Can I Become a Private Investigator Without a License?

Yes, you can become a Private Investigator without a PI license. In "most" jurisdictions, there are little to no requirements to work unlicensed under a fully licensed Private Investigator. So, you won't be able to work as a PI for yourself but you can work as a Private Investigator for a PI agency. It is recommended that you first learn how to perform investigations relevant to the PI industry, such as single person surveillance for insurance fraud files. The fact that individuals can work as unlicensed Investigators does not mean that their quality of investigations is less than licensed Investigators. In fact, due to poor industry standards, having a PI license does not make you a qualified Investigator. The poor industry standard come from the non-relevant experience most, if not all, jurisdictions require of you to become a licensed Private Investigator. This non-relevant experience can be education degrees and non-PI investigative experience.

Private Detective Aptitude Test


An industry standard flaw most jurisdictions have is regulations regarding law enforcement experience. Most jurisdictions allow you to obtain a PI license if you have law enforcement experience. Some jurisdictions also accept non-PI investigative experience to obtain a PI license. The problem with jurisdictions requiring previous investigative experience is that there is no such thing as equivalent Private Investigator experience. Sure, a career in law enforcement will gain you some transferable skills to bring to the Private Eye world. However, an investigative career outside of PI work will not provide you the skill-set to perform what we do the most: single person surveillance for insurance fraud investigations. Furthermore, PIs typically obtain all evidence via quality and litigious video. This is uncommon for most other investigative careers. Being a police officer will not make you a good PI the same way being a PI will not make you a good police officer.


Some jurisdictions also require you to take an approved