How to Become a Private Investigator in Virginia

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How to Become a Private Investigator in Virginia

There are many perks to working as a private investigator in Virginia.

If this is the career path you want to take, make sure to read this article for all the info you need.

Private Investigator Requirements and Duties

The tasks you will need to complete daily vary, but some are similar.

Here are some main tasks for private investigators:

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  • Keeping an eye on someone by yourself.
  • Using high-quality equipment to record events from a distance.
  • Snapping clear and sharp photos from a distance.
  • Staying healthy to handle the job well.
  • Knowing what the clients want and need

To become a private investigator in Virginia, you need to be at least 18 years old.

Here are some other important things to know:

  • You must be a citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
  • If you’ve been convicted of a crime, you’ll need to fill out a form about your criminal history.
  • Military court martial experience could affect your ability to become a PI, and you’ll need to explain it in the form.
  • Your financial history won’t stop you from becoming a PI.
  • There’s no mental health evaluation required.
  • Every PI needs to have a certain amount of liability insurance.
  • You can’t become a PI in Virginia if you have certain misdemeanor or felony convictions.

Private Investigator Training in Virginia

In Virginia, you can become a licensed private investigator without needing a college degree.

Experience-wise, you don’t need any extra experience apart from the training courses required for the job.

However, if you’ve worked in law enforcement or private security before, you might not need to do all the training.

After finishing your training, you’ll have to pass a written exam to show you understand everything.

To become a private investigator, you have to finish a 60-hour training course first.

You must do this within a year of applying.

Once you’re approved, you’ll need to do eight more hours of training.

Even if you don’t need to do all the training, you still have to complete some orientation and law training.


Check out NITA Training Academy for online courses designed for those who want to become private investigators.

These courses are meant to improve your investigative abilities and get you ready for the licensing test.

You can choose courses ranging from $99 to $350, depending on what you want to learn.

Some classes even offer extra education in this field.

Virginia Wesleyan University

At Virginia Wesleyan, the Department of Criminal Justice offers a special program that’s one of only two of its kind in the country.

It’s a popular choice among students.

In this program, you’ll take a mix of core and related courses that give you a well-rounded view of the field.

What makes it stand out is that it combines different subjects from the liberal arts, which goes beyond what’s typically done in criminal justice programs.

This meets and even goes beyond the standards set by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Students not only learn in the classroom but also get hands-on experience through simulations, internships, and other activities.

This practical approach makes the program really useful for the real world.

School Name Address
NITA online school
Virginia Wesleyan University 5817 Wesleyan Dr, Virginia Beach, VA 23455
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Becoming Licensed as a Private Investigator in Virginia

To start, there’s a $25.00 fee for your initial registration application. If you need fingerprint processing, that’s another $50.00.

If you plan to carry a firearm, add $10.00 for the firearms endorsement.

Getting registered is necessary if you want to work as a private investigator in Virginia.

If you’re running your own business, you’ll also need a business license.

Don’t forget to renew your PI license every two years.

It costs $20.00 for renewal, and if you’re still carrying a firearm, that’s another $10.00.

If you miss the renewal deadline by 60 days, you’ll have to:

  • Reapply as a new applicant
  • Pay the fees again
  • Complete the necessary training.

Salaries for Private Investigators in Virginia

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

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

In Virginia, private investigators usually bring in about 50,602 dollars every year.

But remember, this number can vary depending on where you work, how much education you have, and how experienced you are.

If you want more specific details about salaries in the state, check out the table below.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Annandale $56,702
Vienna $56,702
Alexandria $56,702
Springfield $56,702
Aldie $56,402
White Post $56,402
Boston $56,402
Woodville $56,402
Zacata $53,202
Aroda $50,002

Regional Salary in Virginia

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Richmond, VA110$68,020$32.7$103,140$31,670
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC90$50,450$24.26$85,470$29,340
* 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 Virginia?

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

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

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

Do all PIs in Virginia need a license?

The short answer is “yes.”

USA Private Investigator by State

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