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Becoming a Private Investigator or Security Guard

March 17, 2016
Forms and information on many Georgia licenses are available on the Georgia Secretary of State's website.

Do you have a background in criminal justice and you’re ready to take the next steps?  To become a private investigator or security guard in Georgia, you need to first get a license.

In Georgia, if you are an owner, partner or officer of your private investigative or security company, you can be the holder of the company license. To qualify, you need to have 2 years of experience. If you’re getting a license for a private investigative company, the experience needs to be in law enforcement or as a registered private detective of another company. If you’re licensing a private security company, the experience can be in law enforcement or as a supervisor or administrator of a security company or in-house security operations. For either type of business, you also need to have a 4-year degree in Criminal Justice or another related field.

If you want to work as a private investigator for an existing company rather than starting your own, you need to meet the requirements specified in Article 43-38-7 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). Some of the requirements are that you must be at least 18-years-old, a U.S. citizen or registered resident alien and you can’t have committed crimes with illegal weapon use. To be employed as an armed security guard, you need to be at least 21-years-old and meet the requirements in Articles 43-38-7 and 43-38-10 of the OCGA.

You may attend training before being hired, but your employer is officially responsible for your board-approved training. Your employer is also responsible for submitting an Application for Employee Registration on your behalf. If you are approved to take the Private Detective or Security Guard Exam, the exam administrator will send you a notice of your approval along with instructions and an exam schedule.

Check with the Secretary of State’s Fee Schedule for a list of associated fees.

Whether you’re searching for a private investigator or security guard to hire or a company to hire you, you might want to find out if a person or business is licensed. The Georgia Secretary of State website has a searchable database where you can find the status and details of an individual’s or business’s license.

Check the Secretary of State’s frequently asked questions for more on how to become a private investigator or security guard.

Good luck and thank you for your service.

Rachel Hart

About the Author

Rachel Hart is the User Experience Designer for Digital Services Georgia. On, she makes government material approachable with writing, infographics, videos, and other imagery.

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