Do Private Investigators Need a License to Work?

People considering Private Investigations often have questions about the educational and personal background, and work experience history, necessary to enter the field.  Another frequent question is, “Do I have to have a license to work as a private investigator?”

According to the Texas Association of Licensed Investigators (TALI), “each state regulates the private investigators and licensing requirements within their particular state.  In Texas, private investigators are regulated by the Texas Department of Public Safety/Private Security Bureau as provided in the Private Security Act.”

According to, “Twenty-two states require you to pass an exam as a condition of becoming licensed, and three additional states offer the option to take an exam as one possible route to licensure.”

The website also reveals that “to date, just 5 states do not require private investigators to be licensed at the state level:  Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, South Dakota and Wyoming.” The site goes on to explain that Wyoming and Alaska DO have licensing requirements at the local level.

Here’s a link to the regulations for U.S. states.  If you are outside the state of Texas, this information may be helpful as you research regional requirements.

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