The completed application should be submitted to the Arkansas State Police Regulatory Services Division at #1 State Police Plaza Drive, Little Rock, AR 72209. The application must be accompanied with the following documents:

  • Written confirmation of two years experience under a licensed PI
  • Passing examination score
  • Proof of legal residency (if not a citizen)
  • Check or Money Order for $450 license fee
  •  $38.50 to cover background checks and fingerprint cards

Step 6. Go to Work in Arkansas as a PI

Successful applicants are free to go to work in an established firm or set up shop on their own. Arkansas has been shown to be a good working environment for PIs. There are over 30 private detective agencies in Little Rock alone. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the job outlook for private detectives is good with an expected 21 percent increase in jobs by the year 2020. The annual mean salary for private investigators in Arkansas is $52,530.

The state of Arkansas considers the field of private investigation to be a growing industry.  Discover Arkansas projected that demand in this field will increase 13.5% between 2008 and 2018.  They also estimated that private investigator employment in the state stood at 64 in 2012.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Arkansas

According to 2012 salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for these investigators in Arkansas was $52,350.  Those who earned in the top 10th percentile averaged $59,750.

The salaries of those that live in Arkansas near Memphis are factored into the Memphis salary for PIs.  It was substantially higher than that for Arkansas as a whole, which had an average salary of $62,840 and top earners making $78,680.

Licensing is required to become a private investigator in Arkansas.  The state has tasked the Arkansas State Police with regulating private investigators.  They created the Arkansas Board of Private Investigators and Private Security Agencies.

Experience is required to obtain a license to be a private investigator. Applicants must have two consecutive years of experience working as private investigators.  They also have to pass a state board exam for PIs and undergo a thorough background check.

One way to gain experience is to work as an apprentice.  Applicants for positions at detective agencies can enhance their desirability by obtaining degrees in criminal justice.  This should also help to strengthen the analytical skills required for this type of work and help new PIs better understand the complexities of the legal system.

Once private investigators have been licensed to practice in Arkansas, they may be interested in joining the Arkansas Association of Professional Private Investigators.  Networking with fellow PIs can prove to be invaluable.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics assembles salary information from 2012 for each state and lists it for selected cities as is presented below for Arkansas.

Private Investigator Salaries in Arkansas

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Memphis TN-MS-AR
70
62840

 


 

California

The California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) licenses private investigators in the state. A PI license allows the holder to work independently or manage a private investigative firm. A person can apply for either a private investigator license or a private investigator license with firearm permit.

Step 1. Acquire Stipulated Experience/Education in California

The following experience, training and education is required in order to become a private investigator in California:

  • A total of 6,000 hours of paid, investigative work over a period of three years (2,000 hours a year); OR
  • A total of 5,000 hours of paid, investigative work over a period of two-and-a-half years with an Associate’s degree in criminal justice, law or police science; OR
  • A total of 4,000 hours of paid, investigative work over a period of two years with a bachelor’s degree in law or police science.
  • Applicants for a PI license with firearm permit must also pass an eight-hour “Power to Arrest” course and a 14-hour course on carrying and using firearms (eight classroom and six range hours).

Acceptable investigative work includes: sworn law enforcement officer, military police officer, or doing investigative work under a licensed PI, attorney, repossession firm, insurance agency or arson investigation unit.

Unacceptable work includes: process server, public records researcher or debt collector.

California’s private investigators also have the option of pursuing firearms, baton and tear gas training through agencies approved by the California Bureau of Safety and Investigative Services.

Step 2. Get Fingerprinted in California

It is necessary to fill out a Live Scan Fingerprint Application. There is a separate Live Scan Fingerprint application form for persons who are also applying for a weapons permit. In California, it is mandatory to take care of the fingerprint requirement at one of these centers but there are a multitude of them in all counties. The city of Los Angeles alone has approximately 70 centers and there are over 35 of them within the San Diego city limits. The forms are not available online; however, you can find the Attorney General’s list of Live Scan Centers.

The standard fee is $51 for private investigator and $89 for private investigator with firearms permit. Some centers add a small, local fee. The BSIS uses the fingerprints to do a criminal background check. Applicants need to retain the receipt for inclusion in the application packet.

Step 3. Obtain, Complete and Submit California’s Application Packet

Applications for a private investigator license are only accepted from U.S. citizens or legal residents who are over the age of 18.

Along with your application packet, the following documents must be included:

  • Application Form
  • Personal Identification Form
  • Certificate in Support of Experience
  • Authorization of Business Name (if applicable)
  • Two Passport-Type Photos (2”X 1-1/2”)
  • Firearms Qualification and Firearms Permit Application (if applicable)
  • Live Scan Receipt
  • Check or Money Order for $50 ($130 if requesting firearms permit)

Entire packet should be mailed to BSIS, P.O. Box 989002, West Sacramento, CA 95798-9002. They can be called at 916-322-4000.

Step 4. Take and Pass California Private Investigator Examination

Persons whose applications are approved will receive an examination packet from Psychological Services Industries containing a candidate handbook, study materials and a number to call to schedule the examination.

Tests are given Monday through Saturday at any of 10 California locations. The two-hour, multiple-choice test covers such topics as terminology, laws/regulations, civil/criminal liability, evidence handling, surveillance, etc.

Candidates will be notified if they pass the examination at which time they must submit the $175 fee to receive the license.

Step 5. Begin Working as a Licensed Private Investigator in California

Private investigators in California perform many important functions including:

  • Investigating Crimes
  • Investigating People (their occupations, character, marital status, etc.)
  • Investigating causes of accidents, fires, injuries or losses
  • Locating lost or stolen property
  • Securing evidence for use in court

Private investigators in California may protect individuals if relevant to the investigation but they may not protect property. PIs who carry a firearm must have a minimum of $1 million in liability insurance ($500,000 for a loss due to injury or death and $500,000 for losses due to the destruction of property).

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, PIs in California earn an annual mean salary of $58,970. The annual mean salaries in specific metropolitan areas are:

  • Sacramento:  $50,900
  • Los Angeles:  $63,310
  • Oakland:  $66,820
  • San Diego:  $72,870
  • San Francisco:  $74,470-$79,900
  • San Jose:  $80,870


Private Investigator Salary Information for California

More than 2,900 private investigators were employed in California in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Their average salary was $58,970, with those in the 90th percentile earning $92,340.

The average salary and the salaries for top earning private investigators in California are shown below:

California City
Average Annual Salary
Los Angeles
$63310
Oakland
$66820
Sacramento
$50900
San Diego
$72870
San Francisco
$79900
San Jose
$80870

The Los Angeles area had the third highest level of employment of PIs of any metropolitan area in the country with 800 working as of 2012.  The following cities have the highest paying salaries of any metropolitan area in the country:

  • San Jose – First
  • San Francisco – Second
  • San Diego – Third
  • Oakland – Seventh

According to California’s Employment Development Corporation, the demand for private investigators is projected to increase by 400 positions between 2010 and 2020—a 14.8% increase in the employment level.

The state of California requires that the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) license private investigators. BSIS is part of the California Department of Consumer Affairs.  The process of obtaining this license includes taking a two-hour exam and undergoing background checks through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the California Department of Justice (DOJ).

Three years of experience working as an investigator is also required for licensure in California.  An associate’s degree in criminal justice, criminal law, or police science will substitute for half a year of the required experience.  A law degree or a bachelor’s degree in police science will substitute for one year of experience.

Information on employment levels and wages in 2012 in various cities in California is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  These statistics are shown below.

Private Investigator Salaries in California

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale CA Metropolitan Division
800
63310
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward CA Metropolitan Division
130
66820
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA
120
62990
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville CA
130
50900
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA
130
72870
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont CA
320
74470
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City CA Metropolitan Division
190
79900
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA
90
80870

 


 

Colorado

In Colorado, private investigator (PI) licensing falls within the jurisdiction of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) Office of Private Investigator Licensure. In addition to issuing licenses, the Office of Private Investigator Licensure also investigates consumer complaints and enforces regulations with fines for misconduct.

In 1877 Colorado became the first state in the nation to institute licensing requirements for private investigators. However, that requirement was declared unconstitutional 100 years later in 1977 because there was no adequate legal definition for “private investigators” at that time. The Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado worked hard to reinstate licensing and, under their sponsorship, the Colorado legislature passed the Private Investigator Voluntary Licensure Act of 2011.

Effective June 1, 2015, Colorado went on to implement a law making licensing mandatory for anybody working as a private investigator in the state.

Step 1. Gain the Necessary Education and Experience

Anyone hoping to pursue a career in private investigations would be smart to earn a degree in a field like criminal justice for a better understanding of the investigative process in the context of US law.

Colorado licenses private investigators at two successive levels, each of which has different requirements:

Level 1 Private Investigator License:

  • At least 21 years old
  • US citizen or legal resident of the US
  • Pass the Colorado Jurisprudence Exam to demonstrate knowledge of ethical conduct and rules/regulations concerning the practice of private investigations

Level 2 Private Investigator License:

  • Satisfy all of the above mentioned requirements for Level 1 Private Investigator licensing
  • Have a minimum of 4,000 hours of investigative work experience as a PI or with a local, state or federal law enforcement agency
  • The director of the Colorado Office of Private Investigator Licensure may also stipulate some college education as stated in Colorado Revised Statute 12-58.5-106

Many of those interested in becoming private investigators are former police detectives and military police officers who easily meet the experience requirement.

In addition to the experience/education prerequisites described above, all license applicants (both Level 1 and Level 2) must submit to fingerprinting for the purpose of a Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and FBI background check and submit a $330 application fee.

Instructions on fingerprinting for the purpose of a background check can be found here. CBI will submit the findings of your background check directly to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies Office of Private Investigator Licensure.

Step 2. Pass the Colorado Jurisprudence Exam and Apply for a PI License

As a Level 1 or Level 2 private investigator license applicant, you are required to take and pass the Colorado Private Investigator Jurisprudence Examination online.

Exam preparation materials and instructions for taking the exam are available here.

Applicants that do not pass the exam on their first attempt must wait five (5) days before taking it again.

Upon passing the exam, applicants will be issued a Passing Results Report, which must be signed and submitted along with the online license application.

All applicants must apply for licensure using the Online Licensing Portal.

As part of the licensing process, all applicants must either currently hold or agree to post a surety bond of at least $10,000.

The affidavit of surety bond for private investigator licensure can be found here.

When submitting an online application, PI licensure applicants must also include:

  • Passing Results Report for the Jurisprudence Exam
  • Surety affidavit
  • $330 license application fee

Step 3. Begin Working as a Private Investigator in Colorado

A licensed PI can go to work for an established firm or go into business alone. Persons who decide to go into business for themselves need to choose a name for their business, develop an appealing website and think about ways to market their business to a target audience. Many new PIs find it works better to specialize in a certain type of service, such as skip tracing, public records searches, accident reconstructions or insurance investigations.

Legal investigations and computer forensics are two high-demand specialties. Legal investigators assist attorneys in preparing cases for litigation by seeking out facts, such as who bears the responsibility in a personal injury case. Some education in law is a definite plus when specializing in legal investigations. Computer forensics specialists find legal evidence in computers and digital storage media. Computer forensics evidence is being  used more and more frequently in both criminal and civil court cases.

Private Investigator Salaries in Colorado

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2012 salary report, the average annual salary for private detectives in the state of Colorado was $48,500. The average salary for that year is shown here for key metro areas in Colorado:

  • Fort Collins:  $34,620
  • Colorado Springs:  $48,080
  • Denver:  $66,610

Private investigators that establish independent PI firms have the potential to earn much more than this.

Step 4. Keep your PI License Current

In Colorado, private investigator licenses must be renewed on May 31st of each year. If a license is issued within 120 days of the upcoming renewal date (May 31st), the licensee will not be required to be renewed untill May 31st the following year.

Online license renewal forms can be found here.

Private Investigator Professional Organizations in Colorado

The Professional Private Investigators Association of Colorado (PPIAC) has regular meetings and an annual conference. It offers an excellent opportunity for networking with other investigators, keeping up with what is new in the field, and continuing to learn via workshops and seminars.

The Colorado Society of Private Investigators is a Denver-based organization dedicated to ethics, education and professional standards in the profession. Their regular meetings in Denver usually feature an educational speaker. Information is available at 303-296-2200.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Colorado

According to 2012 salary date from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 320 private investigators in Colorado averaged $48,500 a year with top earners in the 90th percentile making $89,130 annually.

The average wages of private investigators in selected Colorado cities is listed below, followed by the average salary of those in the top ten percent as of 2012:

Colorado City
Average Annual Salary
Colorado Springs
$48080
Denver
$66610
Fort Collins
$34620

The average salary for Denver’s private investigators is the eighth highest of any average metropolitan salary for PIs in the county.

A license is not required to work as a private investigator in Colorado, but these professionals can volunteer to be licensed.  Having this license adds additional credibility to a PI in Colorado.

Licenses can be obtained from the Division of Professions and Occupations of the state’s Department of Regulatory Agencies.  A fingerprint background check is required to obtain such a license.

Once private investigators have been licensed and started working, they have a variety of potential clients.  Some PIs work for insurance companies determining whether people getting workman’s compensation are truly injured.  Others work with defense attorneys to gather as much information about the client and the case as they can.

Many PIs work for individuals.  In some cases, they determine whether or not potential investors are trustworthy, while in others they may ascertain the fidelity of spouses or loved ones.

Although Colorado does not have any educational requirements to become a PI, obtaining a degree such as one in criminal justice can help strengthen the analytical and critical thinking skills of potential PIs.

Detailed information about the employment levels and hourly and annual wages of private investigators in different Colorado cities is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  This information is provided below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Colorado

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Colorado Springs CO
30
48080
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield CO
110
66610
Fort Collins-Loveland CO
Estimate not released
34620

 


 

Connecticut

The Special Licensing and Firearms Unit of the Connecticut State Police handles the licensing of private detectives in Connecticut. They regulate the qualifications and eligibility of interested individuals who wish to become private investigators in the state. These include relevant training and experience, as well as financial resources.

Step 1. Meet Fundamental Requirements for Private Detectives in Connecticut

Before applying to become a private detective in the state of Connecticut, make sure that you meet these fundamental requirements:

  • You are at least 25 years old
  • You are of good moral character
  • You have a minimum of five years of experience as a full-time investigator, or ten years of experience as a state or municipal police  officer (employment as a security officer does not count towards investigative experience required to become a private detective)
  • You have no felony convictions on record
  • You have no misdemeanor convictions in the past seven years of  the following types:
    • Illegal possession of narcotics
    • Criminally negligent homicide (Class A misdemeanor)
    •  Assault in the third degree (Class A misdemeanor)
    • Threatening in the second degree (Class A misdemeanor)
    • Reckless endangerment in the first degree (Class A misdemeanor)
    • Unlawful restraint in the second degree (Class A misdemeanor
    • Riot in the first degree (Class A misdemeanor)
    • Riot in the second degree (Class B misdemeanor)
    • Inciting to riot (Class A misdemeanor)
    • Stalking in the second degree
  • You have no convictions for offenses involving moral turpitude
  • You have never been discharged from the military because of questionable moral character
  • You are able to post a $10,000 performance surety bond with the state
  • You are able to obtain a $300,000 General Liability Insurance policy

Step 2. Fulfill Education and Experience Prerequisites for Private Detectives in Connecticut

Training in private detective work or a related discipline may count towards up to one year of the state’s experience requirements for licensure as a private detective.

Obtaining a degree such as these may be quite helpful to you as an applicant for a private detective license in Connecticut:

  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Justice Studies- Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice- Homeland Security Technology

Any of the following full-time work experiences may count towards the experience requirement for licensure of private detectives in Connecticut:

  • Five years as a licensed private detective in another jurisdiction
  • Five years as a registered private investigator in another jurisdiction
  • Five years operating a proprietary detective agency
  • Five years as an investigator with local, state or federal government
  • Five years as a detective with local, state or federal police department
  • Five years investigative experience in another recognized industry
  • 10 years as a police officer with a municipal, state or federal police department

You are not permitted to currently be a police officer when you apply to become a private detective in Connecticut.

Step 3. Submit Connecticut Private Detective License Application and Required Documentation

If you have fulfilled the above requirements, you are ready to apply for licensure as a private detective in Connecticut.

  1. Download and complete the Application for Private Detective or Security Service License, and have your signature notarized
  2. Attach two recent passport-type photos of yourself on a blue background
  3. Complete and enclose two fingerprint cards, one for the state background check and one for the FBI background check
  4. Enclose one check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut for $50 (state background check fee)
  5. Enclose one check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut for $16.50 (FBI background check fee)
  6. Enclose one check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut for $1450.00 (initial two year license fee)
  7. If you are seeking a license for a private detective agency, enclose a check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut for $1750.00 (initial two year license fee)
  8. Enclose a copy of your driving record from the motor vehicle department of  the state in which you have lived for the past three years
  9. Enclose a copy of your current driver’s license
  10. Enclose a copy of your military discharge papers, if applicable
  11. Enclose a copy of your recent credit report from one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian or Trans Union)
  12. Enclose a copy of your high school diploma or GED
  13. Enclose a copy of your college degree and college transcript, if applicable
  14. Include proof of citizenship or legal residency in the U.S.
  15. Include verification of your investigative, detective or police officer experience. This verification must be from the agency for which you worked and include your name, any licenses you held or still hold, your title, duties, and reasons for leaving employment
  16. If you are under psychiatric care, you must have your attending psychologist or psychiatrist send a letter to the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit to verify your ability to work as a private detective
  17. If you are a former police officer, have your former employer send a letter confirming your discharge from police service to the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit. This letter must include your length of service there, the titles you held, your duties, and the date you left their employ.
  18. Within 60 days of submitting your application, ask four people who know you well and can attest to your character, but are not immediate family members, to write you letters of character reference. These must be sent from the letter writers directly to the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit, and must include the reference’s address and telephone number. Enclose four letters of character reference.
  19. If you plan to open your own private detective agency and seek a corporate license, send a copy of the Certificate of Incorporation from the Connecticut Secretary of State. If your company is out-of-state, send a copy of the Authority to do Business as a Foreign Corporation from the Connecticut Secretary of State.
  20. Make sure everything is sent within 60 days of submitting your application to Connecticut State Police, Special Licensing and Firearms Unit, 1111 Country Club Road, Middletown, CT 06457.

You will be contacted for an oral interview once your complete application packet and documentation are received and reviewed. Prior to licensure, you must obtain a $300,000 General Liability insurance policy. You will also be asked to submit the executed Bond for Private Detective License for $10,000. Once you are issued a private detective/private detective agency license, your name will be published on the Connecticut list of Licensed Private Detectives and Security Companies.

Step 4. Now that You’re a Licensed Private Detective in Connecticut

Kudos to you on earning your private detective license in Connecticut! Make sure to maintain that license properly, by renewing it every two years. You will receive a renewal application in the mail from the Special Licensing and Firearms Unit 90 days prior to the expiration of your license. At each renewal, you must submit:

  1. Completed Renewal Application for License as a Private Detective/Security Company
  2. Renewal fee of $625 via check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut (for private detective license)
  3. If you own a corporation, association or partnership, renewal fee for private detective agency of $1000 via check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Connecticut.
  4. Completed Form DPS-363-C, Verification of Performance Bond
  5. A list of all registered employees if you own a private detective agency

Consider joining one of the following private detective professional organizations in Connecticut and nationwide to increase your networking opportunities:


Private Investigator Salary Information for Connecticut

Connecticut had the fourth highest concentration of jobs for private investigators in the county in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  These 620 investigators earned a median salary of $36,530.  Some made nearly double that amount with those in the top tenth wage percentile earning $70,420 in 2012.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary data for selected cities in Connecticut.  The information on the median salary and the salaries of those in the top tenth percentile are listed below for selected cities in the state:

Connecticut City
Average Annual Salary
Hartford
$32270
New Haven
$41950
Norwich
$36750

New Haven is an excellent place to find work in Connecticut, since it has the third highest concentration of jobs for private investigators of any metropolitan area in the county.  Twenty-four percent of the PIs in Connecticut were located in New Haven in 2012.

There are stringent requirements to become a private investigator in Connecticut.  Applicants are required to be at least 25 years old and have five years of full time experience in one of the following:

  • Being a registered private investigator
  • Operating a detective agency
  • Being an investigator with a law enforcement agency
  • Being a detective with a law enforcement agency
  • Any other related investigative experience

Applicants can also apply if they have had ten years of experience as a police officer.  Education can substitute for up to a year of these requirements.  Another requirement is to have insurance in the form of both:

  • A performance surety bond for $10,000
  • A general liability insurance policy for $300,000

Licenses are obtained from the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection for the state of Connecticut.

Detailed information on hourly and annual salaries for private investigators in various cities in Connecticut is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and listed below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Connecticut

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford CT
Estimate not released
38120
New Haven CT
150
42700
Norwich-New London CT-RI
Estimate not released
44880
Worcester MA-CT
100
53010

 


 

Delaware

Private investigators in Delaware must be licensed through the Delaware State Police Professional Licensing section. They may perform varied investigative duties statewide, from tracking down cheating spouses in New Castle County to investigating workers compensation and insurance fraud in Kent and Sussex Counties. Meeting experience requirements is also necessary if you plan to open a private investigative agency in Delaware.

Step 1. Meet General Criteria for Licensure as a Private Investigator in Delaware

Consult this checklist to make sure you meet the general criteria for licensing as a private investigator in Delaware before applying:

  • You are at least 21 years old
  • You have a firm offer of employment or have been hired by a licensed private investigative agency
  • You have never been convicted of a felony
  • You have never been convicted of a misdemeanor that involved drug offenses, moral turpitude or theft
  • You have not Assault III convictions in the past three years
  • If you plan to carry a firearm in your work as a private investigator, you complete the necessary training through an approved firearms instructor and apply for a firearms permit

Step 2. Satisfy Training and Experiential Qualifications for Licensed Private Investigators in Delaware

Training

No formal training or education is required of those seeking licensure as a private investigator in Delaware, with the exception of those seeking a firearms permit. This requires completion of a 40-hour Firearms Qualification course by a Delaware State Police-approved instructor. A list of such instructors may be found here. Re-qualification of at least three shoots per year, with 90 days between each shoot, is required annually in order to keep firearms qualification in Delaware.

Education in a criminal justice or related field can be very helpful to those seeking private investigator licensure in Delaware. To increase your chances of success on the job, it is recommended that you pursue a certificate, diploma or degree such as one of the following:

  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Services/Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Experience

While no experience is required in order to become a licensed private investigator in Delaware, you must be hired by or have a firm offer of employment from a licensed Delaware private investigative agency. If you plan to become licensed to open a private investigative agency in Delaware, you must have five years of investigative experience, five years of police officer experience, or have graduated from a certified law enforcement academy.

Step 3. Submit Licensing Application(s) and Supporting Documentation to the Delaware State Police

When you are ready to apply for private investigator licensure in Delaware, you might also want to apply for your firearms permit and, if you are opening your own agency, private investigative agency licensure. This section will give you the basics for all applications.

Private Investigator Licensure

  1. Complete the Private Investigative and Private Security Employee application. Make sure to check the appropriate boxes for New Application and Private Investigator at the top of the form.
  2. Pay the $69 processing fee in cash or by credit card (in person only) or via certified check, company check or money order payable to the State of Delaware. (Upon licensure and receiving your identification card, an additional fee of $20 will be due).
  3. Go to one of the following locations to submit your application and have your fingerprints and photographs taken:
    1. SBI/Professional Licensing, Blue Hen Corporation Center, Dover (walk in-basis from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday)
    2. SBI/Professional Licensing, Delaware State Police Troop 2, Route 40, Newark, DE (by appointment only – call (302) 739-2528 to schedule)
  4. You will be informed if additional documentation is required. If so, it must be submitted within 30 days of submitting your application, or the application will be void.
  5. When your ID card is ready, the SBI will call you to pick it up at one of the above locations, at which time you must submit a $20 fee.

Firearms Permit

If you are also applying for a firearms permit, check the appropriate box on the Private Investigative Employee Application above.  You must also submit a copy of the certificate of completion of the 40-hour firearms course you completed.  If additional documentation is requested, the SBI will notify you.

Private Investigative Agency Licensure

Review the Private Investigative and Private Security Agency Licensing Procedures first. Determine which class your agency falls into:

  • Class A- Private Investigative Agency – in-state or out-of-state
  • Class C-Private Investigative & Private Security Agency– in-state or out-of-state
  1. Complete the Private Investigative Agency or Private Investigative and Private Security Agency application, checking the correct boxes (Class A or Class C) at the top.
    1. Include the proper licensing fees via company or cashier’s check payable to the Delaware State Police:
      1. $230 if you qualify as a Class A in-state or out of state agency and have no employees
      2. $345 if you qualify as a Class A in state or out of state agency and have employees and partners/corporate officers
      3. $520 if you qualify as a Class C in state or out of state agency
  2. Also complete the License Holder/Delaware Manager application
    1. Include the proper licensing fees for this application, via company or cashier’s check payable to the Delaware State Police:
      1. $69 if you qualify as a Class A in-state agency
      2. $230 plus $69 if you qualify as a Class A out-of-state agency
      3. $69 if you qualify as a Class C in-state agency
      4. $345 plus $69 if you qualify as a Class C out-of-state agency
  3. Obtain a surety bond from a Delaware-authorized surety company, payable to the State of Delaware. Use the Private Investigative & Private Security Agency Bond Form. Amounts are as follows:
    1. Class A in-state: $5000 if no employees or $10,000 if employees, with the bond in the name of the agency
    2. Class A out of state: $10,000 in the name of the agency and $5000 in the name of the Delaware manager
    3. Class C in state: $15,000 in the name of the agency
    4. Class C out-of-state: $15,000 in the name of the agency and $10,000 in the name of the Delaware manager
  4. Obtain a one million dollar per occurrence liability insurance policy. The agency should use this address for the Certificate Holder: Delaware State Police, Professional Licensing, P.O. Box 430, Dover, DE 19903
  5. The license holder (and Delaware manager, if applicable) must each submit five letters of reference attesting to good character and five letters of investigative experience or law enforcement.
  6. Other owners, corporate officers or partners must each complete the Owner/Partner/Corporate Officer application
  7. Two sets each of fingerprints must be done on the license holder, Delaware manager and any corporate officers, partners, or officers in person at one of the SBI locations listed above.
  8. When all application materials above have been completed, contact the Licensing Specialist at (302) 672-5304 to make an appointment to submit your application.

Step 4. Now that You’re a Licensed Private Investigator in Delaware

Congratulations! You now hold a license as a private investigator in Delaware! You will be notified by mail when it is time to renew your individual license and/or private investigative agency license, on an annual basis. The fees, application forms, instructions for insurance, surety bonds, and fingerprints will all be included in the renewal packet.

No continuing education is required, except if you have a firearms permit. You must re-qualify through at least three shoots per year, with 90 days between each shoot in order to keep your firearms qualification current in Delaware.

Thirty private investigators were employed in Delaware in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Their salaries varied widely.  The annual median salary in 2012 was $36,530, while those in the highest income bracket averaged $70,420 that year.

A license from the Delaware State Police is required to become a PI in the state, although no specific training is required.  There are a number of types of arrests that can disqualify a potential candidate and law enforcement agents are not permitted to become private investigators in Delaware.

Applicants must have been hired by a licensed agency before they can apply for their license.  Licensed PIs are only allowed to work for one private detective agency at a time.

The work that private investigators do can vary greatly.  Many specialize in financial matters.  This can include investigating potential investors to ensure that they do not have a history of malfeasance or investigating the financial situation of the elderly to make sure that elder abuse is not taking place.

Other private investigators work for insurance companies investigating workers’ claim compensations.  It is quite common for insurance companies to double check that the people getting this form of insurance are tangibly injured and not committing fraud.

Surveillance on potential cheating spouses is another line of work for private investigators, while many people have a potential mate investigated before they legally commit to a relationship.

Other types of work for PIs including consulting with defense attorneys to find out as much information as they can about the defendant’s case to help prepare the defense.  Some PIs specialize in reviewing crime scene analyses to ensure that any evidence against their client has been processed properly.

Private investigators who have their own detective agency in Delaware may want to join the Delaware Association of Detective Agencies.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Delaware

Thirty private investigators were employed in Delaware in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Their salaries varied widely.  The annual median salary in 2012 was $36,530, while those in the highest income bracket averaged $70,420 that year.

A license from the Delaware State Police is required to become a PI in the state, although no specific training is required.  There are a number of types of arrests that can disqualify a potential candidate and law enforcement agents are not permitted to become private investigators in Delaware.

Applicants must have been hired by a licensed agency before they can apply for their license.  Licensed PIs are only allowed to work for one private detective agency at a time.

The work that private investigators do can vary greatly.  Many specialize in financial matters.  This can include investigating potential investors to ensure that they do not have a history of malfeasance or investigating the financial situation of the elderly to make sure that elder abuse is not taking place.

Other private investigators work for insurance companies investigating workers’ claim compensations.  It is quite common for insurance companies to double check that the people getting this form of insurance are tangibly injured and not committing fraud.

Surveillance on potential cheating spouses is another line of work for private investigators, while many people have a potential mate investigated before they legally commit to a relationship.

Other types of work for PIs including consulting with defense attorneys to find out as much information as they can about the defendant’s case to help prepare the defense.  Some PIs specialize in reviewing crime scene analyses to ensure that any evidence against their client has been processed properly.

Private investigators who have their own detective agency in Delaware may want to join the Delaware Association of Detective Agencies.

 


 

District of Columbia

Under the Municipal Regulations of the District of Columbia, a license is needed in order to work as a private investigator or, as called in the regulations, a “private detective.” Licensed private detectives Washington, DC are permitted by law to discover, detect and/or reveal crime or criminals; secure information for evidence related to criminals and/or crime; and determine the whereabouts, identity, actions or character of any thing or person.

Step 1. Meet Preliminary Requirements for Licensure as a Private Detective in Washington, DC

Prior to applying to become a private detective in the District of Columbia, you must meet some preliminary requirements.  These are listed under Chapter 17-20 of the District of Columbia Municipal code, and include:

  • Attaining the age of 18 or older
  • Residing in the District of Columbia
  • Pass an FBI criminal background check and criminal history review
  • Have the financial ability to file and keep in force a license bond of at least $5000
  • Have no felony convictions on your record
  • Have a firm offer of employment from a licensed private detective agency in the District of Columbia

Having a private detective license in the District of Columbia does not give you the authority to carry a concealed weapon. For firearms registration, you must apply separately and meet separate requirements.

Step 2. Satisfy Educational Preferences and Training Requirements for Licensed Private Detectives in Washington, DC

The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, which is the agency responsible for licensure and regulation of private detectives in the district, does not require private detective applicants to have education or experience beyond that of a high school diploma or GED.

However, possession of a college diploma, certificate or degree in one of the following fields can often be of great help to applicants for private detective licenses in the District of Columbia:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice: Homeland Security Technology

If you wish to carry a concealed weapon as a licensed private detective in the District of Columbia, no permit is required. However, all firearms must be registered with the Metropolitan Police Department. This involves taking an online Firearms Safety Training Course, which covers these topics:

  • Safe transport of firearms
  • Safe firearm storage
  • Firearm cleaning and maintenance
  • Safety checks
  • Restricting access to firearms
  • Cardinal rules of firearm safety
  • Revolvers and semi-automatic pistols

Step 3. Submit Washington, DC Licensing Application(s) and Supporting Documentation to the Metropolitan Police Department

Once you have met the qualifications, you are ready to apply for licensure as a private detective in the District of Columbia.  Firearms registration may be accomplished after training is complete as well.

Private Detective License

Call the Security Officers Management Branch of the Metropolitan Police Department at (202) 671-0500 to obtain an application form and other necessary forms to apply for private detective licensure in the District of Columbia. They will ask you to obtain a completed application that you will get from your employer, signed by the employer or another authorized company representative stating that you are employed/have an employment offer with them. You must bring this completed application and your driver’s license or other picture identification card with you to the Security Officers Management Branch (SOMB) for initial screening. They are located at 2000 14th Street, NW, 3rd Floor. Other items that you must bring with you include:

  • Notarized affidavit form (will be issued to you by SOMB) that lists your past employment, residences and arrest history
  • Copies of the final court disposition for any charges on your arrest record
  • License fee of $206 payable via cashier’s check, certified check or money order to the D.C. treasurer
  • Two recent color photos, passport-sized
  • Copy of your birth certificate from the Vital Statistics Office of your birth state
  • Copies of any documents indicating name changes (such as marriage certificates, divorce decrees and adoption papers)
  • Copy of your separation from the military, if applicable

Once you are at the SOMB, they will schedule your fingerprinting for the Metropolitan Police Department and FBI criminal background checks that will be performed. The background check will take up to two weeks to complete. If you pass, you will be issued a license and identification card as a Private Detective in the District of Columbia.

Firearms Registration

Although you need no permit to carry a concealed weapon as a licensed private detective in the District of Columbia, you must register all firearms you possess. This process is as follows:

  • Complete the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Application for Firearms Registration Certificate (form PD-219).
  • Once the form is completed, bring it to the Firearms Registration Section of the MPD at 300 Indiana Avenue, NW, 2nd Floor, along with:
    • The unloaded firearm, if you already own it (if you are buying the firearm, you will not have it yet, as the D.C. dealer is not authorized to sell it to you until you complete the registration process)
    • Proof of D.C. residency
    • Proof that you have completed the training requirement, such as:
      • Certificate of completion for the online Firearms Safety Training Course
      • Certificate showing you received firearms training in the military
      • A firearms license from another state that requires firearms training
      • Other evidence that you have completed a firearms training or safety course
  • You will be asked to certify, with your signature, that you are not legally blind
  • You must then pass, with at least a 70 percent correct score, a multiple-choice exam based on the firearms laws and regulations of the District of Columbia. You will be allowed to refer to a study guide on the laws and regulations during the test.
  • Pay the appropriate fees of $48 (includes fingerprinting/FBI background check fee of $35 and application fee of $13) via cash or money order payable to the DC Treasurer.
  • Be fingerprinted for a background check

When your firearms registration is approved in one to five business days, you will be notified by phone. You can request to have your firearms registration certificate mailed to you or pick it up at the FRS office.

Step 4. Now that You’re a Licensed Private Detective in Washington, DC

Congratulations! You are now a licensed private detective in the District of Columbia! Your license is valid for one year, beginning on November 1 of the year it is issued, and continuing until October 31 of the following year.

You will receive renewal information by mail from the SOMB at least one month before your license is set to expire. The renewal fee is $206.


Private Investigator Salary Information for The District of Columbia

The District of Columbia is an excellent place to become a private investigator.  As of 2012, Washington, D.C. had the highest level of employment of private investigators in the country.  Over 1,000 PIs were employed in this city in 2012.  Their annual median salary was $58,500 with those in the top income bracket earning an average of $86,800.

D.C.’s Department of Employment Services included private investigators in its list of top 40 fastest growing occupations with growth over one hundred jobs in the period from 2001 to 2012.  They had a projected job growth rate for private investigators of 3.74%.  Projections for the period from 2008 to 2018 predict an increase of 535 jobs, giving a growth rate of 2.67%.

Washington D.C. requires private investigators in the district to be licensed by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.  Applicants must be a resident of D.C. and will have to provide their fingerprints to undergo a background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  They must not have any felony convictions on their record and will have to obtain insurance coverage in the form of a surety bond.

PIs who wish to be armed in DC must meet the stringent requirements of the district’s police department.  There are also specific regulations on the types of firearms that individuals can possess in DC.  For instance, magazines that hold over ten rounds of ammunition are prohibited.  Firearms must be unloaded when they are being transported in a vehicle.

Private investigators perform a myriad of functions.  Some specialize in surveillance—investigating individuals on workman’s compensation to make sure they are injured or investigating cases of potential infidelity by spouses.  Others work closely with defense attorneys to help them analyze their cases.  Investigating potential investors to ensure that they are reliable is another area of specialty for PIs.

2012 salary data on the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria area and its metropolitan division is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Levels of employment, annual, and hourly wages are shown in the table below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Washington, DC

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division
1080
49500
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV
1100
49600

 


 

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
Jacksonville
$43760
Miami
$52820
Orlando
$44830
Tampa
$42050

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
Employment
Annual mean wage
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach FL
Estimate not released
42510
Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach FL Metropolitan Division
180
49840
Gainesville FL
50
34340
Jacksonville FL
Estimate not released
43760
Lakeland-Winter Haven FL
60
35360
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach FL
670
47460
Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall FL Metropolitan Division
190
52820
North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota FL
Estimate not released
54500
Ocala FL
Estimate not released
32820
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford FL
200
44830
Port St. Lucie FL
Estimate not released
40040
Tallahassee FL
120
34640
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater FL
360
42050
West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach FL Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
42690
Northeast Florida nonmetropolitan area
30
41110

 


 

Georgia

There are currently 513 private detective companies operating across the Peach State, employing approximately 1,513 detectives. Working in private investigator jobs in Georgia, you will find individuals and companies will seek your services to uncover everything from spousal trysts to corporate espionage. A career in this field is not for everyone, but if you’re the type of person that enjoys conducting meticulous investigations, working odd hours in at-times potentially dangerous situations, and can meld with people from a variety of backgrounds then you may wish to consider the following guide.

Step 1. Choosing your Route of Employment

There are two ways of working as a private investigator in Georgia: working for yourself or working for someone else. Working for yourself is more complicated and requires a license and years of previous experience either in law enforcement or private investigations, or a university degree, plus bigger financial burdens including:

    • $25,000 bond
    • $1 million liability insurance policy
    • Net worth of $50,000 or more

It is easier to start off in the private investigations field by registering to work under an already established company. To do this you simply need to meet the minimum requirements and your employer will register you with the Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies.

Step 2. Meeting the Basic Requirements

All private detectives working in Georgia need to be registered as an employee of a private detective business, be it as a sole proprietor, as the manager of your own company, or with another agency. It is therefore your employer (or yourself if you are the owner of the business) who registers you with the Secretary of State’s Board of Private Detective and Security Agencies.

In order to become registered you will need to meet some basic private investigator minimum requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have integrity and a good moral character
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident entitled to work in the U.S.
  • No convictions for felonies, crimes involving weapons, or crimes of moral turpitude; however considerations will be made on a case-by-case basis
  • Have not committed any acts of fraud or dishonesty

Step 3. Education Qualifications

Private Investigator School Requirements in Georgia

If you are applying for a license for your own private investigations business you will need to meet some additional requirements that can be fulfilled by having a four-year degree in Criminal Justice or a related field.

The following certificate and degree programs are available across Georgia both online and at campus-based schools:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Criminal Justice
  • Forensics
  • Psychology
  • Business

Establishing a Foundation for the Future

Even if you are just starting out as a private investigator registered with another company you will have more options and a better foundation when coming from a well-developed educational background. Demonstrating that you have acquired key skills in the field can also help your employment prospects, not to mention future career advancements into areas such as law enforcement.

Step 4. Basic Training

To work as a private detective in Georgia you will need to complete a basic training course. You have the option of completing this within six months of being hired, and the course must be from a state-approved provider and include:

  • 70 hours of classroom instruction including:
    • Industry history
    • Criminal law
    • Search and seizure
    • Crime scene investigation
    • Witness and suspect interviewing
    • Surveillance

If you choose to carry a firearm you will additionally have to take the Firearm Training Curriculum for Handguns course. You should also make sure you are familiar with the state laws and statutes regarding private investigator individuals and companies.

Step 5. Application for Employment

You will need to submit the following to your employing private detective agency so they can complete your registration form and you can begin working:

  • Fingerprints and consent for a background investigation. These are administered through Cogent Services GAPS and when completing your online application for $52.75 you will need the following:
    • ORI number: GA920240Z
    • Verification code: 920240Z
  • Proof of your private detective certification classes, if completed (must be completed within 90 days of hire)
  • Any weapons permits and certifications

Your hiring detective company must also pay a $45 registration fee, and an extra $25 fee if you are being registered as an armed detective.

Step 6. Working in Georgia

Private investigators need to complete 16 hours of continuing education through an approved agency each year. The agency with which you are registered can assist you with this and you can also consult with professional associations.

Joining a professional organization such as the Georgia Association of Professional Private Investigators (GAPPI) or the Investigative and Security Professional Association of Georgia (ISPAG) is a good way to find support and advice from colleagues, expand your networking opportunities, and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in your field. Professional organizations can also offer you tips on the process of how to become a private detective in Georgia.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Georgia

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for private investigators in Georgia was $40,580 with experienced PIs in the top ten percent of salary earners making $70,480.

The median salary for selected cities in the state are listed below, followed by the average salaries of those in the top ten percent:

Georgia City
Average Annual Salary
Atlanta
$41570
Augusta
$42820

Georgia is a good area to find employment as a private investigator, since the Atlanta area had the seventh highest level of employment of PIs in the country in 2012.  Seventy-seven percent of the state’s PIs were based in this area.

The employment levels of private investigators in Georgia are expected to increase substantially through 2020.  Statistics from the BLS indicate that there were 570 PIs employed in the state in 2012.  Georgia’s Workforce Statistics & Economic Research estimates that there will be 670 jobs for private investigators in 2020.  This represents an increase of 17.5%

According to the state of Georgia’s Workforce Statistics & Economic Research, the top four employers of private investigators, by percentage of employed PI’s, in 2010 were:

  • Management of companies and enterprises:  16.8%
  • Insurance carriers:  16.6%
  • Investigation and security services:  12.9%
  • Business Support Services:  11.8%

These industries accounted for over half of the employment of private investigators in Georgia.

The steps involved in becoming a private investigator in Georgia vary depending on whether applicants wish to be hired by a private detective company or whether they wish to start their own company.

Employees of detective agencies do not need to be licensed in Georgia.  Company owners, on the other hand, are required to obtain a license from the Georgia Board of Private Detectives and Security Agencies.  A substantial amount of experience, along with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field, is required to apply for this license.

Detailed information on salaries and employment levels of private investigators in selected cities in Georgia are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The data for the two areas that employ 84% of Georgia’s PIs are listed below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Georgia

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta GA
440
44900
Augusta-Richmond County GA-SC
40
43540

 


 

Hawaii

Although private detectives do not engage in high-speed chases and public shoot-outs like in the movies or on TV, there is still plenty of suspense to be found with private investigator jobs in Hawaii. Conducting surveillance, sting and undercover operations, and detective work are all part of the job description for today’s PIs. The Board of Private Detectives and Guards is responsible for regulating private investigators working in the Aloha State, and makes a distinction between private detective agencies employing more than one detective, sole proprietors where agents work alone, and detectives working under a supervising private investigator.

Step 1. Meeting the Basic Qualifications in Hawaii

In order to be registered or licensed for private investigator jobs in Hawaii, all applicants need to meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have no psychological or psychiatric disorders which would negatively and directly affect your ability to conduct the duties of a private investigator
  • Have no convictions for crimes which would reflect negatively on you while acting as a private investigator
  • Have a personal and financial history of being honest, truthful, and fair

Step 2. Education and Experience Requirements in Hawaii

Private investigator school requirements in Hawaii mandate the completion of high school or its equivalent. You must also have four years of full-time work in any of the following positions to start your own practice:

  • Police officer
  • Government-employed investigator at any level (federal, state, county, or city)
  • Attorney or law-firm investigator
  • Private investigator working under the supervision of a private detective

If you have equivalent military certification classes or training experience, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs may consider this as fulfilling relevant private detective training and certification requirements.

Competitive Education

Regardless of whether you are going into business for yourself or another agency, having a solid educational background in relevant subject areas can increase your effectiveness as a private investigator and your future career prospects.

There are a number of campus locations and online schools across Hawaii offering certificate and degree programs in areas of study relevant to private investigators, including:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Law
  • Criminal Psychology
  • Law Enforcement

Step 3. Choosing to Work Under a Private Investigator or for Yourself in Hawaii

If you cannot meet the four-year experience requirement to start your own practice, you can still work under the supervision of a private investigator. You will need to complete a $64 fingerprint and background check with Fieldprint, Inc for your hiring agency, who will in turn need to complete the following:

  • Make sure you meet the minimum requirements from step one
  • Register you with the Board of Private Detectives and Guards twice each year by July 31st and January 31st

You should also make yourself familiar with the laws applying to your field: Hawaii Revised Statutes chapters 463, 463b, 703 and 396, and the Hawaii Administrative Rules title 16 chapter 97.

If you go into business for yourself you will need to pass a $50 private investigator exam which covers these state laws and statutes, for which the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) also provides additional study material references. You can check with the DCCA for the exam schedule, and you will register for the exam as part of your application for a license as a private investigator in Hawaii.

Step 4. Working in Hawaii

If you are an employee of a private investigator your only requirement to continue working will be to maintain a clean criminal record and not become involved in any immoral or questionable activities.

If you are working as a sole-proprietor or in charge of your own agency you will need to meet certain other private investigator training requirements and renew your license every two years. The following fees will apply:

Whatever path to employment you choose, it is important to regularly check with Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Professional and Vocational Licensin Branch for any updates in the private investigations field. The branch also offers tips on how to become a private detective in Hawaii. You may also consider checking with the Hawaii Legislature  for any changes or updates in PI law.

To become a private investigator in Hawaii, a license from the Board of Private Detectives and Guards is required.  This Board is part of the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs for the state of Hawaii.

There are strict requirements to obtain a license in Hawaii.  Four years of full-time work as an investigator is required, along with a high school diploma or GED.  Applicants must submit their fingerprints to the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center and undergo a criminal background check.  In addition, they must pass a written exam with a score of at least 75%.

The number of licenses that had been issued as of 2012 was greater than the number of people working as private investigators in Hawaii.  According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 91 licenses were active at that time.

Private detectives in Hawaii seek out a variety of different types of information, including:

  • The whereabouts of missing persons
  • Crimes and thefts
  • Obtaining confidential information

They may work for the public, businesses, or attorneys.  Common types of investigations include:

  • Ascertaining whether individuals claiming workman’s compensation are truly injured
  • Determining whether a loved one or spouse is committing infidelity
  • Finding the heirs to inheritances
  • Determining whether a potential investor is trustworthy


Private Investigator Salary Information for Hawaii

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, forty private investigators were employed in Hawaii in 2012. Seventy-five percent of them were located in Honolulu.  Hawaii’s Technology Workforce projects the number of jobs in this field to grow by 33% between 2011 and 2021.

Salary data for private investigators in the state as a whole and for Honolulu are listed below.  The annual median wage is listed first, followed by the annual salary of experienced professional investigators in the 90th wage percentile.

Hawaii City
Average Annual Salary
Hawaii-statewide
$51760
Honolulu
$48110

Detailed information on the hourly and annual salaries of private investigators in 2012 is available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Such information is presented for Honolulu below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Hawaii

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Honolulu HI
30
57220

 


 

Idaho

Idaho is currently one of the six states in the country that do not require a specific license for private investigators. However, this does not mean there are private detectives operating carelessly throughout the Gem State; on the contrary, private investigators often interpret the lack of state regulation as a cue for greater personal accountability.

Besides maintaining a strict code of ethics, private investigators must also attract business, be aware of relevant state and federal laws, obtain a business license, and keep good records for investigations and taxes. There is a concentration of licensed PIs around Boise and other urban centers like Idaho Falls, Nampa, or Pocatello.

Step 1. Educational and Training Preparations in Idaho

Education Preparations

Before opening up shop as a private investigator you should prepare yourself to be as competitive in your field as possible. Having either education or experience will show your potential customers that you have qualifications to back up your job description.

There are a number of degree and certificate programs available in schools across the state though which residents can gain pertinent qualifications for private investigator jobs in Idaho, as well as to better facilitate future career mobility. Relevant degree options include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law
  • Business
  • Psychology
  • Law Enforcement

Training Preparations

There are also a variety of training and certification classes available across the state in areas that develop critical private investigator skills. These include:

  • Firearms and non-lethal weapons courses
  • CPR and first aid
  • Citizen police academies
  • Homeland security classes

Step 2. Obtaining a Business License in Idaho and Other Requirements

Obtaining a business license is a relatively straightforward process that you can complete online. The State of Idaho offers information on government regulations that apply to your business as well as what type of business entity you should establish. There are associated fees that depend on what type of business you create and how many, if any, employees you will have.

Clients and companies who hire you as a private investigator may also be interested in the following:

  • Results of any state and federal background checks
  • References who can attest to your moral character
  • Employment and military history, if any
  • Whether or not you carry a firearm

Step 3. Growing Your Business in Idaho and Keeping your License Current

As you become more established as a successful private detective your reputation and client list will grow. You may choose to hire more employees or raise your compensation rates and choose a particular area of specialization. In either case you will need to stay abreast of the relevant city, county, state, and federal laws regulating the operation of your business.

You will also need to keep up with laws pertaining to private detective training and certification in Idaho, as these can and do change. In 1998 a house bill was introduced that would have mandated private investigator school and training requirements in Idaho, though it was not passed. Periodically checking for any legal updates with the State Legislature is recommended, and you may also consider joining a local professional organization such as the Private Investigators Association of Idaho (PIAI), where you can find networking opportunities, support among colleagues, and tips on how to become a successful private detective in Idaho.

The field of private investigation is a growing field with a 20.7% increase in jobs projected nationally from 2010 through 2020.  In Idaho, the average annual salaries for September 2013 are available from Indeed.com.

They are as follows:

  • Private detective:  $21,000
  • Private investigator:  $25,000

Private investigators in Idaho come from a variety of backgrounds.  Many are retired military veterans or law enforcement officials.  Other individuals obtain degrees in criminal justice or police science before they start work as a private investigator.  In the U.S. as a whole, 52% of active private investigators have a bachelor’s degree.

No specific license is required to become a private investigator in Idaho.  As is the case for most professionals, a business license is generally required.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Idaho

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides information on the types of employment of private investigators in the U.S.  Most private investigators work for firms that specialize in investigative and security services.  Forty-seven percent of the country’s PIs are so employed.  The other four industries with the highest levels of employment of private investigators are:

  • Local government
  • Legal services
  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • State government

Almost 21% of the country’s private investigators worked for these types of industries.  Of these four categories, the highest annual mean wage was earned by investigators working in legal services.

The top paying jobs in the country are in the following areas:

  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services
  • Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution
  • Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing
  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing
  • Computer systems design and related services

The salaries for private investigators employed in these types of firms averaged 39-45% more than the mean annual salary in the U.S in 2012 according to the BLS.

 


 

Illinois

Illinois has a well-developed procedure for becoming a licensed private investigator. Working as a PI in the Land of Lincoln offers you the opportunity of big-city cases in Chicago involving industrial espionage or uncovering political corruption. Of course, the more typical urban and rural assignments include investigations into fidelity, insurance fraud, or the location of persons in cities like Aurora, Rockford, and Joliet.

Step 1. Determining Your Application Route in Illinois

You can apply for a license for private investigator jobs in Illinois based on either set of qualifications:

  • Experience
  • Education and experience

Once you meet the training requirements, pass an exam, complete the rest of the application materials, and are successfully licensed you will have the following options:

  • Work for another private investigator
  • Go into business as a sole-proprietor
  • Enter into a PI partnership
  • Form a PI corporation
  • Form a PI limited liability company (LLC)

Step 2. Qualifying for the PI Exam and License in Illinois

Based on Experience

If you are applying for a PI license exam based on your experience you will need to submit proof of working for three of the past five years in any one of the following:

  • As a full-time private detective
  • As a full-time investigator in any one of the following:
    • Federal, state, county, or city law enforcement department
    • State’s Attorney’s or Public Defender’s office
    • Military police, also must submit DD 214

Based on Education and Experience

You can also qualify for a PI license by meeting certain private investigator school requirements in Illinois. If you have an associate’s degree in law enforcement or a related field this may substitute for one year of qualified experience as mentioned above. Having a bachelor’s degree in a field related to law enforcement will substitute for two years of qualified experience as mentioned above.

Certificate programs and degrees in related subject areas will not only reduce the required prerequisite years of work experience required but also give you a solid grounding in crucial aspects of the private investigations field. The following majors can also be advantageous to improving your career mobility towards a field such as law enforcement:

  • Psychology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Business
  • Forensics
  • Law
  • Public Administration

Other Minimum Requirements

You must also be able to meet the following minimum requirements to be eligible for private investigator jobs in Illinois:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Either no felony convictions or 10 years have passed since your sentence was completed
  • May not be a registered sex offender
  • Must be of good moral character
  • Be psychologically and physically fit for the duties of a private detective
  • Have no narcotic or alcohol addictions

Step 3. Private Investigator Training Requirements in Illinois

Completing the 20-hour Training Course

You will also need to complete a private detective training course before or within 30 days of hire. This must be administered by a qualified instructor who provides information in:

  • Illinois laws and statutes
  • Arrest and control techniques
  • Identification of terrorists and terrorist organizations
  • Use of force including lethal and non-lethal
  • Public relations and civil rights

Within six months of employment you will need to complete an additional eight hours of training in a pertinent subject. To prove you have completed the necessary training you will need to submit your basic training certification.

Completing the 40-hour Firearm Training Course

If you are otherwise legally able to carry a firearm and choose to do so while working, you will need to complete a qualified 40-hour firearm training course that includes:

  • 20 hours of classroom instruction including:
    • Law and the use of force
    • Law, private police, and law enforcement reporting
    • Fire prevention
  • Range instruction in:
    • Combat shooting
    • Double-action shooting
    • Positioning

If you have already completed a similar course you may be eligible to submit a waiver of firearms training.

Step 4. Submitting a Complete Application for Licensure in Illinois

Along with your complete application for licensure based either on experience or experience and education, you will also need to submit the following to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, the agency responsible for issuing your license:

  • Criminal background check
  • Proof of a $1 million liability insurance policy
  • $291 examination fee
  • Once you are eligible to be licensed you will be notified of the licensure fee
  • Fingerprints and authorization for a background check with the Illinois State Police
  • If you are choosing to carry a firearm you will need to submit either your firearm training certification or a waiver of firearm training if you have already completed comparable training

Step 5. Taking the Illinois PI Exam

You can register for your PI exam as part of your application for licensure or online. The exam is administered by the private vendor Continental Testing Services and includes an evaluation of your knowledge in the areas of:

  • State and federal laws
  • Practice and licensing requirements
  • Analysis, presentation, and reporting
  • Case management
  • Gathering evidence and information

The vendor provides a practice test and study guide and you should also know the Illinois laws regulating private investigators:

Step 6. Working as a Private Detective in Illinois

You can renew your license online, which expires on May 31st every three years. Every year you will need to complete eight hours of refresher training or classes in a relevant area and must also maintain your good moral character qualification.

You may find additional tips on how to become a private detective by joining professional organizations such as the Associated Detectives and Security Agencies of Illinois (ADSAI). Here you can also find advice, networking opportunities, and legal updates among fellow professionals in your field.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Illinois

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1,050 private investigators were employed in Illinois in 2012.  Illinois’ Worknet Center states that the field of private investigation is one of the top 50 fastest growing occupations in the state.  About 110 job openings are expected each year.

The state of Illinois projects the percentage of job growth of private investigators to be greater than 15% in the following areas:

  • Bloomington area:  28.8%
  • Champaign area:  26.3%
  • Will County:  22.4%
  • Cook County:  22.0%
  • Springfield area:  20.5%
  • Lake County:  16.7%
  • Northwest Illinois area:  16.7%
  • DeKalb-Elgin-Aurora area:  16.0%

The average salary for private investigators in Illinois was $40,550 in 2012 according to the BLS.  PIs with experience who were in the top tenth earned $66,960 that year on average.  Over half of the private investigators in Illinois are located in the Chicago metropolitan area.  They averaged $44,740 a year with the top earners making a salary of $71,250 on average.

Employment was also high in the nonmetropolitan area of west central Illinois with the area having the greatest concentration of jobs of any nonmetropolitan area in the U.S.  The 100 investigators in this area averaged $23,880 a year with the top earners making $30,310.

Licensing is required for private investigators that work in Illinois.  Applicants must pass an exam before they can apply to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation for a license.  At this time, they must have proof of having at least $1 million in liability insurance.  Licenses are valid for six years in Illinois.

Additional requirements must be fulfilled to work as an armed PI.  Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have completed a forty-hour firearm training course within a two year period before applying.  They must also provide their social security number that will be used to check records confirming that there are no tax or child support liabilities.

Detailed information on the hourly and annual wages of private investigators in different areas of Illinois is available from the BLS.  Their salary and employment data on Illinois is shown below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Illinois

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville IL Metropolitan Division
690
43610
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville IL-IN-WI
770
44740
Lake County-Kenosha County IL-WI Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
53350
St. Louis MO-IL
390
54460
West Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area
100
23880

 


 

Indiana

Private detectives or investigators in the Hoosier State work in a broad range of fields, doing everything from investigating public and private corruption to locating missing persons for loved ones or bounty hunters. Going to work for a private investigator agency in Indiana is relatively easy and does not require a license. However starting your own private investigator business, even if you are the only person working there, does require a license. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of how to become a private investigator in Indiana:

Step 1. Meeting Basic Qualifications in Indiana

To obtain a license for private investigator jobs in Indiana you will need to meet the following conditions:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have at least two years (4,000 hours) of work experience in the investigations or security field; or meet the approved education equivalent
  • Possess professional liability insurance of at least $100,000 that lists the State of Indiana as an additional insured
  • Have no convictions for felonies or crimes that would have a direct bearing on your ability to act as a PI
  • Not currently be on probation or parole

Private Investigator School Requirements in Indiana

In place of the requirement for two years of work experience in the investigations or security field, you may substitute the approved education equivalent of a four-year degree in criminal justice.

In general, having a foundation in a relevant area of education demonstrates that you are a serious and capable candidate to prospective employers and provides you with vital skills that will prepare you for success as well as future career advancement and flexibility. In addition to criminal justice, certificates and degrees in the following can be useful in the private detective field:

  • Business
  • Law
  • Psychology
  • Law Enforcement
  • Public Administration

Step 2. Working for a PI Agency to Gain the Necessary Experience in Indiana

Because of the two-year experience requirement to become licensed, most private detectives start out by working for a licensed private investigator. When you work under a licensed PI, he or she is responsible for your professional conduct and must request the following from you:

  • Current photograph upon hire
  • Full set of fingerprints

Because the licensed private detective is responsible for you, he or she may also require:

  • Criminal background check
  • Your employment history
  • Character references
  • Drug testing

Step 3. Licensure with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency

Because the State of Indiana only provides PI licenses to business entities and not individuals, even if you decide to work alone, becoming licensed for private detective jobs means applying with a Firm Application. Along with this you will need to submit the following to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency’s Private Investigator and Security Guard Licensing Board based out of Indianapolis:

  • Verification of two years of acceptable work experience
  • Criminal background history and fingerprint check
  • Proof of liability insurance for at least $100,000
  • $300 application fee

Step 4. Working in Indiana

As you develop in your career field and gain experience you may find it beneficial to join a professional organization of colleagues such as the Indiana Society of Professional Investigators (INSPI) or the Indiana Association of Professional Investigators (IAPI). With these agencies you can find additional suggestions on how to become a licensed private detective, opportunities for private detective training and certification classes, as well as further networking and business tips. 

It is also advisable to keep up on any changing laws or requirements in the PI field. Finally, you should always be familiar with the current laws and codes. You will always be held accountable to these whether you are in one of the larger cities like Fort Wayne, Evansville, or South Bend or in one of the most sparsely populated counties.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Indiana

Nearly three hundred private investigators were employed in Indiana in 2012 based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Their ranks are projected to grow by 18.6% through 2016 according to the state of Indiana’s projections for high-salary, high-demand occupations.

The annual median income and the average salary earned by those investigators in the top tenth percentile are shown below for the state as a whole and for the 31% of the state’s PIs that work in Indianapolis:

Indiana City
Average Annual Salary
Indiana-statewide
$42980
Indianapolis
$41950

Individual employees of a private investigation firm do not need a license, but Indiana has stringent requirements for those in charge of detective agencies.  Applicants to the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency must have criminal background checks completed by each county, city, and state that they have lived in within the past seven years.  It is highly important that the background checks be completed at each local jurisdiction.

A fingerprint background check by the Indiana State Police is also required.  In addition, applicants must have proof that they have at least $100,000 of limited liability insurance.  The state of Indiana must be listed as an additional insured.  Four thousand hours of experience as an investigator is also required to obtain a license in Indiana.  A private investigator’s license in this state does not grant the right to carry a firearm.

The jobs of private investigators can be highly varied.  Some PIs specialize in financial investigation.  They may investigate potential investors to ensure they are on the up and up.  Others perform surveillance—ensuring that those claiming workman’s compensation are truly injured or checking on potential infidelity by spouses or other loved ones.

Salary data on additional locations in Indiana is available from the BLS.  The levels of employment, annual, and hourly salary data are shown below for these areas.

Private Investigator Salaries in Indiana

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Cincinnati-Middletown OH-KY-IN
50
52840
Indianapolis-Carmel IN
90
41950
Louisville-Jefferson County KY-IN
Estimate not released
39390

 


 

Iowa

Under the Department of Public Safety, the Private Investigator Licensing Services Bureau headquartered in Des Moines is the agency responsible for issuing private investigator licenses in the state.

There is no typical day in the life of a private investigator. You may find yourself conducting an undercover op in Cedar Rapids one week, investigating a suspected case of fraud in Sioux City the next week, and locating a missing person in Davenport the week after. Not as glamorous as Hollywood makes them out to be, private detective jobs in Iowa often involve long hours of research and investigation before cases are resolved.

Step 1. Meet Basic Requirements in Iowa

To become a licensed private investigator in Iowa you will need to meet the following basic requirements:

  • Not currently be a peace officer: sheriff’s deputy, police officer, etc
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have no aggravated misdemeanor or felony convictions
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have never been judged guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude or fraud
  • No history of violence or illegally carrying dangerous weapons
  • Not currently be addicted to alcohol or drugs

Step 2. Private Investigator Training and School Requirements in Iowa

Although there are no official private investigator school and training requirements in Iowa, there are several reasons why you should consider pursuing training, certification classes or a degree in relevant fields.

A formal education provides the following benefits:

  • Education credentials will demonstrate you are serious about your job
  • Show you are qualified with the right know-how to get the job done well
  • Open up future career advancement prospects
  • Increase your competitiveness for clients among other PIs in the Hawkeye State

The following programs are available as certificate classes and degrees at locations throughout the state as well as online:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law
  • Business
  • Law Enforcement
  • Psychology
  • Forensics

Step 3. Applying with the Private Investigator Licensing Services Bureau in Iowa

When completing a license for private investigator jobs in Iowa, make sure to include the following along with your complete application:

  • Two fingerprint cards
  • $140 total fee for fingerprinting, licensing, and ID card
  • Proof of a surety bond of at least $5,000
  • Proof of liability insurance covering accidents, wrongdoings, and subsequent consequences

Step 4. Maintaining Your Iowa Private Detective License

Your PI license will expire every two years. To renew this you will need to maintain compliance with the minimum qualifications from the first step and submit the following to the Bureau at least 30 days before your license expires:

  • Two completed FBI fingerprint cards
  • Renewal form
  • Proof of 12 hours of continuing education
  • Proof of continued insurance coverage and a maintained surety bond

You may determine which continuing education courses are right for you on the condition that these are formal programs of learning that contribute directly to your professional competence.

If you choose to carry a firearm you must follow the appropriate state laws.

Monitoring the State Legislature is a good way to stay informed about the current laws and statutes regulating the private detective profession in the Iowa. If you are interested in additional private detective training opportunities you may consider joining a professional organization such as the Iowa Association of Private Investigators (IAPI). The IAPI can provide you with legal information, training resources, networking opportunities as well as additional tips on how to become a private investigator in Iowa.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Iowa

Estimates from the State’s Workforce Development indicated that 70 such investigators worked in Iowa during that year.

The average salary for private investigators is listed based on the different sources, followed by the average salary of experienced professionals who were among the top earners:

Federal or State Estimate
Average Annual Salary
State Estimate
$48485
Federal Estimate
$43940

The future of the private investigation field is promising.  Nationally, the ranks of private investigators are estimated to grow by 21% from 2010 to 2012.  This increase is projected to be faster than average compared to other types of jobs.

A license from the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Administrative Services is required to become a private investigator in the state.  Applicants must submit two sets of fingerprints for a background check.  Those applying as individuals must provide proof of insurance in the form of a $5,000 surety bond.

Private investigators can hold a variety of types of jobs.  The industries with the highest levels of employment of private investigators include:

  • Investigation and security firms
  • Local governmental agencies
  • Legal services
  • Management of companies and enterprises
  • State governmental agencies
  • Office administrative services
  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturing

There are a number of specialties for private investigators.  Some specialize in fraud such as tracking malfeasance committed over computers.  Others are skilled at physical surveillance:  ensuring that worker’s compensation claims are legitimate or tracking spouses suspected of having illegitimate affairs.  Another type of work for PIs is assisting defense attorneys by thoroughly investigating the circumstances of their case to try and clear the defendant of charges.

The BLS provides a detailed breakdown of employment levels, hourly, and annual wages for a region that is shared with Iowa.  This data is listed in the table below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Iowa

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA
250
61500

 


 

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
Employment
Annual mean wage
Kansas City MO-KS
240
37120

 


 

Kentucky

Located just outside Lexington, the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Private Investigators issues PI licenses, in addition to communicating with PIs in the Bluegrass State about the most recent laws governing their profession. Whether you are interested in working for an established company or going in to private practice, obtaining a license is essential to working private investigator jobs. Private detectives operate in all areas of the state, from the Louisville Metro Area to Bowling Green, Owensboro and Covington. Typical services provided by PIs include working for legal teams, locating missing or absconded persons, and conducting surveillance ops.

Step 1. Minimum Qualifications in Kentucky

The first step you need to take towards your goal of becoming licensed for private investigator jobs in Kentucky is to ensure you meet the following minimum qualifications:

  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Be of good moral character
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful resident alien
  • If you have any felony convictions, 10 years must have passed since the completion of your sentence
  • No convictions for crimes involving dishonesty or moral turpitude within the past five years
  • If you are a military veteran you must not have been dishonorably discharged
  • Be of sound mental capacity
  • No misdemeanor or higher convictions within the past three years for crimes involving controlled substances
  • May not have been enrolled in a facility or program for substance abuse in the past three years
  • May not chronically or habitually use alcohol or drugs

Step 2. Private Investigator School Requirements in Kentucky

Kentucky law stipulates private investigator school requirements to solely include the completion of high school or an equivalent. It is a good idea to make yourself as an attractive PI as possible, and having a degree or academic certification in a pertinent field can do just that. It also shows that you are serious about your profession, are thinking ahead to possible career advancements, and that you are a capable individual.

Certificates and degrees in the following fields are available online and throughout the Bluegrass State:

  • Business
  • Law Enforcement
  • Criminal Justice
  • Psychology
  • Forensics

Step 3. Submitting an Application with the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Private Detectives

When submitting an application for licensure you can begin by applying for an individual license. All private detectives operating in the state must at minimum be licensed individually.

Your Individual Application for Licensure should include:

  • $100 application fee
  • $300 license fee
  • $20 licensing request fee
  • Proof of affiliation from your employing PI agency, if any
  • Proof of a $250,000 for combined single-limit liability insurance – if you are solely employed by an attorney this is not necessary
  • Criminal history background check with three fingerprint cards for a $36.50 fee
  • Signed release for medical and psychological records

In addition to being licensed individually you may also need to complete a Company Application for Licensure if you are planning to form any of the following:

  • Sole-proprietorship, $100 application fee
  • Company, partnership, or corporation; $500 application fee

Keep in mind that the average time to evaluate an application for licensure is between two and three months.

Step 4. Private Investigator Exam in Kentucky

As part of the individual licensing process you will need to take the Private Investigator Exam. Once your application for licensure has been approved the Board will send you a study guide and scheduling information. You can begin preparing for the exam by studying the appropriate Kentucky Revised Statutes and Administrative Regulations, and the exam itself will include an evaluation of your knowledge regarding:

  • State and federal constitutional principles
  • Laws regarding eavesdropping, assault, search, seizure, and computer access
  • Relevant court decisions that have a bearing on liability

Step 5. Doing Business as a PI in Kentucky

Once you receive your PI license it will remain valid for two years. The Board will notify you of the renewal fee that will be between $50 and $250, and you will also need to complete a renewal application before your license expires.

Although there are currently no requirements for private detective training courses, certification classes, or continuing education, a provision for these does exist in the present Kentucky Revised Statutes. This is a good example why it is always a good idea to be familiar with the laws that pertain to the private investigator profession – these can change or be modified at any time.

You can keep up with legislation and other news by joining professional organizations such as the Kentucky Professional Investigators Association (KPIA) and the Kentucky Society of Professional Investigators (KSPI). These can also provide you with networking resources and additional information on how to become a private detective in the Bluegrass State.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Kentucky

Kentucky is a promising place to find work as a private investigator, since the state’s Department of Workforce Investment projects the growth in PI jobs to be 18.27% in the state.  This is based on estimates of the ten-year period leading up to 2018.

In 2012, private investigators earned $44,380 on average in Kentucky, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Those with experience who were in the top ten percent averaged $58,530 a year.

The average salaries for private investigators in selected areas of Kentucky are listed below, followed by the average salary for those in the top 10th percentile of their field:

Kentucky City
Average Annual Salary
Cincinnati-Middletown
$52840
Louisville-Jefferson County
$39390

A license from the Kentucky Board of Licensure for Private Investigators is required to become a private investigator in this commonwealth.  Applicants must be at least 21 years old and meet requirements for having good character and not having had a felony conviction in the past ten years.

Those who apply to be private investigators in Kentucky must also pass a state examination and provide proof of insurance.  A $250,000 combined single-limit policy is required.  Private investigators who work exclusively under an attorney’s supervision are exempt from this rule.

Once an aspiring private investigator has received his or her license in Kentucky, there are a variety of types of work for them.  PIs should be highly proficient with computers, since they will be regularly checking databases as part of background investigations.  Also, some PIs specialize in computer forensics.

Conducting surveillance is another area of specialty for some private investigators.  This can range from investigation of workmen’s comp claims for insurance companies to determining whether a spouse is being unfaithful.

Seeking missing persons is another area of expertise.  This can range from finding loved ones that have disappeared to finding those who are due to inherit money or property.

Detailed information on the hourly and annual wages of private investigators in different areas of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2012 are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the table shown below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Kentucky

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Cincinnati-Middletown OH-KY-IN
50
52840
Louisville-Jefferson County KY-IN
Estimate not released
39390

 


 

Louisiana

From its headquarters in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana State Board of Private Investigator Examiners (LSBPIE) regulates both individual private investigators as well as investigation agencies across the Bayou State. There are currently over 1,200 licensed PIs working throughout Louisiana with a concentration in New Orleans, but also in places like Lafayette, Metairie, Shreveport, and even sparsely populated parishes. Many private detectives work in the over 600 PI agencies licensed in Louisiana. There are also 82 private investigator journeymen in the direct employ of licensed PIs.

Step 1. Meeting the Minimum Louisiana State Qualifications

Before you begin thinking about any private investigator training requirements you will need to start with the basics.
You must be able to meet the following to become a PI in Louisiana:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Be a United State citizen or authorized to legally work in the U.S.
  • Have no convictions for crimes of moral turpitude or felonies
  • May not be actively addicted to alcohol or drugs

Although there are no education or school requirements to become a licensed private investigator in Louisiana, having education in a relevant field will give your clients and employers assurance that you are a qualified and capable PI.

Having an appropriate certification or degree will also provide you with greater career flexibility in the future. The following programs are available online and at campus-based schools throughout the state:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Psychology
  • Forensics
  • Criminal Justice
  • Law

Step 2. Basic Training and Louisiana PI Exam

Another prerequisite on the road to obtaining a license for private investigator jobs in Louisiana is the basic training course, followed by an exam. Private detective certification classes must be obtained from an approved agency and be at least 40 hours in length. Topics covered include:

  • Louisiana state law
  • Use of force, both lethal and non-lethal
  • Safety procedures
  • Investigative techniques and report writing

After completing your 40 hours of training you will be prepared for the Private Investigator Exam. This covers your private investigator training, and before registering you should make sure you are familiar with private detective laws and regulations. You must also pay a $50 fee and obtain at least a 75 percent score in order to pass the exam. Apprentice private investigators may postpone their basic training and exam for up to one year.

Step 3. Private Investigator Classifications and License Applications in Louisiana

The LSBPIE recognizes several classifications of private investigator licenses in the state:

  • Apprentice license, $192.50 in total fees, nonrenewable
  • Individual license, $192.50 in total fees, $100 renewal fee
  • Journeyman license, $342.50 in total fees, $250 renewal fee
  • Agency license, $342.50 in total fees, $250 renewal fee

The distinguishing features for each of these types of licenses are:

  • An apprentice must complete the 40-hour basic training course and take the exam within one year of being hired, must be sponsored by a private investigation agency, and the license may not be renewed
  • An individual license allows an individual to conduct business as a private investigator with a registered sponsor agency
  • Journeymen only work with sponsoring private investigation agencies and do not provide direct services to the public, private businesses, or government agencies
  • An agency license allows for the hire or sponsorship of more than one licensed private investigator, whose director(s) must already hold either an individual or journeyman license and have at least three years of experience in the field

Applicants for all types of licenses must submit the following materials with their applications:

  • Two fingerprint cards
  • Criminal identification information
  • Any required sponsor agency forms

Step 4. Maintaining Your Practice in Louisiana

You will need to renew your license with the LSBPIE every year. Continuing private detective training requirements stipulate that every two years you must also submit proof of completion of at least eight hours of approved continuing education by your renewal date. If you choose to carry a firearm you must follow the normal state procedures.

Joining a professional organization of your peers such as the Louisiana Private Investigators Association (LPIA) can provide you with valuable networking opportunities, continuing education news, and additional advice on how to become a private detective in Louisiana.

A good way to be informed about the latest policies and procedures in your profession – always important for PIs who want to conduct business legally – is to stay in touch with the LSBPIE; you are always invited to attend the next board meeting.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 70 private investigators were employed in Louisiana in 2012.  Their ranks are expected to grow throughout much of the state.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Louisiana

Louisiana’s Occupational Employment Projections Program estimated the following rates of job growth from 2010 to 2020 in these Regional Labor Market Areas:

  • Lafayette:  24.2%
  • Monroe:  14.3%
  • Shreveport:  13.6%
  • New Orleans:  13.0%
  • Baton Rouge:  6.3%

The 2012 annual median salary, along with the average wage of experienced private investigators in the top tenth of their salary bracket are available from the BLS for the following areas:

Louisiana City
Average Annual Salary
Louisiana-statewide
$37170
Lafayette
$36610

The state of Louisiana requires a license from the state’s Board of Private Investigator Examiners to become a private investigator.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have not been convicted of felonies or crimes of moral turpitude.

A substantial amount of experience is required before one can apply for a license.  Applicants need to have at least three years of experience working as a private investigator or in some type of investigative capacity.  This must have taken place within the last ten years.

In addition, applicants must take a 40-hour training course in becoming a private investigator.  Then, they must achieve a score of at least 75% on an exam administered by the Board.

Once the applicants have passed the exam and received their license, they have a number of options of different types of work to do.  Some private investigators track down missing people, while others perform background checks on individuals for businesses and corporations.

Defense attorneys are another type of potential employer.  Having an unbiased individual examine the particulars of a case can help substantially with the attorney’s defense of their client.

Detailed information on employment levels, hourly, and annual wages of private investigators are provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  For Louisiana, information on Lafayette is available in the table shown below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Louisiana

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Lafayette LA
40
41990

 


 

Maine

Private investigators in Maine are referred to as professional investigators, where they are licensed and strictly regulated by the Maine State Police. Those who wish to be able to call themselves professional investigators in Maine must meet specific experience and training requirements.

Step 1. Meet General Qualifications for Professional Investigators in Maine

Before embarking on a course of action to become a private investigator in Maine, you must meet some basic qualifications:

  • You must be at least 21 years old
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or resident alien
  • You must be a high school graduate or hold a GED
  • You must have good moral character, partially demonstrated by:
    • No convictions of crimes punishable by a maximum imprisonment of over one year
    • No abuse incidents of family or household members in the past five years
    • Less than three convictions for Class D or E crimes in the past five years
    • Less than three convictions of civil crimes in the past five years
    • No negligent or reckless activities that endangered others’ safety in the past five years (includes the use of motor vehicles and/or weapons)
    • No failures to meet child or family support obligations
    • No dishonorable discharge from military service
  • You must meet educational and experience requirements (see Step 2)
  • You must pass an examination (see Step 4)

Step 2. Complete Education and Experience Requirements for Professional Investigators in Maine

Maine law states that you must meet one of the following education/experience combination requirements in order to be eligible to take the state’s private investigator licensing examination:

  • Option 1: Complete 60 college credits in private investigation or a related field or earn a certificate of study in private investigation; and complete a t least 1200 hours in an investigative assistant sponsorship program supervised by a sponsoring licensed private investigator
  • Option 2: Have at least three years of experience working full-time as a federal detective or investigator of the United States Armed Forces or  of a federal investigative agency
  • Option 3:  Have at least three years of employment as a law enforcement officer of a state or jurisdiction and met its training requirements
  • Option 4: Have at least six years of experience with a combination of the following:
    • Two years of work experience in a non-clerical profession related to criminal justice or law, and
    • Education consisting of one of the following choices:
      • An associate degree from an accredited institution in criminal justice, law, investigation, security management, police administration, computer forensics or another acceptable related discipline
      • 60 credits of college study from an accredited institution in one of the above-mentioned disciplines

If you have held a private investigator’s license in another state or territory for at least three years, that state grants reciprocity to Maine licensed private investigators, and that state’s licensing requirements are equivalent to those of Maine, you are exempt from meeting the education and experience requirements. You might also be exempt from taking the state examination.

You must also become certified in the use of firearms in Maine in order to become a private investigator. While no permits are necessary to own a firearm, certification and training in the proper use of firearms is necessary in order to receive a concealed carry permit. At minimum, you must complete a handgun safety course.

Step 3. Submit Maine Professional Investigator License Application and Supporting Documentation

When you have met the above qualifications, you are ready to submit the Maine Application for Professional Investigator License. Along with the completed application, you must submit:

  • Check or money order payable to Treasurer, State of Maine for $71 (includes application fee of $50 plus State Bureau of Identification record check fee of $21). (A final fee of $450 is due when you pass the Maine Professional Investigators Exam prior to issuance of your license)
  • A copy of your high school diploma or GED
  • A copy of your birth certificate/resident alien card
  • Copy of your military discharge, if applicable
  • Copy of any certificates you hold from law enforcement academy training and transcripts, if applicable
  • Copy of college diploma and transcripts, if applicable
  • Copy of documentation of your work history, including jobs, duties, and dates, signed by employer(s)
  • Three certifications from persons who have known you for at least three years. These are included in the application form, and must be signed by persons who live in your community, live in the community in which you work, or live in the community in which you plan to work
  • Signed Form P-3, giving your authority to all law enforcement agencies, courts, military forces, government agencies, hospitals and mental institutions to release information to the Chief of the Maine State Police for evaluation of your application
  • Signed Authorization to Release form giving your authority to the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center and the Riverview Psychiatric Center to release information to the Chief of the Maine State Police for evaluation of your application (must be signed and included with all applications, even if you were never a patient at either facility)
  • Signed Form 577, Client Authorization to release information to the Chief of the Maine State Police from the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center and the Riverview Psychiatric Center (must be signed and included with all applications, even if you were never a patient at either facility)

Mail all of the above to Department of Public Safety, Maine State Police, Special Investigations Unit, 164 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0164.

Step 4. Pass the Maine Professional Investigators Examination

After your application to become a private investigator in Maine is received by the Maine State Police and your background check is complete, you will be contacted to schedule a date and time to take the Maine Professional Investigators Examination. The exam consists of 50 multiple-choice and true-false questions, and is given on the third Thursday of every month. Contents of the exam include:

  • Laws relating to professional investigators
  • Laws relating to permits to carry concealed handguns
  • Title 17-A, Maine Criminal Statutes, Parts 1 (General Principles) and 2 (Substantive Offenses)

You must get at least 76 percent of the exam correct in order to pass. Once you pass the exam, the Maine State Police will send your insurance company an approval letter.

Step 5.  Obtain Commercial General Liability Insurance for Maine Professional Investigators

Under Maine law, you must obtain an occurrence-based Commercial General Liability insurance policy from an insurer who is licensed by the Maine Bureau of Insurance to do business in Maine before you will be issued a license to work as a professional investigator in the state. The minimum required amounts of coverage are as follows:

  • Property damage:  $10,000
  • Each occurrence limit:  $100,000
  • General aggregate limit:  $200,000

Your name must be listed on the policy along with your employer’s name, if your employer has its own liability insurance. Proof of insurance must identify the Certificate Holder as Maine State Police, Special Investigations Unit, 164 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

You must also give to the Chief of Police a Surety Bond for $10,000 if you are a resident of Maine and $50,000 if you are not. A surety company authorized to work in Maine must execute the bond.

When your insurance company issues the bond and proof of commercial general liability insurance and you submit the final fee of $450 to the Maine State Police, you will receive your professional investigator’s license.

Step 6. Now That You’re a Professional Investigator in Maine

Congratulations! You are now a licensed professional investigator in the state of Maine! Your initial professional investigator’s license is valid for two years, at which time it must be renewed. Once renewed, you may apply for renewal every four years. At renewal, must submit the same three Authorities to Release documentation forms you initially submitted when you applied for the license, along with:

It will take the Special Investigations Unit about 6 to 8 weeks to process your renewal application, at which time you will receive an approval letter from them requesting a four-year continuation certification from your insurance company. Present this to the insurance company and send it, along with proof of commercial general liability insurance, and a current photograph of yourself, to Department of Public Safety, Maine State Police, Special Investigations Unit, 164 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0164. (If you have changed insurance companies, you must also submit a new surety bond form).


Private Investigator Salary Information for Maine

The field of private investigation in Maine is expected to grow nine percent in the ten year period leading up to 2016.  According to Maine’s Department of Labor, there were 167 individuals working as private investigators in the state in 2006.

The 2012 salaries of Maine’s private investigators are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The median salary for PIs in that year was $53,350, while those in the top ten percent of their salary bracket earned an average of $59,970.

Private investigators can work independently or be employed by a number of different types of industries.  Over 80% of Maine’s private investigators worked in the following three industries in 2001 according to Maine’s Department of Labor:

  • Business services:  41%
  • General merchandise stores:  22%
  • Insurance carriers:  19%

Individuals aspiring to work as private investigators in Maine must first get a license from the State Police Licensing Division.  Applicants must have reached the age of 18 and have a high school diploma or GED.  They also have to pass a criminal background check and take a written exam to be qualified.

In addition, applicants must have one of the following backgrounds to become a private investigator in Maine:

  • At least 1,700 hours working as an investigative assistant
  • One year of employment with a U.S. investigative service
  • One year of employment as a law enforcement officer
  • Have taken 60 college credits
  • Possess an associate’s degree in law enforcement

Specialty jobs for private investigators in Maine can include:

  • Alarm investigators
  • Fraud investigators
  • Gambling monitors
  • House officers
  • Railroad and transit police and special agents
  • Shopping investigators
  • Undercover operators in establishments

Some private investigators work for defense attorneys and examine the particulars of cases to try and help exonerate defendants.

 


 

Maryland

The state of Maryland requires that all private detectives become registered before they may legally practice in Maryland. Private investigators who wish to open their own agencies must also become licensed. Qualifications vary depending upon your status (i.e., if you work for a private detective agency or run your own private detective agency) and generally include training and experience.

Step 1. Meet Basic Qualifications for Private Detectives in Maryland

There are a few basic requirements that all applicants for private detective registration must meet before becoming registered to work in Maryland:

  • You must be at least 25 years sold
  • You must have good moral character and reputation
  • You must pass a criminal background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
  • You must be employed by/have an employment offer from a licensed private detective agency in Maryland
  • If applying for licensure for a private detective agency, you must meet experience requirements (see below)
  • If applying for handgun permit, you must meet training requirements (see below)

Step 2. Complete Training and Experience Requirements for Private Detectives in Maryland

Although education is not required to become an individual registered private investigator/private detective in Maryland, some type of formal training is recommended.

Obtaining certification or a college degree in one of the following areas is encouraged:

  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

Experience is not required in order to receive private detective registration in Maryland. However, if you plan to open your own private detective agency in Maryland, this requires a license from the state. You must meet all of the following training and experience requirements before the state will issue you a license to start a private detective agency in Maryland:

  1. Five or more years of experience as a full-time certified or licensed private detective, AND
  2. Five or more years of experience as a full-time police officer, AND
  3. Completion of a police officer training course approved by the Maryland Police Training Commission, AND
  4. Three years of experience in investigation as a detective while working as a police officer

Alternatively, you may claim the following to meet C and D education and experience requirements for private detectives opening agencies in Maryland:

Step 3. Submit Maryland Private Detective Registration Application and Supporting Documentation

Private Detective Registration

In order to become a registered private detective in Maryland, you must:

  • Submit the Multiple Licensing Application, having pages 7 and 13 notarized
  • Submit one set of completed fingerprint cards (one purple CJIS fingerprint card and one blue and white FBI fingerprint card)
  • Submit two recent (taken in the last month) passport-type photos of yourself with a white background
  • Submit private detective registration fee of $15 via check or money order payable to Maryland State Police
  • Submit background check fee of $37.25 via check or money order payable to Maryland State Police
  • If requesting a handgun permit along with your private investigator registration, you must also submit:
    • Two additional recent (taken in the last month) passport-type photographs of yourself with a white background
    • $75 application fee via separate check/money order payable to Maryland State Police
    • Certificate of qualification with a handgun from a Maryland State Police Certified Handgun instructor on a Maryland State Police form
    • Copy of form letter (obtained by your private detective employer) supporting good and substantial reasons why you need a handgun permit, ownership of a weapon, and location of the handgun
  • Mail all of the above to Maryland State Police, Licensing Division, 1111 Reisterstown Rd, Pikesville, MD 21208. It may take up to 90 days for the background check to be completed and for your application to be approved. Once approved, you will receive a private detective identification card. This is valid for employment only with the private detective agency listed on your application. If you change employers, you must surrender your card to the Maryland State Police and register to work for another agency.

Private Investigation Agency License

In order to open your own licensed private investigation agency in Maryland, you must apply for a Private Detective Agency license:

  • Submit the Multiple Licensing Application, having pages 7 and 13 notarized
  • Submit two additional recent passport photos of yourself on a white background
  • Submit a copy of the Articles of Incorporation of your business and minutes of the last meeting that appointed officers of the corporation
  • If you are a foreign corporation, submit a copy of the receipt from the Maryland Department of Assessment and Taxation to certify that you are registered as a foreign corporation to do business in Maryland
  • Set of fingerprint cards (if not submitted above)
  • If you employ five or more people, submit a copy of the General Liability Insurance Policy of one million dollars
  • Correct fees:
    • Private Investigation Agency, not incorporated: $237.25
    • Private Investigation Agency, incorporated: $412.25
  • Mail all of the above to Maryland State Police, Licensing Division, 1111 Reisterstown Rd, Pikesville, MD 21208. It may take up to 90 days for the background check to be completed and your application to be approved.

Step 4. Now that You’re a Registered Private Detective in Maryland

Well done! You have completed all the requirements to become a registered private detective in Maryland!

You must renew your registration/certification every three years. You will be mailed renewal information from the Maryland State Police 90 days before your certification expires. Instructions on renewal will be included. Generally, you must submit another FBI fingerprint records check and fees, along with renewal application fee (total of $69.25, check or money order payable to the Maryland State Police). If you have a handgun permit, you must also submit a certificate of completion from a one-hour handgun re-certification class given by a Maryland State Police Certified Handgun instructor.

If you own a private detective agency, the agency’s license is valid for two years. About 90 days before the license is set to expire, you will be mailed a renewal packet from the Licensing Division of the Maryland State Police. You will be instructed on what documentation to submit and the fees due in order to renew your agency’s license.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Maryland

Maryland is a good location for private investigators seeking jobs.  According to 2012 employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state had the highest concentration of private investigation jobs in the county. The total number of private investigators employed in Maryland in 2012 was 1,270.

Baltimore, in particular, had the sixth highest level of employment of private investigators of any metropolitan area in the county. Four hundred and fifty PIs were employed in that area in 2012.

The number of private investigation jobs in Maryland is expected to grow by 25.6% from 2010 to 2020, according to Maryland’s Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning.  That translates into 405 additional jobs that will be available.  In addition, the state projects that 355 individuals will leave the workforce, causing 775 total jobs to be available by 2020.

2012 salary data for private investigators in Maryland is available from the BLS.  The annual median salary and the wage for those in the top tenth percentile of their field are presented below for the state as a whole and for Baltimore:

Maryland City
Average Annual Salary
Maryland-statewide
$39050
Baltimore
$47780

Aspiring PIs in Maryland must obtain a license to work in the state.  It has fairly stringent requirements for applicants.  They must be at least 25 years old and have at least five years of full-time experience working as an investigator, firefighter, or police officer.  Three years of experience as a law enforcement investigator will suffice.  Anyone with one of these law enforcement backgrounds must have received the appropriate training from the state.

2012 employment and salary data is provided by the BLS for applicants who have succeeded in getting their license and have been working as a private investigator in Maryland.  The following table presents this information for two localities within Maryland.

Private Investigator Salaries in Maryland

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Baltimore-Towson MD
450
51310
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division
1080
49500

 


 

Massachusetts

The Massachusetts State Police licenses qualified individuals who wish to become private detectives. The right training and experience is vital to becoming an effective, efficient and knowledgeable private investigator in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is why potential private investigators must meet the strict requirements of the Massachusetts State Police.

Step 1. Meet General Prerequisites for Private Detectives in Massachusetts

In order to become a licensed private detective in Massachusetts, you must:

  • Meet experience requirements (see below)
  • Have no felony convictions on record
  • Have no convictions of violations of section 99 (having to do with interception of wire and oral communications) or 99A (having to do with overhearing by use of devices in jury deliberations) of Chapter 272 of the Massachusetts General Laws
  • Receive certification of your good moral character from three reputable citizens
  • Pass a background investigation

Step 2. Complete Training and Experience Required of Private Detectives in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts State Police does not require you to have any formalized education to prepare you for licensure as a private detective. However, a background in criminal justice and/or law can be very beneficial to you as you begin your career as a Massachusetts private investigator.

Degrees available in Massachusetts’s schools that are the most helpful to private detectives include:

  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Diploma in Criminal Justice

Experience is of utmost importance when applying for licensure as a private detective in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts State Police mandate that you possess either of the following:

  • Three years of investigative experience
  • 10 years of experience as a police officer (if you were a patrolman, three of those years must be above the rank of patrolman)

If you do not possess the necessary experience to become licensed as a private investigator in Massachusetts, consider obtaining a Watch Guard Patrol Agency License instead. This type of license does not require any experience. Alternatively, you could hire a Resident Manager to work for your private detective agency, if you plan to open one. A Resident Manager is a person who qualifies for the license and is held responsible to the Department of State Police Certification Unit. This Resident Manager must continue to work for your agency in order for you to remain licensed as a Private Detective in Massachusetts.

If you plan to carry a firearm, you must complete a Firearms Safety Course and receive a Firearms Safety Certificate, conducted by a state approved instructor. A list of approved basic firearms safety courses is found here.

Step 3. Submit Massachusetts Private Detective Licensure Application and Supporting Documentation

When you are ready to apply for licensure as a private detective in Massachusetts, you must:

  • Submit the completed Application for a License as a Private Detective
  • Submit the Certificate Page, completed by three reputable Massachusetts citizens who either live in your community, live in the community in which you do business, live in the community in which you plan to work, and have been personally acquainted with you for at least three years
  • Submit the completed Investigative Employment Experience form, listing your experience as an investigator for at least the past three years
  • Submit the completed and notarized Authorization for Release of Information form
  • Submit the completed and notarized Bond Form
  • Submit the $5000 Surety Bond (ask your insurance provider to recommend a bonding company if they do not handle surety bond completion)
  • Submit a check or money order for the licensure fee of $550 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Submit a Certificate of Business from the town hall in the town in which you plan to open your detective agency, or Corporate Structure/Articles of Incorporation from the Secretary of State’s Office

Mail the above items to the Department of State Police Certification Unit, 485 Maple St, Danvers, MA 01923. Your application package will be assigned to a State Police investigator, who will conduct a thorough background investigation of the information provided. Once the investigation is complete, the investigator will contact you for a personal interview. The entire licensing process takes from two to six weeks.

If you plan to carry a firearm, you must submit an Application for License to Carry Firearms. Enclose a copy of your Firearms Safety Certificate and the application fee of $100, along with a copy of your driver’s license, a letter requesting a License to Carry Firearms, and two letters of reference. Mail to Department of Criminal Justice Information Services, 200 Arlington St, Suite 2200, Chelsea, MA 02150.

Step 4. Now that You’re a Licensed Private Detective in Massachusetts

Congratulations! You have earned your private detective license in Massachusetts! Make sure to maintain your license properly by renewing each year as directed. You will be sent renewal information from the Massachusetts State Police Certification Unit, including the Private Detective License Renewal Form. You must pay a renewal fee of $150 via check or money order to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Enclose a copy of your original $5000 Surety Bond or continuation certificate, signed and notarized Release of Information, and current Private Detective license.

To renew your firearms license, which also expires annually, you must appear in person before the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services in Chelsea 90 days before the license is set to expire. You will need a renewal fee of $100, the completed renewal application, a copy of your driver’s license, and your current License to Carry Firearms.

Your name will be published on the Certification Unit’s updated List of Licensed Private Detectives in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Massachusetts

Over five hundred private investigators were employed in Massachusetts in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  Their ranks are expected to increase by 30.5% in the period from 2010 to 2020 based on projections from the state’s Labor and Workforce Development Council.

In particular, Framingham and Worcester are good places to find PI jobs in the state.  Both are in the top metropolitan areas in the U.S. with the highest concentration of jobs in this field.  Framingham was second with 110 jobs in 2012, while Worcester was ninth with 100 jobs.

The BLS also provides salary data, and the annual median income of private investigators in Massachusetts was $47,770 in 2012.  Experienced PIs in the top 10th percentile of their salary bracket earned an average of $72,110 a year.  The salaries for the median and top 10th percentile incomes for private investigators in selected cities in Massachusetts are listed below:

Massachusetts City
Average Annual Salary
Boston
$45470
Framingham
$43250
Lowell
$50520
Worcester
$53980

A license from the Department of Public Safety is required to become a private investigator in Massachusetts.  Applicants must have recommendation letters from three reputable citizens of the state and cannot have been convicted of a felony.  Three years of experience is required in one of the following:

  • Doing investigative work as a detective
  • Having been a member of a U.S. investigative service
  • Having been a police officer (higher than patrolman)

Police officers who have been employed for ten years in good standing can also apply for a private investigator’s license.

A number of different types of employment are available to those with PI licenses in Massachusetts.  According to 2010 employment figures from the state’s Labor and Workforce Development Council, nearly 19% of all private investigators in the state were self-employed.  Sixty-four percent worked in administrative and support services.

Detailed employment and salary data from the BLS is available for a number of cities in Massachusetts.  This is shown in the table below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Massachusetts

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy MA-NH
460
52080
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy MA NECTA Division
70
Estimate not released
Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton MA NECTA Division
Estimate not released
45720
Framingham MA NECTA Division
110
42960
Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford MA-NH NECTA Division
Estimate not released
52690
Nashua NH-MA NECTA Division
Estimate not released
46910
Providence-Fall River-Warwick RI-MA
40
Estimate not released
Worcester MA-CT
100
53010

 


 

Michigan

Private investigators in Michigan, most often referred to as professional investigators, are regulated under Public Act 285, which defines a professional investigator as an individual who conducts investigation business.

The term “investigation business” under the Act is defined as investigation for the purpose of obtaining information pertaining to crimes. Professional investigators may perform any number of activities when engaged in investigation business, including:

  • Securing evidence to be used in court
  • Locating and/or recovering stolen property
  • Electronic tracking
  • Using computer forensics findings as evidence in court
  • Using devices for eavesdropping and/or observation

Step 1. Meet Michigan’s Minimum Licensing Requirements

Before you can pursue a career as a private detective in Michigan, you must ensure you meet minimum requirements for licensure. Specifically, you must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be at least 25 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions involving the following:
    • Dishonesty or fraud
    • Unauthorized selling or divulging information or evidence
    • Impersonating a law enforcement official
    • Illegally using or possessing a dangerous weapon
    • Controlled substances
    • Assault
  • Have no more than 2 misdemeanor alcohol-related offenses
  • Have no dishonorable discharge from the United States military

Step 2. Meet Minimum Experience or Education Requirements in Michigan

To become a licensed private detective in Michigan, you must have at least 3 years of full-time experience in one of the following:

  • Engaging in a legal professional investigation business as an investigator, licensee or registrant
  • Conducting a professional investigation agency
  • Working in investigative or intelligence activities, which may include the following professions:
    • Investigator
    • Detective
    • Special agent
    • Intelligence specialist
    • Parole agent
    • Probation officer
    • Certified police officer
  • Engaging in the investigation business as a full-time proprietary or in-house investigator employed by a business or an attorney
  • Working as an investigative reporter employed by a media outlet

You may also meet the minimum requirements for licensure through the completion of a bachelor’s degree program or higher in one of the following areas:

  • Police administration
  • Security management
  • Investigation
  • Law
  • Criminal justice
  • Computer forensics

Step 3. Apply for Michigan Licensure as a Private Investigator

Once you determine you have successfully met the minimum requirements for licensure either through education or experience, you can apply using the Application for Professional Investigator License Holder. Along with a completed application, you must submit the following:

  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • Completed Employment Verification forms or an official transcript if you are qualifying through a degree (included in application packet)
  • A Professional Investigator Surety Bond or Insurance Amendatory Endorsement form that covers all 3 years of the license period
  • A copy of your Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization (Available through the Bureau of Commercial Services at 517-241-6470)
  • A copy of your Certificate of Co-Partnership from the county clerk where your business is located
  • An Assumed Name Certificate or DBA if you are using a name that is different from your name or your corporation or organization name (Available from the Bureau of Commercial Services, Corporate Division, at 517-241-6470)
  • Five (5) notarized Personal Reference forms  from individuals who can attest to knowing you for at least 5 years (included in application packet)

If you are currently a law enforcement officer, you may not be licensed in the State of Michigan as a private detective unless you produce one of the following to the Department:

  • Written permission to act as a private investigator from your employer
  • A copy of your jurisdiction’s published policies and procedures that includes verbiage of officers being allowed to seek off-duty employment as a private investigator
  • A copy of the collective bargaining agreement from your jurisdiction

The licensing fees for private investigators in Michigan are as follows (make check payable to the State of Michigan):

  • Individual License $750
  • Partnership License $750
  • Corporation License $750
  • Limited Liability Company License $750

The completed application and related documentation should be sent to:

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Licensing Division
Professional Investigator
Post Office Box 30018
Lansing, Michigan 48909

Step 4. Get to Work in Michigan

The Michigan Council of Private Investigators is a good source for finding work in the State of Michigan as a private investigator. Membership in the Council may provide you with a number of opportunities for networking and information regarding the private investigation practice in the state.

Note: According to the Professional Investigator Licensure Act, all private investigators in Michigan must be fingerprinted upon being hired by an agency.

Professional certification in this field is often advantageous for career advancement and professional achievement. ASIS International offers the Professional Certified Investigator certification, which requires at least 5 years of experience in investigations, 2 of which must be in case management.

Step 5. Maintain your Michigan License

You must apply for re-licensure every 3 years as a private investigator in Michigan by completing the Application for Relicensure as a Professional Investigator Agency form and submitting a $750 renewal fee (payable to the State of Michigan).


Private Investigator Salary Information for Michigan

The outlook for private investigators in Michigan is promising.  Job growth in Michigan in this field is expected to be 13.6% in the period between 2008 and 2018 according to the state’s Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that 210 private investigators were employed in Michigan in 2012 with nearly half of them located in the Detroit area.

The average salary for private investigators in Michigan in 2012 is available from the BLS, along with the average salary for experienced PIs, who earned in the 90th percentile of their profession.

This information is presented below for the state and for Detroit.

Michigan City
Average Annual Salary
Michigan-statewide
$47470
Detroit
$48020

The state of Michigan requires a license to work as a private detective. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs issues these licenses.  Applicants must be at least 25 years old and have been involved in one of the following occupations full-time for at least three years:

  • Served as an investigative employee in another state
  • Worked as an investigator for one who holds a license for conducting a professional investigative agency
  • Served as a law enforcement officer for a government agency
  • Graduated with a bachelor’s or graduate degree in a field such as criminal justice or police administration
  • Served as an in-house investigator for a business or attorney
  • Served as an investigative report for a recognized media outlet

Applicants who are successful in obtaining a license have a variety of job options available to them.  One area that is booming is computer forensics.  Private investigators can help track down those who have perpetrated fraud or harassed individuals using a computer.

Detailed information on hourly and annual salaries of private investigators in Michigan is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private Investigator Salaries in Michigan

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn MI Metropolitan Division
70
51320
Detroit-Warren-Livonia MI
100
48020

 


 

Minnesota

The Minnesota Private Detective and Protective Agent Services Board ensures that investigative and security services practitioners in the state meet qualifications and training for licensure and maintain the standards set forth by the Minnesota Statutes and Administrative Rules. In total, the Board oversees more than 300 investigative and security license holders in the state.

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Private Detective Licensure in Minnesota

To become a private investigator in Minnesota, you must first meet minimum requirements for licensure, which include the following:

  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • You must be free of felony convictions.
  • You must be able to supply a $10,000 surety bond at the time of your application.
  • You must be able to supply Proof of Financial Responsibility at the time of your application.

Step 2. Complete a Comprehensive Education Program in Minnesota

Although not a requirement of private investigators in Minnesota, many individuals seeking this career path choose to first pursue an associate’s degree or higher in criminal justice or a related program as to achieve the basic framework of the judicial and criminal justice system.

Further, the experience requirement for licensure as a private investigator in Minnesota (see Step 3) may be facilitated when you hold a college degree, as many employers in the field of criminal justice or law enforcement now require their employees to possess degrees or other formal training.

Step 3. Show Proof of Documented Professional Hours

To qualify for a private detective license in Minnesota, you must be able to document at least 6,000 hours of investigative employment in one or more of the following areas:

  • Investigator with a licensed private detective/investigative agency
  • Investigator with a U.S. government investigative service
  • Investigator for a city police department or sheriff’s office

Step 4. Request a Minnesota Application Package

Once you have successfully met the experience requirements for licensure in Minnesota as a private investigator, you can request an application package from the Board by submitting a non-refundable fee of $25 (made payable to the Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services), along with a written request that specifies you are interested in receiving an application for a private detective and the level at which you want to apply*, to:

State of Minnesota
Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services
1430 Maryland Avenue East
St. Paul, Minnesota, 55106

*You may apply for a private detective license as a Sole Proprietor (individual), a Partnership/LLP, or as a Corporation/Limited Liability Company (LLC).

If you are applying as a sole proprietor, it means you serve as the day-to-day manager and supervisor of the licensed activity and that you may or may not have employees. You may also apply as a partnership or corporation with a qualified representative candidate individual who will serve as the day-to-day manager and supervisor of the licensed activity.

Step 5. Apply for Licensure in Minnesota as a Private Investigator

Once you receive your application packet from the Board, you must complete it and send it to the Board, along with the private detective license fee of:

  • Individual: $1,000
  • Partnership: $1,700
  • Corporation/LLC: $1,900

You must also submit the following documents with your application (all forms are included in your application packet):

  • A completed informed consent criminal history form
  • A recent photograph
  • A full set of fingerprints
  • Five (5) references from people not related to you who have known you for at least 5 years
  • If you are applying as a qualified representative, you must include documentation of work experience

Step 6. Getting to Work in Minnesota

You must complete pre-assignment training within the first 21 days of your employment. Private investigators must complete at least 12 hours of initial training, and employers are responsible for ensuring their employees meet this requirement.

Information on training for private investigators, including a list of approved training providers and course application documents, can be found on the Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services website.

If you will carry any type of weapon, including a firearm, baton, or other device, you must also complete armed training, which consists of an additional 6 hours of training, including first aid and CPR certification.

Step 7. Maintain your Minnesota License

Private investigators in Minnesota are required to complete at least 6 hours of continuing training during every 2-year renewal period. If you complete more than 6 hours of training in any given renewal period, you may apply that to the next renewal period (with the exception of continuing armed training).

License reissuance fees are as follows:

  • 0 employees: $540
  • 1 to 10 employees: $710
  • 11 to 25 employees: $880
  • 26 to 50 employees: $1,050
  • 51 or more employees: $1,220


Private Investigator Salary Information for Minnesota

Job growth for private investigators in Minnesota is expected to increase 12.5% in the ten years leading up to 2020, according to the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.  As of 2012, 150 private investigators were employed in Minnesota based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Salary data for the state as a whole and for the Twin Cities area is also available from the BLS.

The salaries for the annual median wage and those of experienced private investigators in the top ten percent of their income bracket are listed below.

Minnesota City
Average Annual Salary
Minnesota-statewide
$42360
Minneapolis-St. Paul
$42730

The seven-county area that encompasses the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area is an especially good part of the state for private investigators.  According to BLS statistics, over 73% of the state’s PIs were located in this area.  In addition, the state projected job growth of 12.3% from 2010 to 2020 in this location.

A license from the Board of Private Detective and Protective Agency Services is required to become a private detective in Minnesota.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old.  Private detectives must provide liability insurance in the form of a $10,000 surety bond.

A substantial amount of experience is required to become a PI in Minnesota.  Applicants must have 6,000 hours of the following type of investigative employment experience or an equivalent type:

  • Licensed private detective or investigative agency
  • U.S. government investigative service
  • Municipal police or sheriff’s office

In addition, fingerprints must be submitted along with five character references.

The BLS provides detailed information on the wages of those PIs who were licensed and working in the Twin City area in 2012.  This is presented in the table below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Minnesota

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
110
49130

 


 

Mississippi

Mississippi, to date, has no licensing or regulation requirements for private investigators. However, private investigators and private investigative agencies operating in Mississippi still have a number of options to pursue when looking to set up shop in the state.

Step 1. Complete an Education Program in Mississippi

An education in criminal justice or a similar program is a smart, first step for many individuals seeking careers as private investigators.

In addition to serving as a solid foundation for this profession, a bachelor’s degree, graduate degree or graduate certificate in criminal justice, computer forensics, security management, investigation, or a related program is also mandatory for other professions in the field of law enforcement or investigations. As such, completing a degree program is a logical step for anyone with an interest in the private investigations field.

Step 2. Seek Experience in Criminal Justice

Just as an education is an important aspect of the field of private investigation, so is experience, as many private investigation agencies seek individuals with experience in investigations or similar areas. As such, upon graduating from a college degree program, it may be wise to seek entry-level employment in an investigative or detective agency as to gain valuable experience in the field.

Step 3. Attain Professional Recognition in Mississippi

Even though Mississippi does not currently have any laws governing the practice of private detectives in the state, many professionals choose to pursue membership in a professional association as to set themselves apart from others in the field.

For example, the Mississippi Private Investigators Association offers membership to private investigators in the state. Through membership, private investigators can receive professional recognition while also engaging in productive and practical dialogue about issues that affect the industry. Further, the Association will serve as a united front for the development of any future legislation in Mississippi.

Private investigators in Mississippi may also seek professional certification through a national association like ASIS International, which offers the Professional Certified Investigator designation, which requires at least 5 years of experience in investigations.

Step 4. Obtain a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Mississippi

If you intend to carry a firearm as a private detective, you must apply for a permit to carry a concealed weapon (pistol, stun gun or revolver) through the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

To qualify to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, you must:

  1. Be at least 21 years old
  2. Be a resident of the State of Mississippi for at least 12 months (Active military or retired law enforcement personnel are exempt from this requirement.)
  3. Have no felony convictions
  4. Not chronically or habitually abuse controlled substances or alcohol
  5. Not been adjudicated mentally incompetent in the last 5 years
  6. Not be a fugitive from justice
  7. Not be disqualified to possess or use a weapon based on federal law

To apply to carry a firearm, you must:

  1. Complete an Individual Firearms Permit application.
  2. Notarize the application and bring it to the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Jackson or one of the Mississippi Highway Patrol substations, which are located in:
    1. Hattiesburg
    2. Greenwood
    3. Batesville
    4. New Albany
    5. Starkville
    6. Meridian
    7. Biloxi
    8. Brookhaven
  3. Present two forms of identification (one being a government-issued photo ID) and get fingerprinted when you drop off your application.
  4. Submit a fee in the amount of $138, which includes the application fee of $106 and the fingerprint fee of $32 (cash or check made payable to the Department of Public Safety).

Step 5. Maintain your Weapons Permit in Mississippi

To renew your permit, you must complete the Individual Firearms Permit Renewal application and submit the renewal application fee of $56. Permits are renewed every 5 years.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Mississippi

The field of private investigation is growing in Mississippi with a 16.7% increase in employment projected between 2010 and 2020, according to the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.  As of 2012, 270 private investigations were employed in the state based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Jackson had the eighth highest concentration of jobs of any metropolitan area in the country in 2012.  Slightly more than 40% of the state’s PIs were based in Jackson.

The BLS also provides information on the 2012 salaries of private investigators.  The average annual salary in the state was $34,830.  Experienced professionals can earn significantly higher salaries.  The average annual salary of those in the top ten percent of earners was $67,220.  Ranges are listed for PIs in selected cities in Mississippi:

Mississippi City
Average Annual Salary
Jackson
$22610
Memphis area
$62840

The nonmetropolitan area of northeastern Mississippi had the fourth highest salaries of any nonmetropolitan area in the country.

It is relatively straightforward to become a private investigator or detective in Mississippi, since no special license is required.  It is recommended that PIs in the state obtain a business license.

Private investigators work in a number of different areas.  One area in high demand at the moment is computer forensics, given the amount of fraud that is carried out online combined with the sustained harassment of some people over the internet.

Many investigators work for insurance companies verifying workman compensation claims.  Others perform surveillance on spouses suspected of infidelity.  Businesses are another common source of employment, since companies frequently need to investigate suspected fraud.

Defense attorneys are another type of potential client.  Diligent investigative work can sometimes help a great deal with the defendants’ cases.

The BLS provides a great deal of information on employment levels and a breakdown of salaries by hourly and annual percentiles.  The following table lists this information for some of the areas of Mississippi that employ large numbers of private investigators.

Private Investigator Salaries in Mississippi

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Jackson MS
110
22610
Memphis TN-MS-AR
70
62840
Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Estimate not released
30190

 


 

Missouri

The Board of Private Investigator and Private Fire Investigator Examiners, through the Missouri Division of Professional Regulation, regulates and licenses professional investigators. The Division of Professional Regulation supports 40 licensing boards in the state, which in turn license more than 430,000 people.

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements in Missouri

If you want to become a private investigator in Missouri, you must first ensure you meet the minimum requirements for licensure as set forth by the Board:

  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You must be a citizen of the United States.
  • You must be capable of securing liability insurance in the amount of $250,000.

Although a degree from a college or university is not a requirement for becoming a private detective in Missouri, many individuals pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree or graduate certificate in criminal justice or a similar program as to attain a framework of knowledge in the criminal justice system. A degree program is a source of valuable information for achieving success as a private investigator.

Step 2. Apply for a Private Investigator License in Missouri

To become a private investigator in Missouri, you must complete an Application for Licensure – Private Investigator or Application for Licensure – Private Investigator Agency and submit the following:

  • $500 application fee (check or money order made payable to the Board of Private Investigator and Private Fire Investigator Examiners
  • Two passport-style photographs
  • Proof of liability and worker’s compensation insurance of no less than $250,000
  • A complete set of fingerprints – You must submit a set of fingerprints to the Board. You may choose to have your fingerprints electronically collected by registering with the Missouri Automated Criminal History site and scheduling an appointment to have your fingerprints collected by Cogent 3M by visiting www.machs.mo.gov and choosing “Click here to access MACHS Fingerprint Search Portal.”

Once your application and related documentation are received, you can expect a follow-up email informing you when your application will be reviewed by the Board.

Step 3. Pass Missouri’s Written Examination

Once the Board has reviewed your application for a Private Investigator license and determined you qualify for licensure, you can expect to receive information regarding the required examination.

The Board requires you to pass a written examination before you can achieve licensure in the state. The written examination, which is designed to assess your knowledge of investigator rules and regulations in Missouri, is given by the Board once it has been determined that you meet the minimum qualifications for licensure.

Note: The Board will not send an examination application or study guide until after you have applied for a license.

The written examination consists of 75 questions, which cover the following topics:

  • Current rules and regulations governing the practice of private investigating in Missouri: 55 questions
  • General practice of private investigators: 20 questions

You will have 2 hours to complete the examination, and you must score at least 70 percent to pass the exam.

The examination is administered by the Division of Professional Registration, which is located at 3605 Missouri Boulevard in Jefferson City, Missouri. The cost of the examination is $80, which is submitted at the same time as you submit your exam application.

Step 4. Get to Work and Maintain your Missouri License

Upon passing the examination, you will receive your license as a private detective in Missouri. In addition to using the Board of Private Investigator and Private Fire Investigators Examiners website as a source for the most up-to-date information regarding the profession in Missouri, you may find that joining a professional association, such as the Missouri Association of Private Investigators is an invaluable source of networking opportunities.

Many private investigators also seek professional certification in this field, such as ASIS International’s Professional Certified Investigator designation.

All private investigators in Missouri must maintain their license by completing at least 16 hours of continuing education units every two years. All license renewals are completed online.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Missouri

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 610 people were employed as private investigators in Missouri in 2012.  One of the best areas for jobs in the state is St. Louis.  It had the ninth highest level of private investigator and private detective employment of any metropolitan area in the country in 2012.

The BLS provides salary information for private investigators in Missouri.  The average salary of these professionals throughout the state was $47,710 in 2012.  Experienced professionals had substantially higher salaries, which averaged $79,310.

Salary data for selected cities in Missouri is listed below.  The average annual salary is followed by that of private investigators in the 90th percentile:

Missouri City
Average Annual Salary
Kansas City
$37120
St. Louis
$54460

The state of Missouri started requiring licenses for private investigators in the state in 2007.  They are provided by the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Regulation.

Applicants must be at least 21 years old and pass a background check and a two hour licensing exam to obtain a license from the.  Liability insurance is also required in the form of a $250,000 business general liability policy.

Once they have been licensed, most private investigators work for investigation and security services.  Others work for state or local government.  Additional sources of employment are with the management of companies.  A substantial number of private investigators work in legal services.

The highest salaries for private investigators tend to be in technical fields such aerospace manufacturing, computer systems design, and the manufacturing of navigational and electromedical devices.

Employment and detailed salary data for private investigators working in Missouri is available from the BLS.  A detailed breakdown of hourly and annual wages by percentile is provided in the table shown below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Missouri

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Kansas City MO-KS
240
37120
St. Louis MO-IL
390
54460

 


 

Montana

The Montana Board of Private Security Officers and Investigators, which operates through the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, regulates and licenses private investigators, as well as private investigator trainees.

Step 1. Meet Minimum License Requirements in Montana

Before applying for a license as a private investigator in Montana, you must first ensure you meet the minimum requirements for licensure, as set forth by the Montana Board of Private Security Officers and Investigators:

  • You must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent.
  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You must be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident of the United States.
  • You must have no felony convictions or convictions involving more turpitude or the illegal use or possession of a dangerous weapon.
  • You must have no dishonorable discharge from the U.S. military.
  • You must not suffer from alcohol or narcotics addition or dependence.
  • You must be willing to undergo a background investigation and fingerprint check by the Montana Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation

Step 2. Meet Experience and Education Requirements for Licensure in Montana

You must possess at least 3 years of education or experience before you can apply for a private detective license in Montana.  You may qualify for licensure through a combination of experience, education and training, but education and training cannot exceed one-half of the experience required. You may meet the experience qualification through the following activities:

  • Employed as a private investigator or held a security of authority to conduct a private investigation business
  • Employed as an investigator, detective, special agent, or peace officer of a local, county, state or federal government

Many individuals seeking careers as private investigators often first pursue a degree program in criminal justice, public administration, sociology, or a similar field as to obtain knowledge in the criminal justice system and achieve professional recognition and advancement.

If you qualify through a combination of experience and education, you must be able to provide proof of your education through the submission of transcripts, diplomas, seminar certificates, course completion certificates, or similar documentation.

Step 3. Apply for Private Investigator License in Montana

Once you have determined that you meet all of the necessary requirements for licensure, you must apply for a private investigator license by completing the Application for Private Investigator and submit the following documents:

  • $250 application fee* (or $150 application fee* for a private investigator trainee)
  • $20 examination fee*
  • Proof of commercial general liability insurance (which includes personal injury and errors and omission coverage) of at least $500,000
  • A passport-style photograph
  • Copy of driver’s license or birth certificate for proof of age
  • Copy of birth certificate or U.S. passport or immigration card for proof of citizenship or permanent legal residency
  • Copy of diploma or GED certificate
  • At least three references not related by blood or marriage
  • Copy of DD-214 (if you served in the military)
  • Proof of education/experience
  • Copy of current firearms certificate (if applicable)

*Check or money order made payable to the Montana Board of Private Security

The Board will mail you fingerprint cards, a self-addressed envelope, and instructions for obtaining your fingerprints. You can obtain your fingerprints from most local enforcement agencies. Once you have your fingerprints completed, you must send the completed card and a check and money order for $27.25 (made payable to the Montana Department of Justice) to:

Montana Criminal Records
303 North Roberts
Post Office Box 201403
Helena, Montana 59620

Step 4. Sit for Montana’s Examination for Private Investigators

Once your application has been approved by the Board, you can expect to receive a letter qualifying you to sit for the private investigator examination, which includes information on Montana laws and regulations regarding the private investigation business.

You may take the exam at the Board’s office in Helena or at a local job service location. You must contact the Board to notify them of the location where you will be taking the exam at least one week prior to your scheduled exam date.

Step 5. Qualify for a Firearms Endorsement in Montana

If you will carry a firearm as a private detective, you must achieve a firearms endorsement through the State of Montana, which includes completing a Board-approved firearms training course, applying for the endorsement by completing an online application, and paying the $50 application fee.

Note: You must first be licensed as a private investigator in the State of Montana before you can apply for a firearms endorsement, and you must maintain your license to maintain your firearms endorsement.

Step 6. Get to Work in Montana

Once you have successfully completed the examination, you will receive your license as a private investigator in Montana. You may choose to join a professional association, such as the Montana Association of Private Investigators (no active website found) or the United States Association of Professional Investigators, or obtain professional certification through an association such as ASIS International, which offers the Professional Certified Investigator designation for private investigators with at least 5 years of experience.

Step 7. Keep Your Montana License Current

To maintain your private investigator license in Montana, you must renew your license on an annual basis and pay the renewal fee of $175. You can complete your renewal online.

If you have a firearms endorsement, you must also renew that on an annual basis and pay the renewal fee of $50.


Private Investigator Salary Information for Montana

Private investigators in Montana earned an average annual salary of $43,900 in 2012 based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  More experienced investigators earning top salaries earned $70,460 a year on average in the state.

To become a private investigator or private detective in Montana, the state requires a license from the Montana Board of Private Security Patrol Officers and Investigators.  Applicants must be at least 21 years old.  They will have to submit proof that they have 5,400 hours (three years) of investigative experience and that they have liability insurance.

An examination is also required to become a PI in Montana.  Private investigators that want to be armed have to complete a firearms training program that has been approved by the Board.

Slightly more than a third of private investigators are self-employed.  Those who work for companies often work for state and local governments, along with the following services:

  • Investigative and security
  • Legal
  • Business Support

The types of work carried out by private investigators includes:

  • Conducting background checks for law enforcement agencies
  • Helping insurance companies or lawyers with cases such as insurance fraud or personal injury
  • Investigating people in divorces that are being disputed
  • Investigating schemes such as billing fraud for corporations
  • Gathering financial data about companies or people
  • Preparing loss prevention reports for store managers
  • Helping defense attorneys prepare their cases
  • Investigating if employees are stealing from retail stores or large firms

 


 

Nebraska

Private detectives in Nebraska are professionals who are licensed to engage in a private detective business (sole proprietor) without the assistance of any employee, while plain-clothes investigators are licensed professionals who work as employees on behalf of a private detective agency.

The Licensing Division of Nebraska’s Secretary of State regulates and licenses private detectives, private detective agencies, and plain clothes investigators in the State of Nebraska, from Omaha and Lincoln to Bellevue and Grand Island.

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Licensure in Nebraska

Before you can engage in any private detective business in Nebraska, you must ensure you meet minimum requirements for licensure, which include being at least 21 years old.

You may not apply for a private investigator license in the State of Nebraska if you engage in debt collection or are employed by a debt collector or have been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude.

Step 2. Meet Nebraska Education and Experience Requirements

To qualify for a private investigator license or private investigator agency license, you must show proof of the completion of one of the following:

  • A minimum of 3,000 hours of investigative experience
  • A minimum of 2,500 hours of investigative experience AND an associate’s degree in criminal justice (or a closely related field) from an accredited college or university
  • A minimum of 2,000 hours of investigative experience AND a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice (or a closely related field) from an accredited college or university

Investigative experience is defined as working in an investigative capacity for a city, county, state or federal law enforcement agency or private investigation company.

Note: Plain-clothes investigators do NOT have to meet education or experience requirements to qualify for licensure.

Step 3. Apply for your Nebraska State License

Once you have ensured you meet the minimum qualification for licensure and can provide documentation of the completion of your experience and education qualifications, you can apply for a license by completing the Application for Plain Clothes or Private Detective License or an Application for Private Detective Agency.

Along with your completed application, you must provide the following documents to the Division of Licensing:

  • Licensing Fee
    • Private Detective Agency: $100 + $38 (license plus background check)
    • Private Detective: $50 + $38
    • Plain Clothes Investigator: $25 + $38
  • Two fingerprint cards (for a national criminal history record check through the FBI), which can be completed at any local law enforcement office
  • A signed and authorized Release of Information form
  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • Documentation showing proof of experience/education (not required for plain clothes investigators)
  • Proof of $10,000 surety bond (not required for plain clothes investigators)

Mail the completed application and related documentation/fee to:

Division of Licensing
P.O. Box 94608
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509

Step 4. Take the Nebraska Examination for Private Investigator License

Once the Division of Licensing has reviewed and approved your application (this can take up to 90 days), you will receive notification that you are eligible to take the examination, which includes information related to the Nebraska Private Detective Act.

Testing for all eligible candidates takes place on the third Wednesday of each month at 10:00 AM at the Nebraska State Capitol Building, Room 1305, in Lincoln. You must contact the Secretary of State’s Office at 402-471-2385 to notify them when you will be taking the examination.

You must score at least 80 percent on the examination to pass. If you fail the exam, you must wait at least 21 days to retake it.

Step 5. Getting to Work and Keeping your Nebraska License Current

Upon passing the examination for licensure, you will be licensed in the State of Nebraska. Private investigators may find a wealth of information and networking opportunities by seeking membership in a professional association, such as the Nebraska Association of Private Investigators.

The Nebraska Secretary of State also maintains a list of licensed private detectives and private detective agencies in Nebraska.

All licenses (private detective, plain clothes investigator, and private detective agency) must be renewed by June 30th of every even-numbered year, and a Renewal Application for Plain Clothes or Private Detective License or Renewal for Private Detective Agency must be completed. Renewal fees are as follows:

  • Private Detective: $50
  • Private Detective Agency: $100
  • Plain Clothes Investigator: $25


Private Investigator Salary Information for Nebraska

Three hundred and fifty private investigators worked in Nebraska in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  The state can be a lucrative place to work as a private investigator or private detective.  The BLS spotlighted the state as having the fifth highest average PI salary of any state in the country.  This is particularly notable, since Nebraska has a lower cost of living than many other places in the U.S.

Some categories of private investigation are more lucrative than others in Nebraska.  The state’s Department of Labor indicated that private investigators who worked for insurance carriers and related activities in 2013 made nearly 40% more than those who worked in the field of credit intermediation.

The BLS provides 2012 salary data for Nebraska.  The median wage and the average of salary of experienced PIs in the top tenth percentile are listed below:

Nebraska City
Average Annual Salary
Nebraska-statewide
$65500
Omaha
$64820

PI salaries increased during 2013.  The median wage in the state for that year was $66,520 according to Nebraska’s Office of Labor Market Information.

A license from the state is required to become a private investigator in Nebraska.  The fees are slightly different, depending on whether the application is to be a private detective or a plain-clothes investigator.

There are a number of requirements that are identical between these two categories of investigator, although private detectives are required to have liability insurance in the form of a $10,000 surety bond.

All applicants must undergo a background check by the Nebraska State Patrol and take a written exam.  A substantial amount of experience is required, although it varies depending on the educational background of the applicant.  The breakdown is as follows:

  • No degree:  3000 hours of experience
  • Associate’s degree:  2500 hours of experience
  • Bachelor’s degree:  2000 hours of experience

Once applicants have become private investigators, information on their salaries is tallied by the BLS.  A detailed breakdown of hourly and annual wages for 2012 in the Omaha area is provided in the table below.

Private Investigator Salaries in Nebraska

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Omaha-Council Bluffs NE-IA
250
61500

 


 

Nevada

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.”

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:

You must:

  • 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.

Nevada City
Average Annual Salary
Nevada-statewide
$49570
Las Vegas
$47510

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

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Las Vegas-Paradise NV
160
52080

 


 

New Hampshire

Private investigators, according to the Department of Safety’s Permits and Licensing Unit for Security/Detectives, are individuals engaged in conducting investigations, which may include:

  • Unsolved crimes
  • Insurance claims
  • Civil litigation issues
  • Clandestine surveillance
  • Locating of missing persons or property
  • Locating escaped felons or wanted persons

Regulation and licensing of private investigators remains the same throughout the state, regardless of whether you reside in Manchester, Nashua, Derry Village, or East Concord.

*(Private investigators in New Hampshire are defined as investigative professionals without employees and who are not employees of a PI agency themselves, while private investigator employees are employees of private investigator agencies.)

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements in New Hampshire

To qualify for a private investigator license in New Hampshire, you must meet a number of minimum requirements. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a residents of the United States
  • Have no felony, domestic violence, or abuse convictions
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions associated with theft, honesty, fraud, or sale or use of controlled substances

Step 2. Obtain the Necessary Experience and/or Education in New Hampshire

Eligible candidates for private investigator licenses (private investigator employees are exempt from the education/experience requirements) in New Hampshire must possess one of the following:

  • At least 4 years of experience in one of the following positions:
    • As a director of security or senior officer of a company or corporation or licensed security service
    • As a full-time adjuster, risk manager, or claims investigator for an insurance carrier or adjusting company
    • As a full-time law enforcement officer for a county, state, federal, college or university, or municipal police department
  • At least 2 years of employment as a full-time investigator for a private investigative agency AND one of the following:
    • An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from an accredited college or university
    • Certification from the American Society for Industrial Security as a certified professional investigator
    • Certification from the National Association of Legal Investigators as a certified legal investigator
  • At least 4 years of employment as a full-time investigator for a licensed private investigator or agency
  • At least 4 years of experience as a full-time experience as a full-time firefighter and certification by the International Association of Arson Investigators

Certification by the American Society for Industrial Security in security operations and at least 2 years of experience.

Step 3. Complete Firearms Training in New Hampshire

If you want to carry a firearm as a private investigator in New Hampshire, you must complete one of the following firearms training courses (or equivalent approved courses):

  • Firearms instructor school through the Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • National Rifle Association police firearms instructor course
  • Police standards and training council firearms instructor school
  • Firearms instructor school through SIG Sauer or Smith & Wesson

Step 4. Apply for your New Hampshire License

To apply for a private investigator license, you must complete the appropriate Application for Licensure:

And provide the following to the Department of Safety:

  • A two-year, $50,000 surety bond on an approved form
  • $150 application fee (or $500 application fee for a private investigator agency license)
  • $25 criminal record check fee
  • $10 background investigation fee
  • $26.50 fingerprinting fee (for armed status applicants only)

To schedule your fingerprints, you must make an appointment by calling 603-223-3873. You must make the appointment prior to dropping off your application for licensure.

Note: All forms must be printed out, completed and delivered in person (DO NOT mail forms) to:

Department of Safety
Room 106 (Permits and Licensing)
33 Hazen Drive
Concord, New Hampshire

Step 5. Network and Maintain your New Hampshire License

You may choose to seek membership in a professional association, such as the New Hampshire League of Investigators, as you can find a wealth of information regarding state investigative agencies, events, and networking groups.

All licenses for private investigators in New Hampshire must be renewed every 2 years, and individuals must complete the renewal application, pay the renewal fee and provide evidence that their surety bond is in force upon renewal.

Renewal fees are as follows:

  • Private Investigator Employee: $50 (plus $10 background investigation fee and $25 criminal record check)
  • Private Investigator: $150 50 (plus $10 background investigation fee and $25 criminal record check)
  • Private Investigator Agency: $500 50 (plus $10 background investigation fee and $25 criminal record check)

All armed private investigators in New Hampshire must meet the minimum requirements in the proficiency in the use of firearms every year, which include completing the practical police course or tactical revolver course (with a minimum score of 75 percent) and completing at least four hours of instruction, including:

  • Firearms techniques and safety
  • Laws on the use of deadly force
  • Moral and ethical use of force


Private Investigator Salary Information for New Hampshire

New Hampshire is projected to have a high rate of job growth in the field of private investigation.  According to New Hampshire Employment Security, the number of jobs is projected to increase 22.2% in the period from 2008 to 2018.

One hundred and ninety PIs were employed in New Hampshire in 2012 according to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Their average salary was $45,330 with more experienced private investigators earning $59,860 in the top 10th percentile.  Information on the 2012 salaries in the following NECTA regions is available from the BLS:

New Hampshire City
Average Annual Salary
Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford
$52690
Nashua
$46910

A license from the State Police of New Hampshire is required to become a private investigator or private detective in the state.  Applicants must be at least 18 years old and undergo a criminal background check.  Liability insurance in the form of a $50,000 surety bond is also required.

A significant amount of experience is required to be able to apply to be a PI in New Hampshire.  Applicants must have one of the following types of fulltime experience:

  • Two years of investigative if they have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in fire service or criminal justice
  • Four years as a law enforcement officer
  • Four years as an investigator
  • Four years as a firefighter and professional certification by The International Association of Arson Investigators

While they must be a resident of the U.S., applicants are not required to be residents of New Hampshire.

For applicants who had been approved and working as New Hampshire private investigators in 2012, the BLS provides detailed salary information on the hourly and annual wages in various percentiles.  This is provided in the table below.

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford MA-NH NECTA Division
Estimate not released
52690
Nashua NH-MA NECTA Division
Estimate not released
46910

 


 

New Jersey

There are more than 2,000 licensed private detectives and private security agencies in the State of New Jersey, according to New Jersey’s Private Detective Unit.

The New Jersey State Police, Private Detective Unit, is responsible for the administration and enforcement of all laws relating to private detectives and private detective agencies in the State of New Jersey, which stems from the Private Detective Act of 1939. This Act includes all cities and municipalities in New Jersey, from Newark and Edison to Paterson, Jersey City, and Elizabeth.

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements in New Jersey

Similar to other licensed professions in the State of New Jersey, private investigators must meet these minimum requirements to be eligible for licensure:

  • A resident of the United States
  • At least 25 years old

Step 2. Complete New Jersey Education and Experience Requirements

To become a licensed private investigator in New Jersey, you must show proof of at least 5 years of experience as an investigator or police officer with a local or state police department or with an investigative agency for a county, city, state or federal organization.

Although there are no educational requirements for private investigators in New Jersey, many individuals pursuing this career path choose to first complete a degree program in criminal justice or a related field as to obtain a comprehensive understanding of and appreciation for the criminal justice system. Further, a degree from an accredited college or university often facilitates the process of obtaining the necessary experience required for licensure as a private investigator in New Jersey.

Step 3. Obtain a Complete Set of Fingerprints in New Jersey

You must submit to electronic fingerprinting to become a private detective in New Jersey.

Before you can obtain your fingerprints, you must contact the New Jersey State Police, Private Detective Unit at 609-633-9835 to request a temporary agent license number, which will be entered into block #7 of your Universal Form:

  • Universal Form for Owner/Operators
  • Universal Form for Private Detective Agency Employees

You must visit one of the MorphoTrak sites (a list of sites is available on their website: www.bioapplicant.com) to obtain your fingerprints. This service costs $67.50.

Step 4. Apply for a New Jersey License as a Private Investigator

Upon meeting the minimum education and experience requirements, you must apply for a private investigator license in New Jersey by completing the Application for Private Detective License and choosing the license for which you are applying:

  • Individual License
  • Corporate License
  • Corporate License Officer (does not need to meet the experience requirements)
  • LLC License
  • LLC License Member (does not need to meet the experience requirements)
  • Partnership License

You must also include the following documents with your completed application:

  • An application fee of $250 (firm, association or corporation is $300), made payable to the State of New Jersey
  • A passport-sized photograph
  • At least 5 references from reputable citizens over the age of 21 who can attest to your competency to serve as a licensed private investigator
  • A notarized and signed Authorization for Release of Information form (included with the application)
  • A Detective Agency License Surety Bond form
    • Individual surety bond must be at least $3,000
    • Firm, association or corporation surety bond must be at least $5,000

Mail the completed application and related documents to:

New Jersey State Police
Private Detective Unit
P.O. Box 7068
West Trenton, NJ 08628

Step 5. Pursue Work in New Jersey

Private investigators in New Jersey often seek membership in professional associations, such as the New Jersey Licensed Private Investigators Association. Members of the NJLPIA can network with other licensed private investigators in the state, participate in training events and conferences, and stay current on legislation that affects the private investigation profession.

Professional certification in this field is also common through such associations as:

Step 6. Maintain your New Jersey License

Private investigator licenses must be renewed every 2 years. They must be renewed by completing and notarizing the Renewal Application for New Jersey Private Detective License, submitting a recent passport-sized photograph, and paying the $200 individual license (or $250 for all other types of licenses) renewal fee.

If you are renewing a corporate or LLC license, you must include a copy of your last annual report or provide a Corporate Resolution that lists the current officers.

You must also include your current surety bond and submit to fingerprinting services again through MorphoTrak.


Private Investigator Salary Information for New Jersey

Two hundred and ninety private investigators worked in New Jersey in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  New openings are expected as current PIs retire, and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is projecting a growth rate of 8.6% in the ten year period leading up to 2020.

The 2012 annual median wage of private investigators in New Jersey was $54,370 based on information from the BLS.  Experienced PIs made substantially more.  The average wage for those in the top tenth percentile was $90,980.

The BLS also provides the 2012 salaries of private investigators in a number of cities in New Jersey.  The median wage is listed below, followed by the average salaries of the top earners:

New Jersey City
Average Annual Salary
Allentown
$56800
Edison
$42630
Newark
$53860

Private investigators in New Jersey are regulated as private detectives, and a license from the New Jersey State Police is required to operate in the state.  An applicant to be a private detective or private investigator must be at least 25 years old and have five years of experience as an investigator or police officer.  Liability insurance in the form of a $3000 surety bond is also required.

There are a number of career options for private investigators in New Jersey.  Potential employers include:

  • State and local government
  • Individuals
  • Police departments
  • Retail establishments
  • Insurance companies
  • Attorneys
  • High tech companies
  • Credit intermediation companies

Some of the most lucrative employers for private investigators include high tech companies such as aerotech firms and companies that make medical devices.

A detailed breakdown of salary information by city is available from the BLS for private investigators who worked in New Jersey in 2012.  It is presented in the table below.

Private Investigator Salaries in New Jersey

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ
110
57410
Edison-New Brunswick NJ Metropolitan Division
70
50900
Newark-Union NJ-PA Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
56960
New York-White Plains-Wayne NY-NJ Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
52200

 


 

New Mexico

The Securities Division of the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department regulates and licenses activities for about 100,000 individuals in New Mexico.

The Private Investigations Advisory Board, within the Securities Division, is responsible for licensing private investigators, private investigator managers, and private investigation companies using the Private Investigations Act to ensure ethical standards are upheld. Regardless of the location in New Mexico, from Albuquerque to Las Cruces to Rio Rancho and Roswell, license requirements for private investigators are the same.

Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for a New Mexico Private Investigator License

Before pursuing a license as a private investigator in New Mexico, you must first meet minimum requirements for licensure:

  • You must be a citizen of the United States.
  • You must have no felony convictions or convictions involving the illegal use or possession of a deadly weapon or violent act.
  • You must have a high school diploma.
  • You must be at least 21 years old.
  • You must be able to successfully pass a jurisprudence examination issued by the department.
  • You must be able to secure a surety bond of no less than $10,000.
  • If you will provide personal protection or bodyguard services, you must be able to secure general liability insurance of no less than $1 million.
  • You must be able to pass a background investigation.

Step 2. Complete Required Experience Hours in New Mexico

Candidates for private investigator licensure in New Mexico must show proof of the completion of at least 6,000 hours of investigative work in the last 5 years. Acceptable investigative work may include:

  • Investigation for the purpose of obtaining information regarding crimes or threats
  • The investigation of persons
  • Investigation for the purpose of locating or recovering lost or stolen property
  • Securing evidence to be used in court, in investigative committees, or for law enforcement officers

Although a college education is not a requirement for licensure as a private investigator in New Mexico, many individuals choose to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a similar program as to achieve a comprehensive framework of knowledge of the criminal justice system and of the many aspects of working within this system.

Step 3. Complete Mandatory Firearms Training in New Mexico

If you plan to carry a weapon as a private investigator in New Mexico, you must complete mandatory firearms training. All licensed private investigators must show proof of being firearm certified by an instructor who is recognized and certified by the New Mexico law enforcement academy or the National Rifle Association Law Enforcement Activities Division.

You must contact the Board at 505-476-4650 to receive information and forms related to firearms certification in New Mexico.

Step 4. Pass New Mexico’s Jurisprudence Examination

Before you apply for a license as a private investigator in New Mexico, you must pass a jurisprudence exam given by the Department. You must contact the Regulation and Licensing Department at 505-476-4500 to schedule a date and time to complete this examination.

Step 5. Apply for a Private Investigator License in New Mexico

Upon ensuring you meet the minimum requirements for licensure, you must complete the appropriate license application (and sign it in front of a notary public):