How to Become a Private Investigator in Ohio

In the state of Ohio, a private detective or private investigator can be found at just about any level of society performing an incredibly diverse range of functions. They might help local law enforcement with fugitives. They might conduct corporate background searches. They might investigate witnesses for legal trials. They might solve missing persons cases for individuals.

The one thing every one of their duties has in common is that private eyes are perceptive, detail oriented and excellent at deductive reasoning. If this kind of career sounds rewarding and exciting to you, learn everything you need to know about how to pursue the career of an Ohio private investigator.

Find schools and get information on the program that’s
right for you.
(It’s fast and free!)


Ohio Private Investigator License Requirements

Ohio requires all those wishing to serve as a private eye to become licensed by the state. This requires specific training, experience, examination, and background check requirements as well as the right insurance and bonding. It’s not an easy path, but it’s one that can be rewarding in the end.

Minimum requirements

  • Age: Fulfilling requirements for licensure will see applicants being at least 21 years of age in most cases.
  • Provisional Requirements: Provisional licenses aren’t necessary or available in Ohio.
  • Criminal Background Check: Applicants must be free of violent crimes, felonies, sexual offenses or other crimes involving moral turpitude.
  • Military Discharge: Military discharge doesn’t come into play in Ohio licensing.
  • Financial History: There are no financial background checks.
  • Mental Health Evaluation: Mental competence to hold licensure is required.
  • Insurance Needed: Businesses must be bonded for $100,000 per investigator, plus $100,000 in property damage liability and carry $300,000 in bodily injury insurance.
  • Automatic Disqualifications: Criminal offenses or mental incompetence will disqualify an applicant.

how to become a private investigator in ohio

Education and Experience

  • Degree : An associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or law enforcement is required.
  • Experience: 4,000 hours of practical work experience in an investigative job is required over the course of two years. Work in law enforcement or as a peace officer for two years can substitute.
  • Written Exams: The state exam is 75 questions and a score of 80% is the minimum to pass.
  • Training Courses: Besides an associate’s degree and experience, no specific training is required.

Forms needed for a Detective License in Ohio

  • Fees required: A licensing fee of $375, plus an examination fee of $25 and any fingerprinting fees.
  • Registration needed: Your application requires a current photograph, five character references, fingerprint cards, and evidence of meeting all basic requirements including proof of insurance, proof of experience and college transcripts.
  • Maintaining Your PI License: Your license will need to be renewed every two years.

Ohio Private Investigator Salary and Job Outlook

Government labor statistics show 1,120 PIs licensed and employed in Ohio, with a salary on average of $43,430 per year. There is a projected 4.8% increase in the field by 2024, which is around the national average.

Helpful Ohio Links and Resources

License & Qualifying Agent User Guide

Ohio Association of Security and Investigation Services

How to Apply for a License

Ohio Laws and Rules for Private Investigators

Education Programs for Private Investigators in Ohio

  • 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