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.

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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.

how to become a private investigator in tennessee

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

Education Programs for Private Investigators in Tennessee

  • 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