Requirements for an Ohio Private Detective License


The state of Ohio requires licensure for those practicing private investigation in the state. The Ohio law requires individuals and businesses seeking a license to offer investigative services such as background checks and genealogical research. Candidates can apply for a license that limits the individual or business to investigative services only.

Criminal Background Check

  • License applicants must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. Candidates who apply for a private investigator license in the state must not have a felony conviction in the past 20 years. The bureau of criminal identification and investigation conducts the criminal background check. Individuals who intend to carry a firearm are subject to a background check from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.


  • Applicants for a private investigators license in Ohio must successfully pass the private investigator examination from the Ohio Department of Public Safety.


  • Ohio requires a minimum of five character references. Acceptable references must have known the candidate for the last five years and cannot be a blood relative. Businesses seeking licensure in the state must provide five references for each person specified on the license application.


  • Applicants must submit proof of liability insurance coverage before a license is issued. Ohio requires private investigators carry liability insurance in the amounts of $100,000 for each individual, $300,000 for bodily injury and $!00,000 for property damage.


  • Licensure applicants must have 4,000 hours of experience in investigatory work within the last two years. Experience can include working for a licensed private investigator business in the state. Candidates can satisfy the experience requirement with a specialized education in the criminal justice field, military police service or service as a law enforcement officer. The applicant using a criminal justice education to satisfy this requirement must provide proof of successfully passing at least a two-year program that awards an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Education alone can only satisfy half of the work experience requirement.

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