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How to Become a Private Investigator in Texas

How to Become a Private Investigator in Texas in 2022

During the few recent years, an increasing demand for Private Investigators (PIs) has been observed in Texas. Private investigators are hired to investigate insurance frauds or for personal relationship matters. A private investigator will help you gather and deliver all the proofs that will help you in the case.

Every state has its own rules and regulations for PIs appointment. Texas also has its own laws and rules in this regard and you have to oblige them to be a private investigator or become a part of the private investigation agency.

To become a private investigator is an amazing idea and a good option to start it as a business. There are certain requirements that you need to fulfil to enter in this field, like age, qualification, language proficiency, a clear criminal record and some other requirements of this type.


In Texas, Private investigators authorisation is regulated by The Texas department of Public Safety/Private Security Board as stated in the Private Security Act. This department is also responsible for regulation of the Investigation agencies, agency owners and the employees who work for them.

It is necessary for an individual agent to be affiliated with an authorized agency to conduct investigative procedure. If anyone is found to conduct investigations illegally, there are penalties for such actions.

A private investigation agency can consist of an independent agency owner or it may have a team that will work for the agency.

If you want to work as an investigator but you have no job portfolio with an affiliated agency, you can work independently as a Private Investigator. It means that you can choose it as a business and career. If you have a background or previous experience in the military or forces, this can have a positive impact on your investigation career.


If you want to work as a private investigator, this guide will help you to go step by step .

These steps are:

  1. Complete the basic Private investigator registration requirements
  2. Fulfill the education and previous experience requirements
  3. Register your new investigation agency/ Get affiliated with an existing agency
  4. Now you are a registered private investigator / owner of an investigation agency

Now, let us look into each step in detail.

How to become a licensed private investigator in texas

Step 1: Complete the basic private investigator registration requirements.

If you want to choose PI as an independent agency owner or just want to work for an investigation agency, you must meet certain registration requirements to get registered in Texas. 

You can go through these checkpoints to confirm either you meet the requirements or not.

  1. You are minimum 18 years old
  2. You have never convicted a crime in any jurisdiction
  3. You have never convicted class A or equivalent misdemeanor in any jurisdiction
  4. Within the previous 5 years, you have never convicted in any jurisdiction of class B or equivalent misdemeanor
  5. You are not currently charged with a class B or equivalent misdemeanor
  6. You have not been found incompetent by any court by reason of a mental defect or disease and not have been restored to competency
  7. You have not been dishonorably discharged from armed forces of United States, discharged from United States armed services under any other conditions which are prohibited or dismissed by  United states armed services
  8. You are not be required to register in current or any other state as sex offender
  9. Not currently charged with or under indictment for, a felony, or class A misdemeanor

Step 2: Fulfill the education and previous experience requirements

There are two situations. Whether you want to join a Private investigation agency as an employee or you plan to start a private investigation company.

If you plan to work for a private investigation company, you must have sponsorship from an investigation agency that is licensed by Texas. This will show that you have worked for a licensed agency.

The requirement of your education and skills will be determined by the employer. The Texas state does not require any special education or skills for a person who wants to work for a licensed agency.

Just like other fields, there is also a lot of competition in the investigation field. If you lack experience working in any law enforcement agency, military or armed services then you must have an undergraduate degree in criminal justice or equivalent field. Because the employer will look for the most appropriate person for the job. 

You can earn one of the following degrees that are available at the schools of Texas:

  1. Bachelor in Business Administration- Legal Studies
  2. Bachelor in Science-Criminal justice
  3. Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice- Human Services

A degree in the above fields and having experience in investigation will lead you to a good job in your desired company.

Now, if you wish to initiate your own investigation company. You should follow the following criteria:

  1. Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or equivalent field.
  2. An experience of minimum 3 years as a private investigator.
  3. Bachelor degree in any concerned field along with an experience of 6 months
  4. Special private investigation training of at least 200 hours.

You should meet at least one of the above requirements to start your own Investigation company.

Step 3: Register your new investigation agency/ Get affiliated with an existing agency

Now that you have successfully completed the first two steps. It is time to get registered or register your fresh agency.

If you are first applying for the registration as an investigator in Texas, then you will have to provide your personal information through an online application form to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Private Security Bureau (PSB) as an employee of the agency.

You will also have to provide your fingerprints for FBI checks. You will have to pay a fee for the registration, as well. When your FBI background checks have been made then your private investigator license will be mailed to your employer’s agency location.

Click here for other fees

If you are wondering to start your own investigating company, then the criteria is a little bit different. For this purpose, you will have to submit a company licence application form. This will be used to approve your company’s name. If there would be any chance that the name you suggested is being used for some other business, then the matter can be solved. 

You will have to provide the details about the owner, partners and share-holders of the company in the form as well. You will have to submit the company application first and after that owner or manager application. You can submit these applications online.

After submitting the applications, you will have to pay an application fee and FBI classification fee. Two cards of fingerprints will also be needed. 

You will have to pass an exam within 3 months after application submission. If you are applying as the company owner, you will be required to show a proof of adequate liability insurance.

Step 4: Now you are a registered private investigator / owner of an investigation agency

Congratulations!! Now that you are registered as a private investigator or owner of a private investigation company, you need to renew your registration every year.

You can get your registration in two categories.

  • Less than 15years
  • More than 15 years

If you have been registered for less than 15 years, then you have to complete 18 hours of continuing education.

And if your registration is for more than 15 years, then you will have to complete 12 hours of continuing education to get your license going.l


Professional agencies are a good platform to continue your career. Meanwhile, they also give opportunity for your continuing education.

Some of the private investigative agencies are these:

  • Dallas: Gill Wilson
  • Austin: Akin investigations
  • Houston: DBU investigations
  • Laredo: R&R Private security.


Being a private investigator is a charming and fascinating job. You need to develop certain skills to fulfill the requirements of this job. An investigative person should have intellectual and analytical abilities.

These people are keen to read books, have interest in maths and science. They have deep insights and curious nature.

Investigative people are innovative, curious and enjoy outdoors not because they like to be social but because they are basically problem solvers and look for ways to get ideas.

These people are basically intelligent and tend to involve themselves in related activities. They basically lack persuasive qualities. They gather and use the information for problem solving. You can take a free personality test to check your interests.


Certain skills and techniques are required to carry out and complete an investigation. Let us have a look at those skills.

  1. Perform desk investigations
  2. Collect circumstantial evidence
  3. Structure the evidence
  4. Evidence document
  5. Use your investigative mind
  6. Google as an investigative tool
  7. Social media and investigative search tools
  8. Data + Evidence security
  9. Required tools
  10. Traffic situations
  11. Driving methodology in different areas
  12. Identifying the subject
  13. Transition abilities
  14. clothing
  15. Filming the necessary proof
  16. Reporting

These skills will help you carry out an investigation in the best way. There are online and offline courses and training which will help you to learn these skills.


A fresh or novice investigator is the one who has less than 2400 hours of investigation experience. When you have an experience of working 2400 hours as an investigator, then you can work independently.

There is a lot of competition and variety in the investigation field. It is good to gain expertise in some of the fields rather than thinking about many.

Once a private investigator in Texas get an experience of over 10,000 hours, he /she will be assumed as a proficient investigator in the certain field.

No matter how educated you are, if you do not have experience in the investigative field. You can not be known as a good PI. The experience can be achieved by working with some investigation agency or professional investigation company.

You can describe a learning curve as specific skills that can only be learned by working in a professional investigation agency.

A novice does not have those abilities which an experienced has. A novice will try to solve a case on a hypothetical basis. On the other hand, an experienced investigator will look according to experience and skills which are lacking by the novice. 

Investigation is a multi-dimensional profession. An experienced investigator learns from the past experiences and implement the ways to solve the present situations. They have a keen observation around them.

Effective decision making will help gaining client’s satisfaction as well as will give a great impression on your reputation as a Texas investigator.


Primitive investigative techniques were not that much effective. In the scientific era, there are advanced tools that not only make investigation easy but also give authentic results. If you are a private investigator and want to polish your skills and get a good reputation in your career, you should have a look at the following devices that will help you a lot.

 1. Cell phones and Mobile devices:

These are one of the basic tools that are required by a private investigator. Mobile phones and tablets are easy to carry and can be taken anywhere. These are helpful to make notes and take photos and videos in different situations.

Cell phones are mandatory because there are situations when PIs need assistance and they need to call their partners or police to inform them about a situation.

2. Computers and Softwares:

Although mobile and tabs are good for surveillance but still computers and desktops are basic tools for a private investigator.

Computers and their softwares share a lot of the work load of Texas PIs. They perform various tasks and are helpful for:

  1. Managing meetings and making notes of schedule
  2. Word documents are used to combine and write information
  3. Emails and calendar system to organize and exchange info
  4. Bookmarks of your latest and most used searches
  5. Anti-virus software
  6. VPN sites to secure client’s privacy

3. Private investigator’s app:

With the help of advanced technology, Private Investigators are now able to use many apps to aid their investigation and give better results.

  1. Mapping apps
  2. Public records database search apps
  3. Speech to text apps for field work
  4. Hidden camera detector apps
  5. Pre-texting apps for calls and investigative work
  6. High definition camera and video apps

Before using different apps, private investigators must make sure that those apps are legal to use.

Salary of Texas Private Investigator

Texas Private investigators earn more relative to other states. Average salaries of PIs in Texas is second highest in the country. Moreover, there are high opportunities for PIs in Texas as compared to other places.

As of the year 2019 May, the salary of Texas PIs was $56,190. Those who are experienced earn 10% more, $77,930.

Increasing demand of PIs will lead to new jobs in this field as estimated for 2021. And as the old employers retire, there will be space for newcomers. This trend is seen in Texas state higher than other states.


Can a private investigator put a tracking device on your car?

If the car is owned by you, then no one has any legal permission to put a tracking device on your car. But in most states, licensed private investigators are allowed to put a GPS tracker on your vehicle for a reasonable purpose.

How long does it take to become a private investigator?

A two or four years degree in criminal justice is required to become a private investigator. But only a degree is not enough, you must have an experience of at least 2-3 years in the relevant field.

How much is a Private investigator in Texas?

The cost to hire a Private investigator in Texas can vary according to the service you want. Hourly rate can be between $50-60. Comprehensive investigation will require more cost. Some professionals may ask in advance before starting an investigation.

Do private investigators work with police?

You would be amazed to know that YES, THEY DO. They can gather proofs that will be presentable in courts, search records and do surveillance to help Police in solving a case.


Being a private investigator in Texas is a good job field. If you have an interest in investigating then you can have a better future in this area. But you should gain experience as merely being educated is not enough to be a successful Private Investigator in Texas.

You can get a free personality test to check your abilities as an investigator. It will take years to be known as a renowned investigator but at the end, you will be satisfied. I hope that you will find this post helpful. If you have any queries, then you can go to the online website of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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