Do Private Investigators Have To Be Licensed?

Private investigators and detectives provide a variety of services to people, attorneys, and businesses. Background checks, employee theft investigations, demonstrating or disproving infidelity in a divorce case, and assisting in the search for a missing individual are just a few. But do private investigators need to be licensed? If you’re one of those considering hiring a private investigator, then you might want to stick for a while. Here at Whitesell Investigative Services, we’re here to help you come up with a decision.


Individuals, law enforcement agencies, and corporations all benefit from the services of private investigators. Some of a private investigator’s responsibilities include assisting in the search for missing people and conducting research for legal, financial, or criminal investigations. Here are the roles of a private investigator:

Getting Interviews Done

Interviewing people to acquire information is a part of the fact-finding process. These persons could be relatives of missing people, witnesses to a crime, or have other pertinent information. 

Database Exploration

Computer research is one of the most important aspects of a private investigator’s job. They could be looking for legal records, family history, or conducting a computer search to look into a crime or a job candidate’s background. They might also keep an eye on social media posts and other internet activities. Following their research, they will assess the facts to determine what information is necessary to solve a case.

Surveillance in Action

If an individual or organization hires a private investigator to investigate a person’s activities, they will perform surveillance and take incriminating images. This only means following someone without their knowledge to see where he goes and what he does and reporting findings to the client. When following an unfaithful spouse or a wanted fugitive, the hours are long and irregular. In criminal justice education classes, they can study some of the tactics for efficient surveillance approaches.

Other private investigator responsibilities include:

  •  Client consultations
  •  Looking up legal information
  • Conducting background investigations
  • Personal information research
  • Performing surveillance
  • Documenting strange behavior
  • Performing financial research
  • People-interviewing
  • Getting statements from witnesses
  • Consumer, banking, and internet fraud investigations
  • Report preparation
  • Information verification
  • Computer fraud and identity theft are investigated.
  • Putting together evidence
  • Finding lost people
  • Asset tracking
  • Spotting possible illegal conduct
  • Examining public and legal records


Private investigators and detectives often require several years of experience as well as a high school diploma. A license is also required in the great majority of states for private detectives and investigations. Follow these steps to obtain a Private Investigator (PI) license:

1.    Inquire into state requirements – Only five states currently allow persons to do a private investigation without obtaining a state-level PI license. To work as a private investigator in any other state, you must first obtain a state-issued license. 

2.    Examine the application’s components – If your state requires you to obtain a state-level PI license to practice, the next step is to go over the application requirements. You can check this information by searching the website of your state police department

3.    Complete fingerprinting at the law enforcement officers – You should make an appointment to be fingerprinted at your local law enforcement agency. A required component of your application might include fingerprint cards demonstrating you have been fingerprinted by the appropriate agencies.

4.    Complete your application materials – The following elements should be included in your PI license application, according to your state’s requirements:

  •  Cards with fingerprints
  • Private detective registration and background check fees are payable in cash or check.
  • Two passport-style photographs..
  • License for firearms and purpose for use.

5.    State police should get the application components – Send your application to the address listed on the website of your state police department. State police may take up to 90 days to assess your application and do a background check, so don’t be startled if you don’t hear back right away.


Private investigators can be hired in a variety of scenarios to uncover information that would otherwise remain undiscovered. Hiring a private investigator can set your mind at ease and assist you in situations where you are unsure where to begin. Here are 6 reasons why you should hire a Private Licensed Investigator:

Locating people

Finding long-lost relatives can be tough and nearly impossible without the correct training. Most individuals use Facebook to look for distant relatives, but when they don’t find anything, they’re stumped.

People don’t always want to contact their long-lost relatives; instead, they just want to know that they are safe and well. In these situations, a private investigator can assist you in locating family members or friends whom you haven’t seen in years.

Monitoring a person

You might want to track someone to make sure they’re safe, or you might want to make sure your partner is faithful. Businesses may also want to track their vehicles in the event of theft or if they think their vehicles are being used illegally.

Whatever your motive for wanting to track someone, a private investigator may help you set it up without their knowledge. These trackers can be set up for long-term use, with real-time updates available through Apple and Google Maps.

Glitches are being swept up

Private investigators can conduct thorough bug sweeps to keep your information private. Individuals and businesses are frequently targeted for espionage. A competitor or unscrupulous person may try to gain access to your personal information to gain a competitive edge for your firm or to blackmail you later.

Bugs are frequently discovered in hotel rooms and boardrooms around the country. You have a higher chance of keeping your information private if you hire a private investigator to sweep for bugs

Investigations Fraud Cases

In circumstances when fraud has occurred, private investigators can assist individuals and corporations. A private investigator can examine papers and perform surveillance to see if any type of fraud, such as vehicle insurance, healthcare fraud, or homeowner fraud, is taking place.

For corporations, a CEO may hire a private investigative agency to prevent embezzlement or to conduct background checks on personnel to avoid hiring someone who has previously been sued for fraud.

Serving Procedures

If you have a law company and need documents served on a defendant, you will most likely hire a private investigator, also known as a process server.

A process server’s primary responsibility is to notify someone that they are the subject of a court proceeding. Finding these persons might be tough and time-consuming, but with the correct tools, a private investigator can hunt them down and serve documents in a timely and professional manner.

Background Investigations

Private investigators can assist corporations and individuals with background checks, as described above in the section on fraud cases. Although most people leave a digital trail that can be found with a Google search these days, the information that can’t be accessed this way is frequently the information that a person or corporation wants to find.

If you need a private investigator to help you with your investigating process, contact Whitesell Investigative Services. We have years of experience in all of the situations listed above, as well as a team of discreet, passionate experts with law enforcement backgrounds. Here at our company, we make sure you get the satisfactory investigation you are looking for! Call us now!