Being a private investigator is an interesting and rewarding career, and the demand for skilled investigators is high. If you’ve ever wondered about how to get your Florida private investigator license, you’ve come to the right place. In Florida, your licensure path will depend on your experience and determine whether you should pursue a Class CC Intern license or Class C license. In this post, we’ll discuss the requirements to begin the process of training as a private investigator and clearly outline the steps needed to become a licensed private investigator in Florida.
What is a Private Investigator?
Private investigators are experienced, licensed civilians who are hired by lawyers, individuals, or organizations to research, document, conduct surveillance, or interview others regarding civil or legal matters. They assist others in these matters by gathering evidence in the form of photographs, video footage, recorded conversations, and more. Private investigators must have keen observation skills, must be extraordinarily patient, and must have an analytical mind. Private investigators are frequently employed in both private and public sectors.
Private investigators work in a variety of settings including:
- Personal investigations
- Undercover and criminal investigations
- Crisis intervention
- Missing person investigations
- Retail loss and prevention
- Employee screening
- Personal protection
- Computer forensics
- Terrorism and intelligence
- Civil investigation
How to Become a Private Investigator in Florida
The process of becoming a private investigator in Florida has many steps, but most are simple and straightforward. Read on to learn how to begin the process and discover resources to help you along the way.
Meet the Basic Background Requirements to Become a Private Investigator in Florida
The legal requirements to become a private investigator vary from state to state. In fact, Florida is among the states that require private investigators to become licensed. But before enrolling in private investigator courses or applying for Class CC or Class C licensure, you must first meet the basic requirements of a private investigator.
The following minimal background requirements are mandated by the state of Florida:
- You must be 18 years of age or older.
- You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
- You must be legally allowed to work in Florida.
- You must not have any disqualifying criminal history.
- You must not have a history of mental illness, drug use, or alcoholism.
- You must be of good moral character.
If you meet the criteria to become a private investigator, you can continue the process.
How to Become a Class CC Private Investigative Intern
If you don’t have any experience in private investigations and are just starting out, here are the steps to getting your Florida Class CC Intern Private Investigative license.
Take a Florida Private Investigator Training Course (40 hours)
If you don’t have two years of investigative experience, not to worry - start with the required 40-hour training course to obtain your FL Investigator’s license. Enroll in a 40-hour Florida Private Investigator CC Intern Training Course that meets the State of Florida’s Division of Licensing requirement, according to F.S. 493. You can take these courses online or in person. Upon completion of the 40-hour training, an approved training provider will fill out a proof of training certificate (FDACS Form #16062) to add to your application.
Be Sponsored by a Licensed Private Investigator
An applicant for a Class CC license must also be sponsored by a Class C, M, or MA licensee.
For your Florida CC Intern application, you need to have the intent to sponsor form (FDACS form #16026) completed and secure employment with a licensed Investigative Company in Florida that can fill out this form. Florida Class CC Intern licensing classifies you as a Private Investigator and allows you to gain experience during employment with a licensed private investigation agency.
Apply for a Class CC Private Investigative Intern License in Florida
Once you’ve completed your 40 hour pre-licensing training and have employment with a licensed agency, you can complete your application for the Class CC license. As mentioned previously, you’ll need to include FDACS form #16062 as your proof of training, the intent to sponsor letter, a recent color photograph, a copy of your fingerprints, and any applicable fees. You’ll need to mail all of the above to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing. Additionally, you can submit your application in person at any Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' regional office. Just make sure to schedule an appointment and most regional offices can complete your fingerprinting and take your color photo.
How to Become a Florida Class C Private Investigator
If you have two years of verifiable experience or have completed your two years of experience as a Florida CC Intern licensed Investigator you can apply for a Class C Private Investigator License. Here are the steps to becoming a Class C Private Investigator.
Have Verifiable Investigative Experience
An applicant for the Class "C" Private Investigator License must have two years of lawfully gained, verifiable, full-time experience to qualify for the license. This experience can be acquired through a combination of (as updated from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' website) -
- Private investigative work or related fields of work that provided equivalent experience or training;
- College coursework related to criminal justice, criminology, or law enforcement administration, or successful completion of any law enforcement-related training received from any federal, state, county, or municipal agency, except that no more than one year may be used from this category; and
- Work as a Class “CC” licensed private investigator intern. This internship is done at a licensed private investigative agency.
If you have two years of verifiable investigative experience, then you can immediately apply for a Class C Private Investigator license. Prior to completing your application for the Class C license, you need to pass the state-administered exam.
Pass the State-Administered Private Investigator Examination
With two years of full-time investigative experience, you then become eligible to take the state-administered exam for private investigator licensure in Florida. We recommend taking an exam prep course to make sure you are fully prepared for the exam and understand Florida’s legal guidelines and ethical expectations as well as a review of state statutes and administrative codes. An exam prep course not only gives you an advantage when taking the exam but also provides more training and insight into being a private investigator.
Also, note if you have two years of experience from your Florida CC Intern licensure, you are not required to complete the state examination and can apply for the Florida C license once you have all of your progress reports submitted to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Once you’re ready to take the exam, you can do so online or in person. The state of Florida has partnered with Prometric Inc. to proctor the examination. To register, you must call the Florida Public Inquiry Center at (850) 245-5300. A fee of $63 is required to take the exam. Once you pass the exam, Prometric Inc. will provide documentation that you passed (which is required for your licensure application).
Apply for a Class C Private Investigator License in Florida
After passing the exam, you’ll then need to complete the application to become a Class C Private Investigator in Florida. In addition to the application, you must include a recent, passport-sized photo of yourself, a completed Affidavit of Experience (Form FDACS-16023), the certificate of completion and your passing score on the exam, proof of completion of training/experience, a copy of your fingerprints, as well as any application fees. You’ll need to mail all of the above to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing. Here too, you can submit your application in person at a regional office where they can take your photo and complete your fingerprinting at the local office. Just remember to make an appointment!
Begin Practicing as a Licensed Private Investigator in Florida
Once you’ve passed your exam and your application has been approved, you can now begin practicing as a licensed private investigator in Florida! There are plentiful resources out there to help you find jobs and advance your career. You can join professional organizations that provide advocacy and networking opportunities for private investigators in Florida, like the Florida Association of Licensed Investigators or the Florida Association of Private Investigators. Additionally, there are online job boards available for private investigators to help you find the job of your dreams.
Additional Professional Development Training
Class C Private Investigator licenses must be renewed every two years. Fortunately, the National Investigative Training Academy, Inc. (NITA) offers professional development, industry-related training that will enhance your career, and classes online for private investigators. Renew your license and continue your private investigator training on your own time. All of NITA’s online courses are taught by seasoned and knowledgeable experts, so you can be sure you’re receiving the best training possible.
Proven Online Learning From NITA
The National Investigative Training Academy, Inc. (NITA), an online provider of state-approved Private Investigator training classes, offers a variety of resources that can help you decide if becoming a private investigator would be a positive career choice. Learn more by calling 1-800-730-NITA (6482) or by exploring our course offerings.