How to Become a PI

Thank you for your interest in the Private Investigation industry. I have to admit, this is an exciting career. Throughout the years, I have traveled and worked in such places as Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa and other exciting places. I have been fortunate in this industry to be chosen the #1 PI in the United States and One of the Top 25 PI’s of the Century. I have been featured on most of the major talk shows including Montel, the Maury Povich Show, Dateline and the Sally Show.

What this means to you is–you can benefit from my years of experience. When I first started in this industry, there was no one to turn to for answers or guidance. I am in the process of putting together a special opportunity for those interested in this business. We are still approximately 30 days away from announcing this and making the opportunity public.

As an associate through this new venture, you will have your OWN business with the flexibility you need and the ability to generate an immediate income. As a side benefit, you will be an asset to your community and enjoy all the tax breaks working out of your home provides.

Contact us here to learn more.

E-mail us at
Phone: 210-342-0509
Fax: 210-342-0731
Kelmar & Associates
23119 IH-10 West Bldg #6
San Antonio, TX 78257


All but 13 States have licensing boards that license PIs. The requirements vary, but most require 3-5 years experience to be the owner or manager of an agency. Once this requirement is met (along with no criminal history, age, etc…) you generally have to take a test given by the licensing board.

If you do not have the experience to own or manage an agency, you will have to work for someone until you gain the experience. Many PIs hire people without prior experience and train them. This usually means being in the right place at the right time when someone is hiring. You may have to donate some of your time to work for a PI free of charge on a part-time basis to prove your worth to a PI.

You need to met PIs so that you can find a job. I would suggest attending many of the State sponsored training seminars given by such organizations as the Texas Assoc. of Licensed Investigations (TALI), the National Association of Investigative Specialists (NAIS) and similar organizations.

There are various schools that you can attend to learn more about being a PI. However, attending these schools are no guarantee that you will get hired as a PI. One such school is the PI Institute of Education (210) 342-0509.

If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.

Kelly Riddle


Twenty Two States Require an exam before issuing an Agency license:

Arkansas Illinois Maine Oregon Virginia Oklahoma
California Iowa Minnesota Tennessee New York Wisconsin
Georgia Kansas Nevada Texas N. Dakota  
Hawaii Louisiana New Mexico Vermont Ohio  
WA (3 years experience OR exam)          

Fourteen States Require P.I. employees to be licensed under the Agency license:

Delaware Louisiana Tennessee
Washington D.C Maine Texas
Florida Maryland Virginia
Kansas New Hampshire W. Virginia
Washington Nebraska (employer must keep fingerprints)

Nine States have no Statewide licensing:

Alabama Idaho Mississippi S. Dakota
Alaska Kentucky Missouri Colorado
Wyoming (regulated by Iowa jurisdictions)      

Nineteen States do not require any exam for the Agency license

Arizona Maryland N. Carolina
Colorado Massachusetts Pennsylvania
Connecticut Michigan Rhode Island
Delaware Nebraska S. Carolina
Washington D.C. New Hampshire Utah
West Virginia New Jersey WA (not required if you have 3 years experience)

Eleven States do not have a PI employee license requirement

California Iowa Montana
Washington D.C. Indiana  
Florida Michigan  
Hawaii Oregon  
Nebraska Pennsylvania  

Six States require Continuing Education

Iowa – 6 hours a year
Louisiana – 8 hours a year
Oklahoma – 8 hours a year
Tennessee- 6 hours a year
Texas- 6 hours a year
Virginia- 8 hours a year

Four States require a course for licensing

Oklahoma – 40 hour course for both agency owners and PI employees
Louisiana – 40 hour course
Virginia – 62 hour course required and taught by Department of Criminal Justice Services Washington-
Requires 4 hour training course by a state certified trainer

32 States require experience (varying from 2 to 5 years) in order to obtain an Agency license.


Eleven States do not require experience in order to obtain an Agency license

Washington D.C. Nebraska
Iowa Oklahoma
Kansas Tennessee
Louisiana Washington – exam or 3 years experience
Montana Wisconsin
Washington State
(can take the exam in lieu of)