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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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