Last Updated: April 19, 2023. Report error / Make suggestion

A career as a private investigator or security guard offers the chance to work in a variety of settings, as well as an opportunity to solve unique problems or puzzles.  The field also allows for individuals to work for an established company or the freedom to pursue their own business.  The background check and licensing requirements are heightened if you are planning on carrying a firearm in either field.

Initial Application Requirements

Who/What Agency governs or oversees the profession?

  • Department of Licensing

What are the background check requirements?

  • The application itself may ask for any information and documentation that reasonably relates to the need to determine whether you meet the criteria for the job
  • You must also submit a set of fingerprints
    • Fingerprints are provided to WSP for them to be compared to fingerprint records available to WSP
    • The director may also require periodic fingerprinting to identify criminal convictions subsequent to registration
      • *If you were previously issued a license as a private security guard under RCW 18.170 within the last 12 months, you do not need to undergo a separate background check
  • The director will ask for comments on your application from the chief law enforcement officer of the county and city/town where your employer is located
  • If you are seeking an armed private investigator/security guard license you will also require the following:
    • Firearms certificate issued by the criminal justice training commission
    • License to carry a concealed pistol

Are there any convictions that will automatically disqualify me?

  • Your application may be denied if you have been convicted of a crime in any jurisdiction that the DOL determines to be directly related to the your capacity to perform the duties of a private investigator/security guard and that withholding of a license should be done to protect the citizens of Washington State.

Do Certificates of Restoration of Opportunity (CROPs) apply to the position?

  • No, a CROP does not apply to private investigators/security guards under RCW chapter 18.165.