Private investigators are people who collect information for their clients. The clients are generally a private person or a private corporate body. They are in no way related to the government.
Most of the states in the U.S. require that a private detective must carry a valid license. Investigators who work for an attorney or an insurance company should have a valid license to carry out their investigations. The main purpose of the license is to keep the unqualified and inefficient detectives out of the scene and also to maintain law and order. Thus, licensed private investigators take great care to remain within the law. Even clients nowadays opt for those investigators who have a valid license.
Every state has its own discreet set of rules to be maintained in the context of issuing a license. In general, the process requires that the candidate prepare an application stating the class of license he wants -A,B or C. Then the director forwards the application to the bureau of criminal investigations to check if any criminal records of the applicant exist. After clarifying this, the director sets up a time and day for examination. If the applicant passes the exam and if the director is satisfied with his performance, he is issued a license according to his requirements (A, B or C).
Now the above mentioned process is just a general one. In some states, you need some additional requirements to sit for the exam. In the state of Indiana, at least 2 years of experience in the relevant field is required. In Florida, the rules are even stricter. You need to work for at least 3 years in a government detective agency or as a full time intern employed by a licensed investigative agency. In some places, experience is fine to satisfy. In the state of Connecticut, 10 years of experience as a police officer makes you eligible for the license. In some states like New York, Kansas, and Wisconsin, you can get a license by just sitting for the exam.
After getting the license, you are also required to get some insurance policy or bond. Any kind of deviation from the laws of the state can attract penalty and even cancellation of the license.
Following is a list of states where you do not require any special qualifications like experience, you just need to sit for the exam – Alabama ,Alaska ,Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, and Wyoming. In various places, a business license also works, whereas in some places, there are local rules that require you to satisfy experience in work as a private investigator.
Here is a concluding golden tip for you: Whichever state you work in, adhere to the rules of the state.