How to Become a Private Investigator in Rhode Island

Even in a small state like Rhode Island, there is still the need for private investigators. Private investigators specialize in finding the information that other people cannot, and can perform such vital services as recovering stolen property, identifying the culprit of violent crimes or threats, discovering fraud in a business or locating evidence to be used by the courts or police officers.

Although the General Assembly in Rhode Island maintains standards for the profession, application and licensure occurs at the local level. Once you meet the minimum requirements for Rhode Island private detectives, as they are referred to in this state, you can apply for a license wherever you plan to work.

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Rhode Island Private Investigator License Requirements

Minimum Requirements

  • Age: Applicants for a Rhode Island private detective license should be over the age of 18.
  • Provisional Requirements: You must be a citizen of the United State to receive a private detective license in Rhode Island.
  • Criminal Background Check: A criminal history check is required for anyone seeking a private detective license in Rhode Island. A felony charge automatically excludes you from licensure.
  • Discharge from Military: Rhode Island does not examine military discharges when considering a candidate for a private detective license.
  • Financial History: You can receive a private detective license without having your financial history examined.
  • Mental Health Check/Mental Disease or Defect: If you have ever been declared incompetent due to a mental defect, you will have to prove that a court restored your competency before you will be licensed.
  • Insurance Needed: A Rhode Island private detective is required to obtain a $5,000 surety bond prior to licensure.
  • Automatic Disqualifications: If you have ever had a private investigator license revoked or application denied in another state, you cannot be licensed in Rhode Island. Additionally, anyone who suffers from a narcotic or alcohol addiction is disqualified, unless they can prove they have completed a recovery program.

Education and Experience

  • Degree and/or Accepted Experience: Like many states, Rhode Island mandates private detectives acquire experience prior to licensure. You either need five years of experience as an investigator or police officer, a criminal justice degree from an accredited institution or have been employed by a licensed private detective for a period of five years.
  • Written Exams: There is no written exam for private detectives in Rhode Island.

Rhode Island P.I. Training Courses

The State of Rhode Island General Assembly does not certify courses to train private detectives. The best way to learn how to work as a private detective is to enroll in a degree program, which can also fulfill the work requirement if you earn an accredited criminal justice degree. In addition to criminal justice programs, private detectives can also complete programs in forensics, practices of investigation, multiple areas of forensic and the law.

Forms Needed for Detective License

  • Fees Required: In addition to the required $5,000 surety bond, you will need to pay a $150 license fee.
  • Registration Needed: Applications for private detective licenses in Rhode Island will be submitted to the jurisdiction in which you plan to work, whether at the city or county level. For specific application instructions, you will need to directly contact the city or county, as every jurisdiction has their own application procedure.
  • Maintenance required for PI license: Maintenance for license may depend on the jurisdiction where you have applied. The Court of Clerks or other legal authority will have more information about license renewal.

Salaries — According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

As you would expect from a small state like Rhode Island, very few detectives work in this area. According to the 2015 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 60 private detectives work in Rhode Island for an average yearly salary of $46,180.

Links to State Government Pages or Other State Resources

Rhode Island Private Detective Act

Rhode Island General Assembly

Licensed Private Investigators Association of Rhode Island

Education Programs for Private Investigators in Rhode Island

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
South University, Online
  • Criminal Justice - Bachelor
Baker College Online
  • Criminal Justice, BA
  • Homeland Security, BA
  • Homeland Security, AA
  • Criminal Justice, AA
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
  • MPA - Criminal Justice
Kaplan University Online
  • 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
Kaplan University Online
  • B.S. Criminal Justice
  • B.S. International Relations and Security - Cybersecurity
  • B.S. International Relations and Security - Global Security
  • A.S. Criminal Justice
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
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security
Lewis University - Online
  • 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
  • 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
  • Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • 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
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