How Do You Become a Licensed Detective?


Quick Answer

To become a private investigator, first find out which licenses are required in your state. Get the appropriate education and experience, pass the state exam, and apply for a state license. You are also required to go through mandatory firearms training.

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Full Answer

  1. Find out about private investigator licenses in your state

    Find out the requirements for your state and where to apply for a license. Some states do not require private investigators to have a license, but certain cities within the jurisdiction may require one.

  2. Meet the minimum requirements to obtain a license

    Most states require you to be 21 to 25 years of age to obtain a private investigator’s license. You must also be a legal U.S. resident or a U.S. citizen and must not have a dishonorable discharge from the military.

  3. Get education and experience

    Pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field. A good understanding of how the criminal justice system works improves your chances of becoming a private investigator. Gain experience working for a licensed security service, as an adjuster, claims investigator or risk manager.

  4. Pass a state exam

    File for a state license and sit for an exam. The exam covers laws and procedural protocols applicable to your state.

  5. Acquire firearms training

    Complete mandatory firearms training before becoming certified. Train with the National Rifle Association, FBI or any other approved body in your state.

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