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Private Investigation and Polygraph Commission

Licensure and Certification Requirements

Private Investigator Requirements

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

  • Crime or wrongs done or threatened against the United States or any state or territory of the United states
  • 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
  • The location, disposition or recovery of lost or stolen property
  • The cause or responsibility for fires, libels, losses, accidents, damages or injuries to persons or to property
  • 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.
  • Examination Information

Continuing Education Requirements

  • Each licensee is required to complete twelve (12) hours of continuing education, acceptable to the Commission, during each two (2) year 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.
Private Investigation Company Requirements

It is unlawful for any person to act as an investigations company or private investigator without first having obtained a license from the Commission. If the company is a partnership each partner must qualify. If the company is a corporation an agent must be nominated to qualify.

License Requirements

  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Be a citizen of the United States or a resident alien.
  • Not suffer from habitual drunkenness or narcotics addiction or dependence.
  • 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.
  • Be of good moral character.
  • Must meet examination requirements.
  • Must submit three classifiable fingerprint card for process through TBI and FBI for criminal history check.

Experience Requirements

  • Effective July 1, 2009 applicants for a Tennessee Private Investigation Company are required to meet the following experience requirements in order to qualify for a company license:
  • Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-26-206(a) On and after July 1, 2009 each individual applicant; or, if the applicant is a partnership, each partner; or, if he applicant is a corporation, the qualifying agent, must:
    (6) (A) Possess, or employ at least one (1) person who possesses, at least two thousand (2,000) hours of compensated, verifiable, investigative experience satisfactory to the commission; or have one (1) year of applicable, related experience or education in a related area of study approved by the commission, and
    (B) Pass an examination to be administered at least twice annually by the commission designed to measure knowledge and competence in the investigations field.
    (b) The provisions of subsection (a)(6)(A) shall not apply to any person who has been issued an investigations company license prior to the effective date of this act and such a license may continue to be renewed in accordance with the provisions of this part or any rules      and regulations promulgated by the commission in effect prior to July 1, 2009.
  • Experience Requirement Documentation

Examination Requirements

  • Pass an examination designed to measure knowledge and competence in managing a private investigation company.
  • Examination Information

Renewal Requirements

License must be renewed every two years.

Private Investigator Certified Trainer Requirements

Any individual/company who offers private investigative training for a fee must be certified by the Commission as being qualified to administer and certify to successful completion of the training. A person who offers private investigators training for a fee and is not an employee of a private investigative or proprietary agency must be licensed as a training school. This requirement does not include individuals who offer continuing professional education programs.

A certified private investigator trainer may appoint an instructor to assist with the implementation of the training program.

Certification Requirements

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Have at least three (3) years of supervisory experience satisfactory to the Commission with either a:
    • Investigative Company
    • Proprietary Entity
    • Branch of the United States Military
    • Any federal, state, county or municipal law enforcement agency
  • Be personally qualified to conduct the training
  • Be free of conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude
  • Have an active Tennessee PI license
  • Have classifiable prints on file with the Commission
  • Satisfy the education requirements
  • The trainer must be an employee of a private investigative or proprietary agency or be licensed as a company.

Education Requirements

  • Hold a four year college degree from an accredited college or university acceptable to the Commission.

Renewal Requirements

  • License must be renewed every two years.

Applications & Fees

  • Contact Commission office to request applications and obtain information regarding fees, or refer to Administrative Rules for information on application, registration, examination, renewal, or other fees.
Polygraph Examiner Intern Requirements

A polygraph examiner intern studies polygraph techniques and the administration of polygraph techniques under the personal supervision and control of a local licensed polygraph examiner who has been licensed in Tennessee for at least two years, and in accordance with a course of study prescribed by the Commission at the commencement of internship. Initially he/she may administer polygraph examinations in the presence of a licensed examiner as part of the training, and is eligible to conduct some examinations outside the presence of the sponsor during the remaining months of the internship. (Permits initially issued to interns are valid for 12 months).

Polygraph Examiner Requirements

A polygraph examiner is any person who purports to be able to detect deception or verify truth of statements through instrumentation or by means of a mechanical device. The device used to test or question individuals for the purpose of detecting deception or verifying truth of statements must record visually, permanently, and simultaneously a person's cardiovascular pattern, respiratory or breathing pattern, electro dermal or galvanic skin response pattern as a minimum. The use of devices not meeting the above requirements is prohibited by law.

License Requirements

  • Be at least twenty-one years of age
  • A citizen of the United States
  • Of good moral character
  • Free of conviction of any felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude
  • Meet education and experience requirements.

Education and Experience Requirements

Graduation from a school of polygraph approved by the American Polygraph Association or the Commission and one of the following:

  • Education:
    • Baccalaureate degree from accredited college or university
      (OR)
    • Two years of college AND immediately preceding application submission have been actively engaged in one of the following:
      • Five years criminal
        (OR)
      • Counterintelligence
        (OR)
      • Private investigative work
  • Be of Good Moral Character
  • Citizen of United States
  • Not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
  • All applicants must satisfactorily complete an internship of six (6) months or, in lieu of the completion of the internship, has provided satisfactory evidence the applicant is currently actively engaged in the polygraph examinations business in another state that may or may not have professional licensing requirements and has been principally engaged in the business of conducting polygraph examinations in that state for at least five (5) consecutive years. An applicant pursuant to this subdivision (a)(8) shall also submit evidence of a current business license, tax records and a minimum of two (2) letters of recommendation from either former clients or government agency officials.
  • Please refer to Tenn. Code Ann. § 62-27-109 for information regarding qualifications required to apply for a Non-Resident Tennessee Polygraph Examiners License.

Examination Requirements

  • Applicants must successfully complete an examination prior to licensing.
  • Effective April 1, 2013  Private Investigator, Private Investigation Company, Polygraph Intern and Polygraph Examiner licensing examinations will be temporarily unavailable for scheduling.  We are working to get a new proctor in place to conduct the examinations.  A notice will be posted as soon as a new examination proctor has been established.

Application and Fees
Contact the Commission for information on application, registration, examination, renewal, or fees.

Renewal Requirements
Effective with 2009 renewals, each license must renew by December 31st, and will be issued a two (2) year license.  See below for a schedule of fees.

Continuing Education Requirements
Twelve (12) hours of continuing education each year in 2009.  Once you have been issued a two (2) year license twenty four (24) hours of continuing education will be required prior to renewal.

Examination Information

Application and License Fees
Type Application Fees License Fees
Private Investigator $150 $100

Private Investigation Company

  1. 1 Investigator (Sole Practitioner)
  2. 2-5 Investigator affiliates
  3. Over 5 Investigator affiliates
  4. PI Company Branch Office

 

  1. $250
  2. $500
  3. $1,000
  4. $100

 

  1. $125
  2. $250
  3. $500
  4. $100
Private Investigator Certified Trainer $150 $250
Private Investigators Training Company $500 $500
Polygraph Examiner Intern $100  
Polygraph Examiner Examination $100  
Polygraph Examiner $50 $150
Duplicate Polygraph Intern $50  
Duplicate Polygraph Examiner $50  
Polygraph Intern Extension $100  
Polygraph Company   $1,000
Renewal Fees
Type Fees
Private Investigator $100

Private Investigation Company

  1. 1 Investigator (Sole Practitioner)
  2. 2-5 Investigator affiliates
  3. Over 5 Investigator affiliates
  4. PI Company Branch Office

 

  1. $250
  2. $500
  3. $1,000
  4. $100
Private Investigator Certified Trainer $250

Private Investigators Training Company

$1,000

Private Investigators Training Company Late Renewal Penalty

$100

Polygraph Examiner

$100

Polygraph Examiner Late Renewal Penalty $100 
for each month 
that elapses 
prior to payment 
being made (up 
to 6 months)

Polygraph Company

$1,000

Polygraph Company Late Renewal Penalty $ 50
for each month
that elapses 
prior to payment
being made (up 
to 6 months)

Notes: Application fees are not refundable

  • Applicants for Private Investigator Apprentice are required to submit an application for a Tennessee Private Investigator License and pay the $150.00 application fee. There is no additional fee for an apprentice permit.
  • Differences in fees for private investigation companies are based on the number of employees.
  1. Application fees are not refundable.
  2. Private Investigator and Private Investigation Company Licenses expire and become renewable after two (2) years following issuance.
  3. Private Investigator and Private Investigation Company License renewals expire and become renewable after two (2) years following issuance.
  4. Private Investigator Renewal and Private Investigators Company Renewal late fee applies to renewal of a license which has not expired more than thirty (30) days following expiration. A licensee whose license has expired more than thirty (30) days may not renew.
  5. Polygraph Examiner licenses currently renew annually on the 31st of December.
  6. Polygraph Examiner Renewal late fee is $100 per month, or portion thereof, for up to six (6) months after expiration date. A licensee whose license has expired more than six (6) months may not renew.
  7. Examination fees, scheduling, etc. for private investigator and private investigation company licensing is handled by Prometric.
  8. Examination fees, scheduling, etc. for Polygraph Examiners is currently handled by the Commission office.
  9. The fee for duplicate license is $25