Become a NYS Licensed Private Investigator
New York Private Investigator Training and Development
How Do I Become A Private Investigator?
Every state has their own set of requirements to become a licensed private investigator. However, depending on your state’s regulations, you may not need a Private Investigator license to work in private investigations.
Do I need a PI license to be a private investigator in New York?
The question can be answered with this follow-up question: Do you want to run your own private investigation firm, or work under a private investigator? If you want to run your own independent private investigation business entity, then as the qualifying officer of that type of business, you will be required to hold and maintain a Private Investigator license. Otherwise, a PI license is not required in New York if you want to work for a private investigation agency. However, you will need to be fingerprinted and registered as support staff to the state, as well as undergo any requirements or vetting by that firm.
What are the requirements to become a licensed private investigator?
Each state has their own set of requirements for licensure. Since our training is based out of New York, and this is one of the most difficult states in the US to obtain a PI license, we will showcase New York’s requirements:
Requirements for the New York State PI License:
- Be at least 25 years old
- A US Citizen
- Have a High School Diploma
- The principal in a private investigation business entity: this includes overseeing the day-to-day affairs and possessing the expertise in the investigations.
- Pass the NYS private investigator exam within two years before you submit your application
- Three years experience or “equivalent position and experience.”
- Get fingerprinted for the Department of Justice Services (Information on finding a fingerprinting location and scheduling)
Do I need a college degree to be a private investigator?
New York State does not require a college degree, and no state in the United States requires a degree specifically in private investigations to become licensed. However, most private investigators hold an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a similar field. Some states do require that you complete state mandated courses to obtain your PI license. Regardless of your state’s requirements, we recommend that if you have never worked in private investigations, or you are returning to the field, to take private investigation development courses to gain knowledge and increase your credibility.
What skills do I need as a Private Investigator?
Private investigation firms look for individuals who showcase key abilities, such as:
- Excellent writing and proofreading skills (for report writing)
- Problem solving and deduction
- Acquire and analyze large amounts of data
- Articulate complex concepts into explanations that are concise and appropriate for the layperson
- Patience, persistence, and perseverance!
What is “Equivalent position and experience”?
From the NYS Division of Licensing Services:
“Experience” is defined as three years of full-time investigative experience as a proprietary investigator, employee of a licensed private investigator, or an investigator in a government investigative agency or police agency.
“Equivalent experience” is defined as three years in a position where the primary duties were to conduct investigations, or three years of experience supervising and reviewing the work of at least three persons performing investigations, or New York State police officers or fire marshals with 20 years of service irrespective of title.
How do I gain experience to start working as a private investigator?
Like many fields, this is part of a paradox: Many firms want previous experience, but how do you get previous experience if no one will hire without it?
The good news is that It is not impossible to be hired by a firm without previous experience as a private investigator. Private investigators come from a range of backgrounds: The most common include law enforcement and former military training. If you have previous experience where you performed problem solving and used deduction, (loss prevention, forensics, security, etc.) that can help increase your probability of being hired.
Does a New York State Private Investigator License Expire?
NYS PI Licenses expire two years from the date of issuance.
How long does it take to become a licensed private investigator?
This varies from state to state, and is relative to how long it takes for you to meet the requirements and pass the exam. In New York, it will take a minimum of three years (since you need at least 3 years of experience) before you can take the PI license exam, let alone be approved for a NYS Private Investigator license.