How to Become a Private Investigator in North Carolina

With over 400 private detectives working throughout North Carolina, it’s a good state to put down roots in this exciting and rewarding profession. Private investigators, detectives and their colleagues help to perform vital investigative functions for private clients, corporations, law firms or law enforcement. This can include researching the intricacies of legal cases, finding criminals on the run, or investigating computer crimes, among other duties.

If you live in the state of North Carolina and you think that pursuing a career as a private detective might appeal to you, this page will provide you all the information you need to become a private investigator in this state.

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North Carolina Private Investigator License Requirements

Currently, there are specific licensing processes you must follow to work in private investigations in North Carolina. The state is, however, reciprocal with California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. If you are licensed in one of these states, you may also practice in North Carolina.

Minimum requirements

  • Age: You must be at minimum 18 years old.
  • Provisional Requirements: North Carolina doesn’t issue a provisional license.
  • Criminal Background Check: A criminal background check helps to ensure you are of good moral character with no convictions.
  • Military Discharge: You’ll need to provide discharge information, or a letter from your CO if still in the military.
  • Financial History: There is no financial history check required.
  • Mental Health Evaluation: No mental health checks are needed.
  • Insurance Needed: While not mandated for licensure, bonding will be vital to protect you from liability.
  • Automatic Disqualifications: Criminal convictions will disqualify one from licensure in North Carolina.

how to become a private investigator in north carolina

Education and Experience

  • Degree: Applicants must at least have a GED or high school diploma.
  • Experience: 3 years of experience must have been completed in private investigative work, or investigating with a law enforcement or government agency.
  • Written Exams: There is no written exam requirement.
  • Training Courses: While not specifically required, training courses and certificates in private investigations from a college or university can be very useful.

Forms needed for Detective License in North Carolina

  • Fees required: $38 for your SBI and FBI fingerprint checks, and $150 for your application.
  • Registration needed: Your application must include a fingerprint card, proof of high school graduation or college transcripts, documentation of citizenship or resident alien, a personal reference questionnaire for each reference on your application, and DD214 form for discharged veterans or letter from commanding officer if still in the military.
  • Maintaining Your PI License: Your renewal will be mailed to you 60 days prior to your license expiring, with instructions for completion.

North Carolina Private Investigator Salary and Job Outlook

There are currently 460 private detectives employed or in business across the state of North Carolina, according to the BLS. They make, on average, $39,400 per year. Jobs in the state are expected to increase by 6.4% over the next seven years, which is higher than the national average.

Helpful North Carolina Links and Resources

Licensing process for private investigators

Application Checklist

NC Private Protective Services Board

Education Programs for Private Investigators in North Carolina

  • Criminal Justice, MA
  • Homeland Security, MA
Keiser University Graduate School
  • Homeland Security, AA
  • Criminal Justice, AA
  • Homeland Security, BA
Keiser University eCampus
  • DEM - Emergency Management
Capella University
  • BS - Criminal Justice
Capella University
  • MS - Cybersecurity
Capella University
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Public Administration
  • JM: American Legal Studies
  • JM: General
  • JM: Health Law
  • JM: International Legal Studies
  • JM: Special Student (Non-Degree Seeking) - Legal Studies
  • LLM: International Legal Studies
  • MPA: Law & Public Policy
  • MS: Criminal Justice
  • MS: Criminal Justice: Forensic Psychology
  • MS: Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
Liberty University - Online
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - 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
  • DBA - Criminal Justice
  • DBA - Homeland Security: Leadership & Policy
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice
Northcentral University
  • MBA - Criminal Justice
  • MBA - Homeland Security
Northcentral University
  • BSCJ – Law Enforcement
  • BSCJ – Juvenile Justice
  • BSCJ – Homeland Security
  • BSCJ – Forensic Psychology
  • BSCJ – Crime Scene Investigation
  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • MSCJ - Corrections
  • MSCJ - Global Issues in Criminal Justice
  • MSCJ - Law
  • MSCJ - Leadership/Executive Management
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Fire Science
  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Public Safety and Security
  • Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Management
  • BS in Corrections
Purdue University Global
  • MS in Criminal Justice
  • MS in Criminal Justice: Advanced Counterterrorism & Homeland Security concentration
  • MS in Criminal Justice: Public Safety Administration concentration
Southern New Hampshire University - Online
  • Associate in Science Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Criminology
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Homeland Secu
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Police Admini
  • BS Criminal Justice w/conc Human Services
  • BS Criminal Justice w/conc in Corrections
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security with concentration in Secure Programming
Southern New Hampshire University - Online
  • AA: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
  • BA: Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
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