Utah’s private investigators work to reveal the truth, one case at a time, whether collecting evidence on an insurance fraud case, helping a wrongfully convicted person clear their name, or confirming someone’s suspicions that their spouse is cheating. PI work involves everything from sifting through social media accounts to find a trail of breadcrumbs worth following up on, to good old-fashioned stakeouts with your camera at the ready to catch your target in the act.
|Meet Basic Utah Licensure Prerequisites|
|Meet Education and Experience Requirements in Utah|
|Submit Utah Application and Necessary Documentation|
|Now that you’re a Licensed Private Investigator in Utah|
Just 140 PIs were licensed to work within the borders of the entire state as of 2019 according to Utah’s Department of Workforce Services. This means very few toes to step on and very little competition in the PI game, so there’s plenty of opportunities to get a career in investigations off the ground here. If you got the grit and patience to handle camping out in your car for a night or two on a late-night stakeout and putting in some serious hours behind the keyboard combing through public records sounds more fun than stressful, then and you might end up with as many cases in the pipeline as you can possibly handle.
The Utah Department of Public Safety Private Security Bureau is responsible for issuing PI licenses to qualified applicants statewide – from Provo to Salt Lake City to Park City to West Valley City, West Jordan, and beyond.
Step 1. Meet Basic Licensure Prerequisites for Private Investigators in Utah
Before you embark upon a course of action to become a licensed private investigator in Utah, make sure that you meet these basic prerequisites:
- You are 21 years of age or older
- You are a legal resident of the state of Utah
- You are of good moral character
- You have the financial ability to post a surety bond
- You have the proper experience (see Step 2)
Step 2. Meet Education and Experience Requirements for Private Investigators in Utah
You must have a minimum of 2000 hours of investigative experience in order to apply for licensure to become a private investigator in Utah. Some applicants choose to apply as an Apprentice in order to gain this experience. To do so, you must have a firm offer of employment from a licensed private investigation agency in Utah. Use the application for licensure mentioned in Step 3 below, and follow the instructions..
No formal education is required of private investigator applicants in Utah. However, holding a college degree in criminal justice or a related discipline can be beneficial to you, not only when you apply for licensure but also as you seek job opportunities in private investigation. Examples of helpful degrees for private investigators in Utah include:
- Associate of Science-Criminal Justice
- Associate of Science – Paralegal Studies
- Associate of Applied Science- Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Science- Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Business Administration- Legal Studies
- Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
Step 3. Submit an Application and Supporting Documentation for Licensure as a Private Investigator in Utah
The next step in your quest to become a licensed Utah private investigator is to submit a license application to the Department of Public Safety. Use the Application for Private Investigator Licensure. Make sure to complete the application in its entirety and sign it, and attach all necessary supporting documentation. You must submit with the application:
- $100 for a private investigator registrant or apprentice license via credit card or check or money order payable to the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification
- $16.50 FBI fingerprinting/criminal background check fee via credit card or check or money order payable to the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification
- A recent passport-sized color photo of yourself taken in the last 90 days
- A photocopy of your driver’s license/state identification card
- One completed fingerprint card (pick one up at the Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification, or have your local police department or sheriff’s office assist you)
- A copy of the required surety bond for $10,000 (this is required for both private investigator registrants and apprentice applications)
- Verification of Investigative Experience form documenting 2000 hours of investigative experience
Mail or bring the above information to the Bureau of Criminal Identification, 3888 West 5400 South, Taylorsville, UT 84129. It may take the Bureau 90 days to process your application, which includes conducting a thorough background investigation and review by the Private Investigator Hearing and Licensure Board.
Step 4. Now That You’re a Licensed Private Investigator in Utah
Congratulations! You now hold a Utah license to work as a private investigator! Make sure to keep your license current by renewing it annually on schedule. Use the Renewal Application for Private Investigator License and include a $50 renewal fee. You must also provide proof of a $10,000 Surety Bond.
Opening a Private Investigation Agency in Utah
Now that you’re a licensed private investigator in Utah, you might want to consider working for yourself by opening your own licensed private investigation agency. You cannot do so, however, until you have 10,000 hours of documented investigative experience. You must also get a certificate of workers’ compensation insurance to submit with your Application for Private Investigative Agency license form. In addition, you must send:
- $200 application fee via check or money order payable to the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation
- Passport-type color photo of yourself taken in the last 90 days
- Photocopy of your driver’s license or state ID card
- Completed fingerprint card
- $16.50 fingerprinting fee (via check or money order to the Utah Bureau of Criminal Investigation)
- Proof of liability insurance in the amount of $500,000
Mail all of the above to Bureau of Criminal Identification, 3888 West 5400 South, Taylorsville, UT 84129.
Private Investigator Salary Information for Utah*
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2020, the annual, average salary for PIs was $66,040. While this is well above the national average of $53,331, the real money here is reserved for those PIs who have put in a few years of work and earned themselves a strong reputation in the industry. The most experienced PIs punched right through the six-figure mark, with the top 10% making an average of $120,280 during this time.
You’ve got a good chance to earn a great income in Utah. In fact, this state was ranked fourth in the nation in May 2019 by the BLS for PI pay.
To become a PI in Utah, you’ll need to earn a license through the Utah Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Identification (BCI). To do so, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old, you’ll need to pass a thorough background check, you’ll need to show proof of at least 2,000 hours of experience as an investigator, and you’ll need to carry liability insurance in the form of a $10,000 surety bond.
Private Investigator Salaries in Salt Lake City
The annual average salary of PIs in Salt Lake City in May 2020 was around $53,040. Mirroring the state, the most experienced PIs in Salt Lake City earn well into the six figures. BLS stats reveal the median to top 10% salary range for the approximately 50 licensed PIs in Salt Lake City was $40,320 – $111,940.
*May 2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics Salary and Job Market Figures for Private Detectives and Investigators reflect state data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.