How to Become a Private Investigator in Florida

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Becoming a private investigator in Florida will take some preparation. Florida is among the states that require private investigators to be licensed. Therefore, an exam and fees are required to operate professionally. According to "Secrets of Top Private Eyes," the demand will continue to grow for information obtained by private investigators. Floridians can expect this profession to be held by a combination of self-employed or agency workers. To start, you must begin by understanding the field and seeking the required training.

Learn about the industry of a private investigator in order to select the appropriate license. Refer to the Florida Association of Licensed Investigators website or review the Florida online application portable document file to determine what standards must be met. For example, you must have a clean criminal record and be willing to undergo a background check. Also, use it as a place to learn about training opportunities that can assist you in becoming a private investigator in Florida. They have links to current professional investigators and you may solicit them for internship experience.

The state of Florida training guidelines must be followed by finishing at least 24 hours of a 40-hour class at a public or private educational institution operating under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Education. For instance, local colleges are great options to select. Obtain your certification after you complete the training and pass their test (i.e., 70 percent). It is up to the educational institution providing the training to issue the potential private investigator a certificate of completion (Form DACS-16062).

Request sponsorship from a private investigator with a "C", "M", or "MA" license and select your license type. The letters refer to the type of license to distinguish your competency (i.e., C is for "individual" private investigators). There are "individual" and "agencies" types to choose among. "Agencies" refers to those that wish to start a small business operation with workers, while the other is for people that work solo. To learn more about the types of licenses and the training necessary for each kind, click on the link "types of licenses" on the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Division of Licenses) website.

Prepare for the state exam according to the license type you select. On the state website, there is a Private Investigator Handbook portable document file. It may be downloaded at any time for free. This information will help potential private investigators learn about their duties and laws applicable to their profession. Also, refer to the Florida Statutes information link to about specific laws affecting private investigative workers.

Pay the applicable fee for the exam (i.e., $100). If the test is failed, it may be attempted again, but for the same fee. The test lasts approximately two hours and the test results will be mailed. There are regional testing sites listed on the "Questions and Answers about the Class "C" Private Investigator Examination" link. This information may apply to other licenses in private investigation as well. Please note, persons already with a "CC" intern private investigator license do not have to take the exam to upgrade to class "C" license.

Submit proof of successfully passing the private investigator Florida exam, if required for your type. Credentials and work history will be necessary to apply for a license. Follow the application instructions and get the application affidavit section notarized. To locate a notary, use 123 notary to select convenient service by zip code. It may take six weeks for your application to be reviewed with all the proper verification (i.e., training proof) included. Contact the Division of Licensing by clicking on the sidebar link "Contact Information" for any further questions about license approval.


Florida private investigator incomes may vary, but according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics the annual income median is $41,760 in May 2008. Plan ahead for what you can demand based on your experience and level of danger.

2016 Salary Information for Private Detectives and Investigators

Private detectives and investigators earned a median annual salary of $48,190 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, private detectives and investigators earned a 25th percentile salary of $35,710, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $66,300, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 41,400 people were employed in the U.S. as private detectives and investigators.

About the Author

Jamie M. Kisner currently works as a South Florida entrepreneur of JMK Notary & Services and a Miami-Dade College instructor. During her spare time, she writes online content for a variety of sites, including eHow, Digital Journal, Bukisa and Homeless Voice. She holds a master's degree in business administration from Florida's Nova Southeastern University.

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