How to Become a Private Investigator in Tennessee

how to become a private investigator in tennessee

In the Volunteer State, an interesting and enticing career for many Tennessee residents is that of a private investigator. When you pursue a career as a private investigator, you may be hired by businesses, individuals and even the government to hunt down crucial information.

When looking into how to become a private investigator in Tennessee, you will either have to work for a licensed agency or license your own agency. In addition, you will have to follow some basic licensing requirements before you will be allowed to work in this state.

Tennessee Private Investigator License Requirements

Minimum Requirements

  • Age: You should be over the age of 21 before becoming a private investigator in Tennessee.
  • Provisional Requirements: You must be a legal alien or a US citizen. Tennessee also requires that you either be affiliated with a licensed private investigator agency or license your own company.
  • Criminal Background Check: You should be of good moral character and be able to pass a background check.
  • Financial History: Your financial history, whether positive or negative, will not be used to determine if you are fit for licensure.
  • Mental Health Check/Mental Disease or Defect: If you have been declared incompetent by a court due to mental disease, you cannot receive a private investigator license. However, if you can prove you have been declared competent later on, you can be licensed.
  • Insurance Needed: Neither insurance policies or surety bonds are required to become a licensed investigator in Tennessee.
  • Automatic Disqualifications: If you suffer from alcohol or narcotics dependence, or have committed fraud, misrepresentation or deceit, you cannot be a Tennessee private investigator.

Education and Experience

  • Degree and/or Accepted Experience: Tennessee has no requirements for education or experience prior to becoming a private investigator. However, participating in training can lead to a more successful career.
  • Written Exams: You are required to sit for and pass a private investigator exam given by PSI Services, LLC. The exam covers all Tennessee laws related to private investigation, as well as general knowledge and rules. The exam is 100 questions and the duration of the exam will last approximately two hours.

Tennessee P.I. Training Courses

The government of Tennessee does not require certified training to be licensed as a private investigator. If you’re interested in improving your career prospects, however, you should earn a degree in a subject related to investigation. Associate or bachelor’s degrees such as political science, investigative strategies, law, criminal justice and forensics can help you acquire the skills necessary to work as a private investigator.

Forms Needed for a Detective License in Tennessee

  • Fees Required: You are required to pay a $150 application fee, a $60 fee for fingerprinting and a $100 initial license fee.
  • Registration Needed: Once you have met the minimum requirements, you can submit an application with the Department of Commerce and Insurance. Documents required for approval include three sets of fingerprints, either a letter of endorsement or affiliation from a licensed agency, two color passport photos and any information about past criminal activity. Once your application is approved, you will receive your license.
  • Maintenance Required for PI License: You are required to renew your private investigator license every two years. For a renewal to be granted, you will need to prove twelve hours of approved continuing education and pay a $100 fee.

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

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its most recent data in May of 2015. These records indicated that there were 590 private investigators working in Tennessee at the time. Salaries for the investigators averaged $50,430 per annum.

Links to State Government Pages or Other State Resources

Private Investigator Exam Information

Rules for Licensure in Tennessee

Tennessee Professional Investigators Association

Tennessee Association of Investigators

Tennessee Association of Licensed Private Investigators