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What Credentials Do Private Investigators Need?

What does it take to become a private investigator?


Just as different states and jurisdictions have different licensing requirements for their private investigators (PIs), PIs come from a range of backgrounds. Some have military or law enforcement experience, while others simply enjoy solving problems and working with others. A number of private investigators even got their start working as security guards or drivers.


One thing is consistent throughout (in most states, at least): Private investigators need the proper licensure.


Basic Criteria for Becoming a PI

People looking to become a PI need to be at least 21 years old. Additionally, they must hold a high school diploma, pass a criminal background check, and be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. Private investigators must not have received a dishonorable discharge from the military.


Licensing Boards May Vary

A person’s licensing requirements for becoming a PI will almost certainly vary based on location. While Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Wyoming don’t require PIs to be licensed, most states enforce specific education and experience requirements.


Complete Your Application and Pass Your Exam

Once you review the criteria for becoming a private investigator in your state, you can submit your application and take your PI exam. Before doing so, you’ll also need—like we mentioned above—to pass a background check. This may also include getting fingerprinted.


From there, you simply need to provide a handful of personal and professional references. Then, if everything else lines up, and you have the right knowledge and experience, your PI career could be right at your fingertips.


There are over 36,000 PIs working in the U.S. today. With the right training, you could be one of them. Please contact us for more information, or to learn more about what we do here at Umbrella Security Services.

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