How to Become a Private Investigator in Massachusetts

If you’re looking for a rewarding career in Massachusetts, you should consider becoming a private investigator. Private investigators, which this state also refers to as private detectives, gather information for their clients by using investigative techniques. A private investigator will routinely research fraud, infidelity and can even track fugitives.

The primary requirement for becoming a private investigator in Massachusetts is possessing a business certificate for a private detective agency. However, there are several other steps that you must follow if you want to be licensed in Massachusetts for investigative work, including acquiring a certain amount of work experience.

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Massachusetts Private Investigator License Requirements

Minimum Requirements

  • Age: Legal adults are eligible to become private investigators in the state of Massachusetts.
  • Provisional Requirements: You must include in your application three letters of certification from people who know you and live in the same community where you live or work. These letters cannot come from anyone who is related to you by blood or marriage. Massachusetts also requires that you possess a business license for a private detective business.
  • Criminal Background Check: You will need to sign an Authorization for Release of Information form so that the Massachusetts State Police can perform a background check. If you have been convicted of a felony, you are disqualified from working as a private detective in Massachusetts.
  • Discharge from Military: Massachusetts does not restrict citizens with dishonorable military discharges from becoming private detectives.
  • Financial History: Your financial history is not a factor in becoming a private detective in this state.
  • Insurance: You will need a $5000 surety bond in order to be licensed as a private investigator.
  • Mental Health Check: A mental health check is not required during the application process.
  • Automatic Disqualifications: In addition to felony convictions, you cannot have been convicted of a section 99 or 99A violation if you want to work as a private detective in this state.

how to become a private investigator in massachusetts

Education and Experience

  • Degree and/or Accepted Experience: Although Massachusetts does not have any degree requirements, there are very strict experience requirements for being a private investigator. You must have three years of investigative experience, been a member of a US investigative service, were a police officer at a higher rank than a patrolman or are a retired police officer who is in good standing and has ten years of police experience.
  • Written Exams: Massachusetts does not have a written exam for private detectives or investigators.

Massachusetts PI Training Courses

The Massachusetts State Police does not certify training courses for those seeking a private investigator career. However, in order to increase your chances of success, it is a good idea to earn a degree in a field related to private investigation. This can include becoming trained as a police officer or completing degrees in law, criminal justice or investigation.

Forms needed for a Detective License in Massachusetts

  • Fees: Massachusetts requires a $550 licensing fee that must be paid before you will receive your license.
  • Registration: Submit your application to the Massachusetts State Police and include your letters of recommendation, proof of experience, a notarized form authorizing a background check, a bond form, your $5000 bond and a Certificate of Business issued from the town hall where your agency will be located.
  • Maintenance: Massachusetts private investigator licenses will need to be periodically renewed.

Salaries for Private Investigators in Massachusetts

In May of 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 1,600 private investigators employed in Massachusetts. If you’re employed as a private investigator in this state, you can expect an average yearly salary of $47,620.

Links for Massachusetts Private Investigators

Licensed Private Detectives Association of Massachusetts

Massachusetts State Police Certification Portal

Bureau of Labor Statistics Career Outlook

Education Programs for Private Investigators in Masachusetts

  • Criminal Justice, AA
  • Criminal Justice, BA
  • Homeland Security, AA
  • Homeland Security, BA
Keiser University eCampus
  • DEM - Emergency Management
Capella University
  • BS - Criminal Justice
Capella University
  • MS - Cybersecurity
Capella University
  • B.S. in Criminal Justice
  • B.S. in Human Services / Criminal Justice
  • B.S. in Criminal Justice / Law Enforcement
  • A.S. in Criminal Justice
  • B.S. in Emergency Management & Homeland Security
Post University Online
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Public Administration
Liberty University - Online
  • General
  • General-Advanced
  • Online Teaching in Higher Education
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Homeland Security
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Emergency Management
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Global Leadership
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Law and Public Policy
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Public Management and Leadership
Walden University
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Law and Public Policy
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Policy Analysis
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Emergency Management
  • MS in Criminal Justice - Global Leadership
Walden University
  • DBA - Criminal Justice
  • DBA - Homeland Security: Leadership & Policy
Northcentral University
  • A.S. Criminal Justice
  • B.S. Criminal Justice
  • B.S. International Relations and Security - Cybersecurity
  • B.S. International Relations and Security - Global Security
Indiana Wesleyan University - Online
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance
  • MS in Criminology
  • BS in Criminology
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Cyber Security
  • Master of Science in Criminology - Cybercrime and Terrorism Focus
  • Master of Science in Criminology - Human Behavior Focus
  • Master of Science in Criminology - Leadership Focus
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance - Cybersecurity Specialization
Regis University- Online
  • MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
Lewis University - Online
  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Cyber Criminology and Policy
  • Computer Forensics Certificate
  • Cyber Crime and Fraud Investigation Certificate
  • Cyber Network Defense Certificate
  • Cyber Operations Certificate
  • Cyber Policy Certificate
  • Cybersecurity Technologies Certificate
  • Financial Crime and Compliance Operations Certificate
  • Financial Crime Investigation Certificate
  • Master of Professional Studies in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis
  • MBA - Cyber Policy
  • MBA - Cybersecurity
  • Monitoring, Surveillance, and Intelligence Operations Certificate
  • MS in Cybersecurity - Electronic Crime
  • MS in Cybersecurity - Malware Analysis
  • MS in Data Science: Cybersecurity
  • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Fraud Prevention and Detection
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • Masters in Financial Crime and Compliance Management
  • MBA Economic Crime and Fraud Management
  • MS Cybersecurity - Intelligence
  • MS Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics
  • MS Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • BS in Criminal Justice - General
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Legal Issues in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Public Policy and Leadership
  • BS in Criminal Justice - White Collar Crime
  • Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity
Utica College - Online
  • Master of Science Criminal Justice Critical Incident Mgt
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Corrections
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Criminal Investigation
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Forensic Science
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Legal Studies
Saint Leo University - Online
  • AA in Criminal Justice
  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • BA in Criminal Justice - Criminalistics Specialization
  • BA in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Specialization
Saint Leo University - Online
  • BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • CTU - Criminal Forensics
Colorado State University - Global