How to Become a Licensed Private Investigator Online

Explore information about licensure requirements and online study options for private investigators. Although individuals cannot become licensed private investigators completely online, they can take advantage of private investigator training and licensing exam prep courses that are available online.

View popular schools

Licensed Private Investigator Overview

Most states require that private investigators be licensed, with specific licensing requirements varying from state to state. Many states require private investigators to be a certain age, have a combination of education and work experience, pass a criminal background check and pass a written examination. Private investigators who wish to carry guns or other weapons may have to obtain additional licenses.

Online Study Options

While you can't become a licensed private investigator online, there are a number of avenues to take to complete education and training requirements, including online private investigation courses and programs. These courses and programs include certificates and diplomas. Topics of study include:

  • Investigation and interview techniques
  • Information gathering
  • State and federal laws
  • Crime scenes
  • Surveillance
  • Undercover work

Online license exam prep courses focus on subjects such as gathering and using information and basic investigative techniques. These courses prepare students to take the licensing exam and are often required in order to obtain a license in the state in which the student resides.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Corrections Admin
  • Corrections, Probation, and Parole
  • Criminal Justice and Safety Studies
  • Criminal Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Juvenile Corrections
  • Law Enforcement Administration
  • Police Science and Law Enforcement
  • Securities Services Mgmt
  • Security and Theft Prevention Services

On-Campus Study Options

On-campus courses and degree programs are also available in private investigation, criminal justice or police science. Criminal justice and police science degree programs often offer courses that provide the background necessary for a career as a private investigator. General course topics include:

  • Criminal investigation
  • The U.S. criminal justice system
  • Research methods
  • Criminology

Salary Information and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported average salaries for private detectives and investigators in May 2014. The mean annual salary for this profession was $52,880. However, those working for manufacturing industries, especially aerospace and other fabricated metal products, earned mean salaries of $77,320 and $81,500, respectively. The BLS anticipates a 5% increase in jobs for private investigators from 2014-2024, largely due to concerns about Internet threats, data protection and property safeguarding.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?