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How to Become a Private Investigator - Get a CC Intern License

Updated on November 19, 2010
Women make great Private Investigators.
Women make great Private Investigators.

So you want to be a private eye? You have snooped on your girlfriend or spouse and watched countless episodes of Magnum, P.I. , Sherlock Holmes and the likes. You can envision yourself becoming a private investigator. Lurking around gathering facts and getting paid for it certainly has its appeal.

The sole purpose of a private investigator is to uncover the truth. Watch and report. To become an investigator you should have an inquisitive nature, be charismatic enough to be able to engage people’s attention and hold conversation to subtly extract information while at the same time being able to switch over to a low profile personality whereby no one pays attention to you. You should have common sense, think quick and be a person of integrity, unafraid of working long hours. On many jobs as luck would have it nothing happens until you start packing your bags to leave. Only makes sense to stick around as you never know when any further activity may happen. In this field 9 to 5 nor set hour shifts exist.

Two types of Licenses

Private Investigators come from all walks of life. Although some may have been prior law enforcement or military, this background is not necessary to become a private eye. It does help especially upon application for license as you can get credit for past experience and education in either of these fields and possibly a reduced internship length of time.

With enough experience or upon completing a two year internship you can apply for a "C" license.

Without any experience you will need to apply for a "CC" interns license and be sponsored by a "C" licensee or private investigation agency.

Licensing Division for Private Investigators

Most states have their own requirements for licensing. You should check with the Department of State where you live for the states particular guidelines. In the State of Florida you need to request applications directly from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Licensing in Tallahassee, Fl. They are responsible for regulating the private investigative industry in accordance with the Florida Statutes, Chapter 493.

Private Investigator Application Process

A person submitting an application for a Class "CC" Private Investigator Intern License must complete a 40-hour class at a public or private educational institution operating under the direction of the Florida Department of Education. This training must be completed prior to submitting the application for the Class "CC" license. Upon completion of the training and the passing of the examination, a Certificate of Completion will be issued and must be submitted with the application for the license along with the application fee of $140 and fingerprint card.

A background investigation will be performed to see if you qualify to become a private investigator or intern. Private investigators and private investigative agencies serve in positions of trust. Untrained and unlicensed persons or businesses, or persons not of good moral character, are a threat to the public safety and welfare. Felons and applicants convicted of some types of misdemeanor charges are automatically disqualified.

If you are approved for a “CC” license you will need to find a company or agency to sponsor you as an intern for a two year period. It is normally best to find a sponsor first before investing time and money in applications due to the fact that not many companies are willing to take on new trainees. With enough law enforcement background and/or military training it is possible to get credit and thus lessen the internship time to qualify as a “C” licensee. “C” licensees are full fledged private investigators capable of conducting unsupervised investigations while working for an agency and with proper licensing can even openi up their own private investigative agency.

The Everything Private Investigation Book: Master the techniques of the pros to examine evidence, trace down people, and discover the truth
The Everything Private Investigation Book: Master the techniques of the pros to examine evidence, trace down people, and discover the truth

If you are thinking about becoming a Private Investigator, this is a really great buy. It provides a glimpse into the duties of one for a reasonable price.


Once approved as a “CC” you commence the internship by working a minimum of 20 hours a week under the direct supervision of a licensed private investigator. Your duties may include taking statements, taking pictures, visiting accident scenes, online research, pretext calls and doing surveillance. Taking good notes and writing reports are also required. Private Investigators also serve subpoenas and hand deliver court documents for attorneys.

There is no substitution for experience in the field. Becoming a good private investigator takes time and patience.

Apart from what you are taught by your employer , it doesn’t hurt to expand your knowledge by reading and attending subject specific seminars. Private investigator schools and private investigator classes are available online to provide you with better well rounded investigative skills. No two jobs are ever the same, the more exposure to different scenarios the better equipped to handle any and all situations that may arise out on the field. By joining one or two P.I. clubs or subscribing to P.I. magazines you can find out about the latest technology out there and keep ahead of the competition. Its also a great way to meet other Private Investigators and begin forming your network.

Becoming a private investigator and opening your own agency full or part time can be a lucrative and exciting career. Private investigators make anywhere between $35 to $75 an hour plus get reimbursed for expenses.



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    • profile image

      Guest 5 years ago

      Hi Bail up!

      I am currently a Criminal Justice student and would like to pursue a career as a private investigator. I would like to know your opinion on whether or not a AA or BA will be helpful/needed for this career. Also, I notice that you mentioned that certain misdemeanors may disqualify you. Does that include marijuana possession in another state?


    • profile image

      GuestPI 5 years ago

      Hi Bailup!

      I am currently a Criminal Justice student and am pursuing a career as a private investigator. I notice that

    • profile image

      Josh 5 years ago

      Hi Bail up,

      First off, GREAT article! It will save many people a lot of time. Like Chris above I got most of my info through research...wish I had come across your hub earlier. I also am wondering about the best approach towards achieving sponsorship, as it seems that it is very competitive. Any advice?

      Thanks and keep up the great work.



    • profile image

      Chris 6 years ago

      Great article and for the most part I have gotten most of this information on doing my own research. But a nice one stop shop for the information. I was curious, do you know of a good way to find a company that will intern you for 2 years before I start moving forward with this. Ive been doing Class "D" and "G" security for almost 10 years and am just looking to do something different

    • profile image

      Linda willard 6 years ago

      I want to be a pi not sure were to start?

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 6 years ago


      That's a good question. From what I've been able to research, neither an uncharacterized nor a dishonorable discharge in the military would disqualify you from being able to get a P. I. License. Insubordination to a high ranking officer would earn you a dishonorable discharge in the military but it's not a felony or crime for civilians. You should be able to get licensed no problem.

    • profile image

      anon 6 years ago

      Great article, very informative. I do have one question though. Would someone with an uncharacterized disharge from the military be immediately disqualified from getting licensed? It's nowhere near dishonorable but its still not honorable. Would that be a major obstruction?

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 6 years ago


      At the time I wrote this the fee was $140 but these fees tend to increase yearly. I'll double check and make the correction on the hub. Thanks for bringing it up.

    • profile image

      Ashley 6 years ago

      the 40 hour test is $500.00 in FL

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 6 years ago


      Thanks for your readership and validation as to the hub. As to Bragi, I'm not worried about him, he's yet to woo me with any of expertise or even knowledge about the industry. If you see the last paragraph you may realize I am self employed, the hourly rates given are for Private Investigators with their own agencies. Different areas command different prices and here in South Florida cheaters pay well for these type of services.

    • profile image

      Greyhawkone 6 years ago

      Your hub was thoughtful and well written. I have had a PI license since 1997. I am anxious to read hubs from Bragi also. As to the hourly rates. Wow! Haven't seen those kind of numbers for over 20 years. Sorry he attacked you like that. Not warranted. No one minds constructive criticism, but it should come from someone, who has demonstrated they know what they are talking about.

    • bragi profile image

      bragi 6 years ago

      lol....don't remove things. If you don't like comments on your Hubs, than don't write.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 6 years ago


      For someone with so much energy to pick apart others hubs yo should have enough energy to write your own. So, far the only thing you've done here in HP is try to cut down two PI's with stories to tell. I have yet to see any of yours and so looking forward to your expertise n the field!

      The only thin you got right about your comment here is the fact that being a P.I. Is not like anything portrayed on TV and I did not say it was but that's what people think when toying with

      the idea of becoming one.

      As you stated the rest is factual info on how to become one and varies from state to state, so how can it be deceiving?

      The only other comment you've left has been to another private investigator here. It was a lousy one questioning his ability and so forth. As a PI I see you don't reveal much, not even in your profile, that's not a bad thing but I would certainly love to know where you are a PI. I make what I claim in this hub so do most of the other PI I know.

      You sound like an angry little man that the establishment won't allow to get ahead or pay you according to your worth. Really looking forward to reading any hub of yours and see what you

      have to say colleague.

    • bragi profile image

      bragi 6 years ago

      Lets hit some key points here and reveal what being a P.I. is. How do I know, I am an active P.I. I will also be writing several articles on some aspects of the industry. However, this is a good start to get my feet wet. Lets break down this article;

      "So you want to be a private eye? You have snooped on your girlfriend or spouse and watched countless episodes of Magnum, P.I. , Sherlock Holmes and the likes. You can envision yourself becoming a private investigator. Lurking around gathering facts and getting paid for it certainly has its appeal".

      1. Real life Private Investigations is nothing like portrayed on T.V. - Enough said here.

      "The sole purpose of a P.I. is to uncover the truth."

      2. A private Investigator's job is never to uncover the truth. A P.I. is an impartial third party, who displays no opinion in either direction - hence "impartial". A Private Investigator's role is to gather evidence, whether it is beneficial to the hiring party or not. If a Investigator's opinion is portrayed in a report, that evidence will be thrown out of court and the Investigator's integrity will be heavily challenge. Rendering the work "useless".

      I will leave the licensing alone here, as it differs from region to region.

      "Private investigators make anywhere between $35 to $75 an hour plus get reimbursed for expenses."

      3. Do not have any illusions of grandeur here, seriously!

      The above noted hourly rates are reserved for agency's and sub-contractor's. When starting out you will be making between $12.00 to $15.00 an hour. If you are a shining star, and if you happen to find yourself working for a worth while company, you may be fast tracked to $18.00 per hour. However, this will still take you two years, as there is more than meets the eye to being an effective Investigator.

      In the event you find yourself working for a very decent company you can make between $25.00 to $28.00 per hour. This will still take you no less than 5 years to achieve and assuming you are a star (very few and far between). Most likely you will remain around the $20.00 mark for many years.

      "Your duties may include taking statements, taking pictures, visiting accident scenes, online research, pretext calls and doing surveillance."

      4. Your duties will include, surveillance.....................and surveillance. The statement taking, and accident reconstruction, are reserved for Special Investigation Units. These units are mainly comprised of ex-police officers. Unless you are a star, but we covered that. Online research is mainly conducted in the office before you see the file, on occasion you will need to do research while on surveillance. However, if this is the case, the file will be pulled from you and given to a Special Investigator, as the majority of the time this will fall under Skip Tracing.

      In conclusion;

      This article is deceiving with half information and full lies. Expect no less within the industry. The one truth here is, that yes there is lurking in the shadows but not what you may expect.


    • pinj18 profile image

      pinj18 7 years ago

      Very nice article. Well written with good, factual information. Enjoyed the read.

    • profile image

      GlennV 7 years ago

      I am a former military police officer and I am looking into getting certified to become a PI. Can anyone contact me regarding some of the basic steps in doing this? I realize I need a 'C' or 'CC' license, plus spend time as an itern. Would really like to exchange some emails and get some good advice on how to go about doing this. My email is Thanks so much!

    • profile image

      Strange Weapon of the Week 7 years ago

      Nice article. I'm currently interning for a PI and it is very exciting work. Your article summed up the major points of private investigation, especially about the long hours and irregular shifts :)

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago


      My pleasure to promote PI magazine. I find it plenty useful to keep up with the competition and order most supplies from there too. Enjoy!

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

      Have alwasys loved detective shows! The magazine sounds interesting? Thanks for the information:)

    • toneyahuja profile image

      toneyahuja 7 years ago from India

      We at SafeTech pride ourselves in our strong customer service and support. Our security guards consistently meet and exceed the standards set out by our customers and provide a level of safety and confidence that exceeds other security companies in Toronto or throughout Canada. Security Guards services are diverse and as a result we offer a varity of different forms of security work which we are more than happy to tailor to individual client’s needs.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago


      If I have helped anyone eliminate the guess work of becoming a P.I. Then I'm content. Thanks for the comment.

    • tom_caton profile image

      Tom Caton 7 years ago from The Desk

      Well written! Well done!

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 7 years ago


      Very true. Many prospective PI's know the basics of what a private detective does from what is seen on TV. Not everyone is eligible to become one and so knowing the facts up front could save some time. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      Ray 7 years ago

      This is a great introduction to becoming a PI. Many prospective detectives do not think to look up state licensing and other important aspects of becoming a professional in the field.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      I appreciate your thoughtful comment. I think people view PI's as a glamorous job. While certainly exciting at times, both you and I know most of it is far from it. Isn't Hollywood great!

    • deborahpi profile image

      deborahpi 8 years ago from Virginia and New Hampshire

      I agree, very well written and informative. It's gratifying to read information on our industry that people can actually benefit from. It's also rewarding to find like-minded PI professionals contributing quality information on the HUB, increasing awareness about the modern private investigation business, and helping to dispel Hollywood myths!

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      Truth from Truth-

      I fell into this field by accident but its been good to me. Can't complain plus the skills I've learned here have been extremely helpful with bail. Thanks for the comment.

    • Truth From Truth profile image

      Truth From Truth 8 years ago from Michigan

      Great hub, Its a field I really wanted to get in to when I was younger. Now I feel stuck where I am at. I really enjoyed this hub. Very informative. Thanks.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago


      by now I'm sure you have a rewarding career. It's never too late though to become a PI. Many retired law enforcement and military become licensed for extra income. Thanks for stopping by.

    • suramahe profile image

      suramahe 8 years ago

      Good article... When I read your hub I went to my boyhood dream of becoming an investigator like Sherlok holmes. Anyhow I missed that target. Again, Great hub...thanks.

    • Bail Up ! profile image

      Bail Up ! 8 years ago

      Hi andromida

      You are very welcome. The private investigation field is quite wide, some specialization for everyone. Glad you find it interesting. Thanks for the comment.


      Thanks for the vote of confidence. Too bad you didn't pursue the PI dream, we could be bugging the bozos around the white house right about now.


      Thanks for reading. Looking forward to spying on your hubs later :)

    • zzron profile image

      zzron 8 years ago from Houston, TX.

      Great info, thanks.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Fantastic hub. Once upon a time I toyed with the idea of becoming an investigator. I don't feel that way any longer, but you give great advice to anyone interested in pursuing a career as a PI.

    • andromida profile image

      syras mamun 8 years ago

      Great article. I love investigation kind of stuff and would love becoming a part-time private investigator. This subject is always been intriguing to me and this kind of special knowledge will help anyone to analysis anything in a systematic way.thanks for this wonderful hub.


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