How to Become a Detective Miami Florida
State Guide on How to Become a Private Detective
Private investigation is a highly respected field that has evolved significantly in the last decade. Private Detective now serve as contractors for law enforcement, cyber-crime, surveillance and human resource teams. The services they provide are broad ranging, and can include everything from investigations into marital infidelity and missing persons, to the use of computer forensics to solve cases related to financial fraud or exploitation.
Private Detective most often work for private investigation agencies or operate their own independent firms. They often work on a contract basis for both public and private sector clients, and almost always hold a state license permitting them to conduct legal investigations and surveillance with impunity. Since a state licensing and regulatory body often oversees the field of private investigations, becoming a PI means meeting state-specific requirements for licensure.
Although requirements and processes differ from state to state, in most states becoming a private Detective follows a similar general outline, for example in the case of Miami Florida.
You can be a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Florida through this process:
Step 1. Meet Basic Qualifications for Licensure as a Private Detective in Florida
In order to obtain a Class C Private Detective license in Florida, you must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
- Have no disqualifying criminal history
- Be of good moral character
- Have no history of mental illness
- Have no history of use of illegal drugs
- Have no history of alcoholism
- Have two years of experience (which can be gained through first obtaining a Class CC Private Investigator Intern License in Step 2 below)
Step 2. Complete Training and Experience Required of Private Detective in Florida
Training – Because applicants for a Class C Private Detective’s License in Florida must have two years of experience, most applicants opt to apply for licensure as a Class CC Private Detective Intern first. Prior to applying for the intern license, you must complete at least 40 hours of professional private Detective training and Chapter 493 of the Florida Statutes, offered by an accredited school.
The training programs offered by these schools result in a diploma and fulfill Florida’s requirements. However, some applicants choose to go on for college degrees in these related fields, to boost their career chances further:
- Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice/Homeland Security
- Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
- Bachelor of Business Administration in Legal Studies
- Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
Perhaps the largest difference between states lies with minimum requirements for education and experience. Although most states do not require a candidate to possess an education to become a private detective, most professionals in this field nevertheless pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or a related field so as to achieve a working knowledge of the criminal justice system law enforcement practices.
A common requirement for licensure is experience, although it should be noted that many states allow candidates to substitute education for experience. For example, the minimum experience requirement in New Hampshire for private detectiveis four years, although candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in criminal justice may substitute their education for two of the required four years.
Related private detective experience may include working as an adjuster, risk manager, claims investigator, director of security for a company, director for a licensed security service, or as a law enforcement officer for a federal, state or local police department.
Additionally, one year of college coursework in law enforcement, criminology or criminal justice (or a related field) may be used to substitute for one of the two-year experience requirement for a Class C Private Detective license in Florida.
Firearms Training – If your job as a private Detective or private Detectiveintern will require you to carry concealed firearms, you must complete 28 hours of range and classroom training given by a Florida Class K licensed firearms instructor. Acceptable forms of training are listed here.
Experience – Once you have completed training and applied for and received a Class CC Private Detective Intern license, you may begin working under the sponsorship of a Florida-licensed private Detective. As the experience requirements for a Class C Private Detective license include two years of full-time private investigative experience, this is a great way to work towards becoming a full-fledged private Detective.
Step 3. Pass the Florida Private Detective Licensing Examination
The next step on your path to Florida licensure as a private Detective is to pass a state examination. Your knowledge of Florida Statutes Sections 493.6100 through 493.6203 and Section 493.6301(5) dealing with business practices of the industry of private investigation and legal responsibilities of being a private Detective will be tested on this exam.
Step 4. Apply for Class C Licensure as a Private Detective in Florida
After passing the exam, you are ready to apply for Class C licensure as a private Detective in Florida.
- Complete the Application for Class C Private Detective License.
- Attach a color passport-sized recent photo of yourself.
- Include a completed, signed and notarized Affidavit of Experience (Form FDACS-16023)
- Include the certificate of completion confirming your passing score on the exam
- Include proof of completion of the training and/or educational requirements, such as a diploma, degree and/or transcript
- Include a set of fingerprints on the fingerprint card included with the application package or by electronic fingerprint scan. Instructions for this process are provided within the application package.
- Include a check or money order payable to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for $167 (includes $50 application fee, $75 license fee, and $42 fingerprint processing fee)
- Mail the above information to Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing, P.O. Box 9100, Tallahassee, FL 32315-9100.
If you plan to carry a concealed weapon either as a Private Investigative Intern or Private Investigator and are at least 21 years old, you must file the Class G Statewide Firearms License application. You must include the certificate showing you have completed the mandatory firearms instruction, a health certificate signed by your physician or advanced registered nurse practitioner, a passport-sized photograph, and fingerprint information. Also, enclose check or money order payable to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for $154 (license fee of $112 and fingerprint processing fee of $42). Submit all of this to the Division of Licensing address listed above. (If you are submitting the application for Class C or CC licensure at the same time, you only need to submit one set of fingerprints and one fingerprint fee).
If you wish to manage a private investigative agency, you must apply for Class MA Manager of a Private Investigative Agency licensure. Experience and training requirements for MA managers are the same as for those of private Detective. You must also pass the same examination as private Detective.
Step 5. Now That You are a Licensed Private Detective in Florida
You have worked hard, studied hard and are now a licensed private Detective in Florida! You must renew your Class C license every two years. This may be done and paid for online. You might also want to consider joining professional organizations such as the Florida Association of Licensed Detectives, which provided advocacy and networking for licensed PIs in the state.
It is important that you know that A few states have entered into reciprocity agreements, which allow private Detectives to conduct business between states without holding a separate private Detective’s license (provided the investigation is started in the Detective’s home state).
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David Wasser (President) is a former Detective with the Public Defender's Office, Major Crimes Division. He has an extensive background in both criminal and civil investigations. He is a former Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and a former Certified Legal Investigator (CLI) and is affiliated with several state and national professional organizations.
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