Fairfax, VA


A Virginia Private Security Association

Navigating the field of Private Investigation can be confusing. We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions we believe may help you understand the field better. If you have additional questions, we suggest email us at president@vapisa.com or contact the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).

Can I become a Private Investigator?

Follow the instructions from the DCJS to see if you are eligible to apply and become registered as a Private Investigator in Virginia. You must complete a 60-hour training course and pass a background investigation to complete your registration. From there, you will need to work for a private investigation business licensed in Virginia. 

Can I get hired as Private Investigator?

Only private investigation businesses licensed by the DCJS can employee you as a private investigator and only when you are registered as an individual.

Can PISA help me become a Private Investigator?

PISA does not offer training, but we do associate with numerous training academies and instructors. Send us an email at president@vapisa.com if you need help finding training or check DCJS’s online academy locator to find a school near you.

Can PISA help me further my career in Private Investigation?

PISA has helped hundreds of investigators, and those in associated security careers, network, grow, and prosper in the industry. 

Can a private investigator work as a bodyguard or a security guard?

Only if they are also registered as a guard or personal protection specialist with DCJS. Different roles require different registrations with the DCJS. Overlap in what is allowed can be confusing and we encourage you to hold multiple registrations and defer to contacting DCJS when you need additional information. 

Does being a Private Investigator allow me to carry a concealed weapon?

No. Persons who carry or have access to a firearm while on duty must have a firearm endorsement as described under 6 VAC 20-171-365 of the state regulations. If carrying a concealed handgun, the person must also have a valid concealed handgun permit, and the written permission of his employer under 18.2-308 of the Code of Virginia. 

Do I have to have a valid Private Investigator registration before I can work?

Yes. You must have a registration to work in this registered category. 

Do I have to be trained before I can work?

Yes. You must have completed all required training and have a registration to work in in a registered category. 

Can private investigators from other states conduct investigations in Virginia and vice versa?

Yes, provided the investigation originates in their state of licensure or registration when the other state offers similar reciprocity to private investigators registered in the Commonwealth. View the Limited Reciprocity Agreements for Private Investigations that the Commonwealth of Virginia has with other states.

Can I work as a Private Investigator in Maryland or DC?

No, Virginia does not have reciprocity with Maryland or DC to work as a Private Investigator. 

What is the difference between a Private Investigator, a Professional Investigator, and a Private Detective?

Most of the time the names are interchangeable but are often used differently in different areas. Maryland uses Private Detectives while Virginia uses Private Investigators. 

Are Private Investigators issued badges?

No, DCJS issues registration cards that use your Division of Motor Vehicle records. 

What is a 99 number?

A 99 number is a unique identifying ID that DCJS issues you when registered. The number begins with “99-XXXXXX” and is listed on all DCJS identification cards.