How to Become a Private Investigator in Florida

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How to Become a Private Investigator in Florida

Maybe you want to become a private investigator in Florida.

You should know there are several steps to becoming one.

To learn more, you should check out the guide I wrote below!

Private Investigator Requirements and Responsibilities in Florida

In Florida, these professionals fall under the jurisdiction of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing.

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The Department ensures they operate with a valid license.

To obtain this license, you must fulfill certain criteria and pass a licensing exam.

The prerequisites for licensure include:

  • Being 21 years old
  • Be a US citizen
  • Having a clean background record

Applicants must apply for and pass the PI certification test, demonstrating their understanding of the field.

Moreover, gaining practical experience is crucial, with many aspiring investigators opting to undergo training courses.

However, prior experience in law enforcement can serve as a substitute for formal training.

The minimum required experience for a PI is 100 hours.

There are two types of investigators:

  • Class C
  • Class CC

Becoming a Class C investigator requires 2 years of experience, thus the majority of candidates choose to become Class CC PIs.

The core responsibilities of a private investigator typically involve:

  • Solitary surveillance
  • Detailed long-range event documentation
  • Capturing high-quality photographs from a distance
  • Maintaining good physical condition
  • Comprehending and addressing client needs effectively

Private Investigator Training in Florida

It’s difficult to become even a Class CC private investigator without some training first.

To get a Class C Private Investigator license in Florida, you need to:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Be a decent person
  • Haven’t had mental health issues
  • Haven’t used illegal drugs
  • Haven’t struggled with alcoholism
  • Have two years of experience

Some of the programs you can attend as part of your training are:

  • Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice

National Investigative Training Academy

The academy offers 78 courses for those aspiring to a private investigator career.

The programs cover the regulations and laws outlined in F.S. 493 necessary to acquire a Private Investigator “CC” Intern License.

This interactive training is entirely accessible online and available on demand.

Participants are allowed to study at their own pace and convenience, fitting into their schedules seamlessly.

Following this, the coursework delves into detailed subjects such as:

  • Surveillance ethics and methodologies
  • Investigative tools and technology
  • Proper handling and safeguarding of evidence
  • Courtroom procedures
  • The trial-related duties expected of a Private Investigator

Florida State College at Jacksonville 

This college has not one but 2 courses for future PIs.

Both are designed for the Class CC private investigator license.

You’ll need a sponsor to enroll in either program.

The cost of the program is $299.

Luckily, the classes take place online and there’s a minimum number of candidates that must enroll.

Otherwise, the current class is being canceled.

School Name Address
National Investigative Training Academy 250 International Pkwy Suite 134, Lake Mary, FL 32746
Florida State College at Jacksonville 101 W State St, Jacksonville, FL 32202,
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Becoming Licensed as a Private Investigator in Florida

To qualify for a Class “C” private investigator license in Florida, you need to fulfill a two-year experience prerequisite.

This experience can be gained through working in related fields such as law enforcement or the military.

Alternatively, completing a Class “CC” internship at an approved private investigative agency counts towards this requirement.

If you’ve undergone law enforcement-related training, it can substitute for one year of the required experience.

Additionally, a year of mandatory experience can be obtained through:

  • College studies in criminology
  • Criminal justice
  • Law enforcement administration

Before applying, you must pass a written exam covering Florida law about the legal duties of private investigators and the industry’s business practices.

Passing this exam is a prerequisite for submitting your license application.

Once issued, your P.I. license will remain valid for two years.

To renew your license, you’ll need:

  • An application
  • Some extra hours of continuing education
  • Attend industry workshops

Salaries for Private Investigators in Florida

All this preparation would be meaningless if you earned a meager income.

Across the nation, private investigators earn an average of $50,900 annually.

In Florida, the average annual salary is around $48,400.

Keep in mind that your earnings may vary depending on your location and level of experience.

Refer to the next table for cities offering higher salaries.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Delray Beach $50,102
Coconut Creek $49,502
Fort Lauderdale $49,502
Miami $49,402
Hialeah $49,202
Pembroke Pines $49,102
Ocoee $48,402
Balm $48,302
Yulee $48,202
Anna Maria $48,102

Regional Salary in Florida

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL110$54,420$26.17$99,460$33,280
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL40$56,600$27.21$104,770$31,100
Gainesville, FL40$48,090$23.12$75,610$28,640
Jacksonville, FL210$61,500$29.57$108,490$35,000
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL70$56,350$27.09$77,110$34,460
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL1,520$68,210$32.79$96,630$34,030
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL70$52,230$25.11$87,250$33,580
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL440$54,970$26.43$99,640$32,140
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL50$55,420$26.64$103,490$28,770
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FL40$57,920$27.85$94,840$32,490
Port St. Lucie, FL30$58,120$27.94$96,100$29,580
Tallahassee, FL100$51,290$24.66$81,680$33,110
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL730$49,280$23.69$85,240$29,980
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Private Detectives and Investigators, OCC Code 33-9021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do private investigators work in Florida?

Private investigators work for:

  • Private investigation and detective agencies
  • As independent contractors

Independent PIs work for:

  • Law firms,
  • Financial institutions,
  • Insurance companies,
  • Corporations,
  • Government agencies,
  • Police departments

Do all PIs in Florida need a license?

The short answer is “yes.”

What are some of the skills needed by PIs in Florida?

These skills are some of the most important for a private investigator:

  • Agility
  • Attention to details
  • Physical strength
  • Discipline
  • Knowledgable of laws and regulations
  • Able to drive
  • Comfortable approaching people
  • Able to use technology and databases

USA Private Investigator by State

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