New Year, New You: So You Want to Be a Private Investigator?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the economic landscape of the United States, and there are many people looking to make a change in careers. This on top of the next crop of college graduates entering the workforce with a mixture of skills that might or might not be enough to land them a job in the industry of their choice. 

As we take our first tentative steps into 2021 and Barefoot Professional Investigations works towards expansion into a number of new markets, we thought it would be helpful to provide some direction as to possible paths and certification requirements for those who might be considering private investigation as a career.  

State Requirements

Each state has a number of requirements that must be met before an individual can legally operate as a private investigator within the state. With our home offices based in Charlotte, we thought it would be most helpful to share the state requirements for North Carolina. 

Minimum Requirements

Depending on the role you are looking to play as an investigator, the age requirements for licensing in North Carolina are 18 to operate in the industry, and 21 if your role requires you to be armed. You’re also required to have at a minimum a GED or a high school diploma. U.S. citizenship is also required, and the applicant must be of good moral character – that is, no felonies on record. 

Training and Education

Prior to submitting your licensing application, the state requires three years working under a licensed private investigator operating independently or as part of an organization licensed to carry out investigations. Equal to 3000 hours worth of training, this requirement can partially be satisfied through a criminal justice degree, the number of hours credited based on the degree obtained. For individuals who will need to carry a firearm as a professional investigator, there are armed security guard training requirements that must also be met. 

Application Process

Once you’ve reached the end of a long road towards the training and educational requirements, you’ll be ready to submit your application to the state Department of Justice. The application process is extremely complex, with multiple background checks and forms that must be submitted. As in other steps of the process, additional forms are required if you will be required to carry a firearm.

Continuing Education and Appropriate Organizational Memberships

Certification comes with more ongoing requirements. Initial licensing is valid for two years in North Carolina. Throughout your initial licensed period, you’ll be required to complete on-going education credits through training programs, meetings with the Private Protective Services Board, seminars, and other training programs. A great resource for meeting this requirement is membership with the North Carolina Association of Private Investigators and other industry-centric organizations focused on ongoing education and ensuring the integrity of investigators in the state.  

A Challenging But Rewarding Path

At Barefoot PI, we strive to remain one of the most ethical investigative firms in the Southeast, a recognition of which we are extremely proud. In order to help give back to the industry and to the state of North Carolina, we want to ensure those who are interested in joining the industry have access to helpful guides and resources throughout their journey. To learn more about what we do here at Barefoot PI and find out if there are opportunities to gain experience with our team.

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