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Private Investigator License Missouri

Becoming a Private Investigator in Missouri: Requirements and Pathways


In Missouri, the role of a private investigator is crucial for clients who need elusive information, from conducting thorough background checks to tracing fraudulent activities or locating missing persons. Known as the ‘Show Me’ state, Missouri embodies this principle through the rigorous standards set for those pursuing a career in private investigations.

Licensing Requirements in Missouri

Basic Qualifications

  • Age Requirement: Candidates must be at least 21 years old to qualify.
  • Business Premise: A physical office space within Missouri is required for licensure, ensuring accessibility and accountability.
  • Criminal Background: Missouri mandates a comprehensive background check to ensure candidates have not been involved in criminal activities that would deem them unfit for the profession.

Additional Criteria

  • Military Service: Applicants with a dishonorable discharge can still pursue a career in private investigations in Missouri, unlike in some other states.
  • Financial History: Financial standing does not influence licensing eligibility.
  • Mental Health: There is no assessment of mental health for applicants.
  • Insurance Requirement: A minimum of $250,000 in liability and worker’s compensation insurance is required, demonstrating financial responsibility towards potential claims.

Challenges to Licensure

  • Experience Requirement: Prospective investigators need a minimum of two years’ experience in the field. This prerequisite ensures that applicants have practical knowledge and are familiar with the investigative landscape.
  • Examination: Those lacking recent investigative experience must pass a regulatory examination covering Missouri’s private investigation regulations and practices. A minimum score of 70% is required.

Educational Pathways and Training

Formal Education

While Missouri does not mandate specific educational requirements, acquiring a formal education in fields related to law enforcement or criminal justice can significantly enhance a candidate’s competencies and employability.

Suggested Degrees

  • Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Science
  • Law Enforcement
  • Security Management

These programs provide foundational knowledge and skills beneficial for a career in private investigations.

Application and Maintenance

Application Process

  • Fee: The application fee is $500, which does not include the $80 exam fee for those required to take the test.
  • Documentation Required: Applicants must submit two recent passport-style photographs, a full set of fingerprints for the background check, proof of adequate insurance, and evidence of qualifying experience.
  • Review Period: The Missouri Board will review the application upon completion of all requirements.

License Renewal

  • Continuing Education: License holders must complete 16 hours of approved continuing education every two years to stay updated with the latest practices and regulatory changes.

Career Outlook and Salary

Employment Statistics

As of 2015, there were approximately 490 private investigators employed in Missouri, reflecting a stable demand for investigative services.


The average annual salary for a private investigator in Missouri was reported as $51,680 in 2015, indicating a lucrative potential in this field.


Q1: What is the most important qualification to become a private investigator in Missouri? A1: Besides meeting the age requirement, the most critical qualification is passing the criminal background check to ensure integrity and trustworthiness in handling sensitive information.

Q2: Can I become a private investigator in Missouri if I have a financial bankruptcy in my past? A2: Yes, financial history does not impact your eligibility to become a private investigator in Missouri.

Q3: What is the best way to prepare for the Missouri private investigator exam? A3: Studying Missouri’s regulations and practices related to private investigation thoroughly is recommended. Many choose to enroll in preparatory courses or study guides tailored to the Missouri examination.

Q4: How often do I need to renew my private investigator license in Missouri? A4: The license must be renewed every two years, accompanied by the requisite continuing education to ensure ongoing professional development.

This comprehensive guide provides a detailed roadmap for becoming a private investigator in Missouri, highlighting the steps, requirements, and strategic tips to navigate this rewarding career successfully.

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