How to Become a Private Investigator in Massachusetts

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How to Become a Private Investigator in Massachusetts

Private investigators are quite sought after in the state of Massachusetts.

This means you will have many job opportunities if you choose this career path.

But, before that, let’s have a look at the laws and regulations this state has for future private investigators.

Private Investigator Requirements and Responsibilities in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, private investigators are regulated by the Alabama Private Investigation Board.

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This means they must hold a valid license to work in the field.

To obtain this license, you must meet certain criteria:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Hold American citizenship
  • Have a clean record, both personally and criminally
  • Apply for and pass the PI licensure test
  • Gain practical experience

While some opt for formal training courses to gain insights and hands-on experience, others rely on their background in law enforcement to meet the requirements.

A minimum of 100 hours of experience is necessary to qualify as a private investigator.

On the job, PIs are tasked with various duties including:

  • Solo surveillance
  • Capturing detailed events from a distance
  • Snapping high-quality photographs remotely
  • Understanding the specific needs of their clients

Private Investigator Training in Massachusetts

As previously mentioned, there’s no strict requirement for a private investigator to undergo formal training.

However, it’s still important not to overlook this aspect.

Firstly, getting trained can give you the leverage to charge higher fees from your clients.

Secondly, it equips you with the skills necessary to excel in your role.

Enrolling in law enforcement courses or obtaining related degrees can be particularly beneficial.

While any degree might suffice for this profession, law enforcement credentials are especially useful.

Specialized training will teach you which tools and equipment are essential for the job, and which ones are outdated or unnecessary.

Additionally, each private investigator may tailor their toolkit to suit their specific needs.

This may include items such as:

  • Maps
  • Computers
  • Binoculars
  • Cameras
  • Microphones
  • Vehicles

Moreover, you’ll also learn useful skills like the NATO phonetic alphabet and common terminology.


NITA online training academy offers a flexible program that allows you to become a certified private investigator.

The classes have flexible hours which makes it easy for everyone who already has a job.

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NITA online
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Becoming Licensed as a Private Investigator in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, individuals who have reached legal adulthood can pursue a career as private investigators.

Application Process

When applying, you must submit three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with you and residing in your local community.

These letters should not be from relatives by blood or marriage.

Additionally, obtaining a business license for your private detective business is mandatory.

To ensure eligibility, you must authorize the Massachusetts State Police to conduct a criminal background check by signing a Release of Information form.

Individuals with felony convictions are ineligible for private detective work in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts permits individuals with dishonorable military discharges to pursue careers as private detectives.

Your financial history does not impact your eligibility for becoming a private investigator in the state.

To obtain licensure, you must acquire a $5000 surety bond.

Mental Health Assessment

There is no requirement for a mental health evaluation during the application process.

In addition to felony convictions, individuals with section 99 or 99A violations on their record are ineligible for private detective positions in Massachusetts.

License Renewal

To keep your license up-to-date, make sure to renew it annually following the instructions provided.

You’ll receive renewal details from the Massachusetts State Police Certification Unit along with the Private Detective License Renewal Form.

For renewal, submit a $150 renewal fee via check or money order to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Include a copy of your original $5000 Surety Bond or continuation certificate, a signed and notarized Release of Information, and your current Private Detective license.

Similarly, if you hold a firearms license, it must be renewed annually as well.

To do so, visit the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services in Chelsea at least 90 days before your license expires.

Bring along a $100 renewal fee, a completed renewal application, a copy of your driver’s license, and your current License to Carry Firearms.

Once renewed, your name will be added to the updated List of Licensed Private Detectives in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the Certification Unit.

Salaries for Private Investigators in Massachusetts

If you decide to work as a private investigator in this state, you may want to know more about your salary.

On average, you can make about $55,402 a year.

However, more aspects impact how much you will earn.

Check out the table below to find out more about salaries in different cities.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Malden $57,402
Winchester $57,402
Newton $57,402
Westwood $56,502
Reading $55,702
Taunton $55,601
Whitman $55,602
Stow $55,502
Fitchburg $54,302
Barnstable $54,202

Regional Salary in Massachusetts

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH470$61,340$29.49$91,580$39,470
Springfield, MA-CT40$51,330$24.68$74,770$31,730
Worcester, MA-CT30$52,590$25.29$62,200$37,320
* 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

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

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

Where do private investigators work in Massachusetts?

Independent PIs work for:

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

Private investigators work for:

  • Private investigation and detective agencies
  • As independent contractors

Do all PIs in Massachusetts need a license?

The short answer is “yes.”

USA Private Investigator by State

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