How to Become a Private Investigator in Texas

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How to Become a Private Investigator in Texas

Would you like to explore becoming a detective in Texas?

It’s a cool job for those who want something different and exciting.

But before you start, keep in mind that you’ll need to learn some things first.

Let’s see what it takes to be a great private investigator!

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Private Investigator Requirements and Duties

Here are the requirements to become a private investigator in Texas:

  • You need to be at least 21 years old.
  • You must be allowed to work in the United States.
  • A check of your background is needed.
  • If you were dishonorably discharged from the military, you can’t be a Texas private investigator.
  • Your money situation doesn’t matter for getting licensed.
  • If a court says you’re mentally unfit, you can’t get a license.
  • You don’t need insurance to get licensed.
  • You can’t get a license if you’ve been convicted of certain crimes in the last five years, have certain charges pending, or have to register as a sex offender.

As a private detective, you will also have some day-to-day tasks and duties.

These usually include the following:

  • Observing one person at a time
  • Capturing clear videos and photos from a distance
  • Staying healthy and fit
  • Knowing what clients want and need

Private Investigator Training in Texas

The Texas Department of Public Safety oversees private investigators in this state.

To become a private investigator in Texas, you need either three years of full-time experience in the field or a four-year degree in criminal justice or a related area.

You also need to be sponsored by a licensed investigator, meaning you have to work for a private investigation agency.

There’s no written exam required for licensing in Texas.

You need to finish 40 hours of training from a Texas Department of Public Safety-approved school.

This has to be Level III or Level IV.

These courses teach various skills like:

  • First aid
  • Crowd control
  • Watching
  • Using weapons
  • Handling disasters
  • Directing traffic
  • Ethics

Once you finish the training and provide proof, you can apply for your license.

Let’s have a look at where you can get trained in Texas.

Texas State University

This program is made to help students get ready for jobs in criminal justice.

You could work in probation, parole, policing, asset protection, or other jobs like research and counseling.

You can also take classes at the Round Rock Campus.

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice (B.S.C.J.) with a Major in Criminal Justice

To get into this program, you will need 120 semester credit hours

If you took two years of the same modern language in high school, you won’t need extra language classes for the degree.

If you didn’t take a modern language in high school, you’ll need to take two semesters of the same modern language n college, and this will be added to your degree plan.

If you’re transferring, up to 21 semester credit hours in the criminal justice core curriculum from a Texas public institution of higher education can be transferred to the Criminal Justice Field of Study.

These can count towards the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree with a major in Criminal Justice at Texas State University.

School Name Address
Texas State University 601 University Dr, San Marcos, TX 78666
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Becoming Licensed as a Private Investigator in Texas

You need to pay $33 for the application and $25 for processing to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Registration: Apply online using the Department of Safety’s system.

Make an account and follow the steps.

You’ll need to send two sets of fingerprints by mail or an electronic receipt.

If everything checks out, you will get your license.

Keep in mind you will need to get your license renewed to keep it valid.

Using the Texas Online Private Security (TOPS) system, you’ll renew your license online every two years.

Salaries for Private Investigators in Texas

Once you’ve got your license, it’s exciting to start looking for your first job.

Before you dive in, you might be curious about how much you could make.

In Texas, private investigators usually make about $50,102 per year.

However, this number can vary depending on where you work, your education, and how much experience you have.

For a detailed breakdown of salaries in the state, check out the table below.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Webster $51,502
Thompsons $51,502
Altair $51,402
Van Vleck $51,402
Tomball $51,402
Alvin $51,402
Addison $50,602
Wylie $50,502
Windom $50,202
Austin $50,102

Regional Salary in Texas

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Austin-Round Rock, TX240$57,450$27.62$85,100$35,360
Corpus Christi, TX30$45,100$21.69$78,830$27,900
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX840$57,550$27.67$91,500$30,250
El Paso, TX30$39,140$18.82$64,570$26,630
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX400$57,840$27.81$90,190$30,190
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX50$37,890$18.22$49,920$28,480
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX130$53,220$25.59$82,670$31,050
Tyler, TX60$72,130$34.68$77,190$44,870
* 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

Do all PIs in Texas need a license?

The short answer is “yes.”

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

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 Texas?

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

USA Private Investigator by State

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