Do Private Investigators Need to be Licensed? (2020)
This was originally posted in September 2013, but updated in May 2020 with new information.
Of the 50 states in the United States of America, 45 states (and the District of Columbia) require a private investigator to have a license in order to perform his or her investigative duties.
States that do not require a license:
After a law passed in Alabama in 2013, and licenses became mandatory in Colorado in 2015 (Colorado is a bit of a mess – see below), only five states do not require a private investigator/private detective to have a license:
- South Dakota
*Although there is no licensing requirement in the state of Alaska, certain cities (such as Anchorage and Fairbanks) do have their own private investigator licensing requirements.
** Some Idaho cities have their own licensing criteria, but Idaho has no statewide licensing requirement for private investigators.
States that require a license:
The following states require investigators to have a license:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island***
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
* As of May 2020, Colorado requires a private investigator license; however, the law is scheduled to sunset in September 2020. Colorado started voluntary licensing in 2013. In 2015 it became mandatory.
** In …read more