Becoming a detective or investigator generally requires some form of specialized training and a license. According to a May 2009 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were approximately 45,500 private detectives and investigators nationally, earning a a median salary of $42,110. The number is expected to grow to 55,500 by 2018. Florida detectives and investigators must be licensed through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing, Bureau of License Issuance.
In order to qualify for a private investigator's license in Florida, applicants must be at least 18 years old, and must be a legal citizen or resident as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. Applicants must have a Florida residence that is not a P.O. box, and need to be able to provide evidence of at least five years of Florida residency and employment history.
Applicants for a detective's license need to be able to pass a criminal background check. Applicants cannot obtain a license if they have a felony conviction, or if they have been convicted of a crime that required them to be incarcerated for more than one year. Any other history of violent crimes, such as robbery or assault, can also lead to a denial of a license, as can any outstanding warrants. The entire background check can take anywhere from one to three months.
Experience is required to work as a private detective in the state of Florida. Applicants must have a minimum of two years of private investigative or related work. This can include serving as an investigator's assistant or in the field of law enforcement. Two years of coursework in a field like criminology, criminal justice or law enforcement administration will also qualify applicants for a license.
Private detectives can carry a weapon in Florida if they obtain Class "G" firearms license and are at least 21 years old. Applicants with this license are only allowed to carry concealed weapons, and may carry no more than two weapons at any one time. The state also limits which weapons a private detective can carry, which include a .38 caliber revolver or a semiautomatic pistol that is .9 mm or .380 caliber. Those wanting to carry a .357 caliber revolver can do so only with ammunition that is .38 caliber.