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  • Writer's pictureTracie Y

How to Become a Texas Licensed Private Investigator.

Whether it's from your love of true crime, or your passion for problem solving, you've decided to look into a career as a private detective. Congrats! This is a huge first step and it is not for the faint of heart. So what steps do you need to take to become a licensed private detective in the state of Texas?


The First step is to understand the types of licenses associated with becoming a private detective. There are several levels, Owner, Manager, and licensed pocket card holder. An Owner is an individual who owns an Investigations Firm. A Manager is an individual licensed to manage a Private Security Company. A licensed pocket card holder is a licensed private detective who is not an owner of a manager.


If you are only looking to earn a Private Investigators License (or pocket card) and you have no experience, do not fear. You do not need to meet any education requirements to earn a pocket card. You can simply go to TOPS External App (texas.gov) to begin your application. Once you complete your application, you will either be informed that something is missing or you will be approved. If your application is accepted and approved, then CONGRATULATIONS! You are extremely close to becoming a licensed Private Investigator in the state of Texas. Next you will need a Private Investigations Firm (Like Tracie Investigations LLC) to sponsor your license. Once you find a company to sponsor your license, your Private Investigator License will be linked to that company and they will be responsible for training you. Additionally, you will not receive your pocket card until you have found a company who has agreed to sponsor you and who has notified the Texas Department of Private Security of this sponsorship.

Fees associated: Approximately $75.


If you are looking to begin your own Private Investigations Company in the state of Texas then I will outline these details in another article. However I can tell you about the licensing portion. If you meet one of these three requirements; then you can begin your own PI firm and become licensed without sponsorship:

1) You are a Peace Officer

2) You have worked as a PI for three years under another company sponsorship

3) You have a college degree with corresponding years of experience.

If you meet these qualifications then you can begin the process to own a PI company and apply for your license without the need of sponsorship. You would need to submit two applications; a company application and an individual application. Additionally your company must have a licensed manager. If you will be managing the company, then you will need to take the Managers exam. This exam covers the Laws and Regulations that you and your company will be required to follow. If you are not interested in taking the managers exam then you will need to hire a manager before your company is approved and licensed by the state.

Fees associated: upwards of $400.

That is that. This post discusses the basic formula to becoming a licensed Private Detective in the State of Texas. Keep an eye out for additional articles which will discuss the Managers Exam, P.I. Capabilities and more. If you wish to request an article or if you have additional questions, please send a request through the contact page on our website.

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