How to Become a Private Detective in Tennessee

Any person who engages in the business or accepts employment to obtain or furnish information with reference to one or more of the following:

  1. Crime or wrongs done or threatened against the United States or any state or territory of the United states
  2. The identity, habits, conduct, business, occupation, honesty, integrity, credibility, knowledge, trustworthiness, efficiency, loyalty, activity, movement, whereabouts, affiliations, associations, transactions, acts, reputations or character of any person
  3. The location, disposition or recovery of lost or stolen property
  4. The cause or responsibility for fires, libels, losses, accidents, damages or injuries to persons or to property
  5. The securing of evidence to be used before any court, board, Commission, officer or investigating committee. (Upon request, an apprentice status limited to 6 months can be granted to applicants provided the applicant is sponsored by a licensed investigative company and works under direct supervision of a licensed investigator.)

License Requirements

In order to hold a valid Tennessee Private Investigator License the applicant/licensee must be affiliated with a licensed Tennessee Private Investigators Company. An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a citizen of the United States or a resident alien
  • Not have been declared by any court of competent jurisdiction incompetent by reason of mental defect or disease (unless subsequently declared competent by a court of competent jurisdiction)
  • Affiliated with a licensed Tennessee PI company or license own company
  • Not suffer from habitual drunkenness or narcotics addiction or dependence
  • Be of good moral character
  • Meet examination and continuing education requirements
  • Applicant must submit fingerprint cards for processing by TBI and FBI for criminal history check.

Examination Requirements

  • Pass an examination designed to measure knowledge and competence in the investigations field.
  • Candidates may obtain examination information from:

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Continuing Education Requirements

  • Each licensee is required to complete twelve (12) hours of continuing education acceptable to the Commission in renewal period. (The Commission is encouraged to require that at least one (1) hour per year of continuing professional education be devoted to ethics).

Renewal Requirements

  • License must be renewed every two years. Click Here for a schedule of fees.

Applications & Fees

The private investigator license application above provides detailed licensing requirements.  Key information in the application include:

Application Fee: $150.00

License Fee: $100.00

There are two applications available which include an apprentice application and a regular private investigator license.

Read through the application carefully.




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