This exam, required for most of the criminal justice careers that allow a law enforcement professional to work outside a public agency, is designed to help a state licensing board to determine if you have a basic understanding of the legal, ethical, and professional obligations of a private detective. The format and the specific content of the private investigator exam can vary drastically from state to state. However, most states require you to complete a written examination. This examination typically includes a series of multiple-choice questions to assess your knowledge of document interpretation, the laws related to criminal procedure, the laws related to your private investigator license, legal restrictions on private investigators, penal law, report writing, supervision of investigators, and techniques that private investigators use on the job.
The private investigator exam typically is scored on a pass/fail system, and the specific number of questions you must answer correct in order to pass the exam varies from state to state. However, most states require you to answer approximately 70% of the questions on the exam correctly in order to pass the exam and obtain your private investigator license.