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Learn what it takes to become licensed to practice private investigation in any state,
including education, experience, and other qualifications.
More than 40 states and the District of Columbia require private investigators (PIs) to become
licensed before providing private investigation services to the public.
In a handful of states, licenses are required only at the city or county level.
Licenses for PIs are regulated through a mix of professional boards, state police departments,
and other state agencies. While there is no central designation for the profession,
the requirements generally include:
Minimum age ranging from 18 to 25
Associate’s degree in criminal justice or a related field
Proof of relevant experience
Background checks and information
Fingerprints and photo
Passage of an exam and continuing education where required
Candidates who meet the requirements may apply for licensure through the appropriate agency.
Consult our comprehensive state-by-state guide to find the specific requirements and
application process in your state, located to your right.
Considerations for Firearms and Other Weapons
In states that license PIs, weapon regulations vary widely.
Many states charge a higher license fee for armed investigators.
In many cases, PIs are subject to the same weapon requirements as other state residents,
while others grant special carry rights to licensed investigators.
A few states actually impose extra restrictions on private investigators.
License Application Fees
Application fees for private investigators cover a very broad range from as low as
$15 in Maryland to $1,450 in Connecticut. In addition, most states include bond requirements,
with the most common individual bond requirement being $10,000.
A few states have reciprocal licensing agreements that allow currently licensed private
investigators to work in the state. Most states allow investigators to work across state
lines for a limited period of time, generally less than a month. In these cases,
the investigation must be initiated in the investigator's home state.
The investigator is prohibited from soliciting business while in another state and from
establishing a business or setting up residence while conducting an investigation in that state.
License Renewal Requirements
Most individual private investigator licenses must be renewed periodically,
usually every one to two years. State fees also vary, from as low as $10 in Maryland to $500 in Nevada.
Keeping up with state licensing requirements, tracking renewals,
and submitting applications on time is critical to avoiding penalties.
With proactive license management from Harbor Compliance,
you can ensure continuous compliance wherever your next lead takes you.
Contact a Compliance Specialist
today to help your private investigations firm navigate licensure and certification in your state.
Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training
$91 for an unarmed private investigator license, $141 for an armed private investigator license, $141 for a combined unarmed guard and investigator license, and $191 for a combined armed guard and investigator license.
Filing fees depend on your individual situation. We do our best to calculate your filing fees
upfront and collect those fees today so we can get started. Your specialist will determine your
exact filing fees and invoice additional fees if required.
When processing government applications or disbursing filing fees, we may add an order processing fee to cover our administrative expenses.