How to Become a Private Investigator in North Carolina

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.

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.

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