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Does California require a license for a private detective?

Are you considering a career as a private detective? If so, you might want to head over to California.

The Golden State, in fact, is one of the most populated, diverse, and dynamic parts of the countries, and it offers plenty of great opportunities for aspiring detectives.

Remember, though, that if you want to become a private detective in California, you’ll need to obtain a regular license first.

Our article right here will guide you through all the necessary steps to achieve this, and kick start your career as a private detective in California.

What Are the Requirements to Obtain a License?

If you want to work as a private investigator or detective in the state of California, you’ll need to meet a series of specific criteria.
These include:

  • Being 18 years old or older
  • Undergoing a criminal history background check
  • Having at least three years of proven, paid experience in investigative activities, or holding a law or police science degree and two years of paid investigative experience, or holding an AA degree in justice, police science, or criminal law, and two and a half years of paid experience
  • Completing and passing an exam. This is a multiple-choice type of examination which normally lasts around two hours and assesses your knowledge of and competence in-laws, terminology, liability, evidence, surveillance, and undercover investigations

How Do You Obtain a Regular License?

Once you have passed your exam and received your official certification, you can apply for your Private Investigator license.
Before you proceed with your application, prepare the following documents and items:

  • Your completed application
  • Two passport-type and recent photographs of yourself
  • A $50 application fee
  • A Private Investigator Live Scan form signed by the Live Scan Operator

Got everything you need? Great, now you are ready to send off all this documentation to the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services located in Sacramento, California.

Do You Need a Firearm Permit, Too?

As a private investigator, you might need to carry a gun when on duty.
If this is the case, you will also need to get yourself a legal firearm permit.
To obtain this, you’ll need to complete a course in the Power to Arrest and one in the carrying and use of firearms, and you need to be a citizen of the United States or have a permanent right to remain status.
Remember to keep your firearm permit current, as each license expires after two years. You are also required to requalify twice during the first year, and twice during the second.

The Takeaway

The state of California requires all private detectives to hold a regular license in order to legally perform their duties.
If you are thinking about working as a PI, you might also need to obtain a firearm permit, too.
For even more tips, news, and resources of private investigations and private detective work, make sure that you check out the rest of our blog posts.

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