How To Become a Licensed Private Investigator in South Carolina


This article explains how to get a private investigator’s license in South Carolina. In addition, it includes information on investigation industry associations in the state. Also, it provides recommendations for training and education, as well as contact information for existing agencies in the state.

South Carolina Private Investigator Licensing Requirements

State Licensing Authority

The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) handles private investigator licensing in South Carolina. Visit the website to access specific information such as licensing requirements, application forms, and the laws and regulations that apply to private investigators in South Carolina.

Contact Information

South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division
SLED Headquarters is located at:
4400 Broad River Road
Columbia, SC 29210

The public may reach SLED through telephone number (803) 737-9000 or a mailing address of:

Post Office Box 21398
Columbia, SC 29221

General Requirements

The following is general licensing information. Please visit the website for specific licensing information, application forms, insurance, fees, and special licensing requirements. Applicants for private investigative business licenses or registrations will be ineligible for licensing/registration if any of the following apply:

  • Not a United States citizen
  • Under 18 years of age
  • Any discharge from military service that is other than honorable
  • Currently holding any other position that would constitute dual-office holding and a conflict of interest, such as Actively commissioned law enforcement officers, Coroners, Jailers or detention officers, Probation or Parole Officers, Reserve officers, State Constables, Federal officers, investigators, or inspectors (including military
  • Conviction of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude
  • Has a criminal charge pending that, if convicted, would prohibit an individual from being licensed or registered
  • The applicant fails to meet any other criteria outlined in the S.C. Private Investigative or Contract Security Agencies Act or falsifies the application for a license and registration.
  • Please visit the website for a complete list of requirements and to learn the steps involved in the application process.

Other special licensing requirements such as education, experience, examinations, and insurance may be required. Check the state licensing website for more information.

The Private Investigator’s Licensing Handbook: How to Get a Private Investigator License in any State
Considering a career as a private investigator? Dive into this book to explore services offered, learn about the work environment, career prospects, and salaries. Discover state-specific licensing requirements, training resources, and industry associations. Already a PI? Use it to learn about licensing in other states. Also, agencies can guide new hires through the licensing process. This edition includes enhanced training recommendations, suggestions for starting a new business, how to join an association, and updated state information. It’s your essential starting point on the path to becoming a private investigator.

South Carolina Private Investigator Associations

South Carolina Association of Legal Investigators (SCALI) – A non-profit professional association for licensed private detectives and professional investigators employed by law firms and public defenders. Students and individuals working within the criminal justice system may join the association as associate members.

Find a Job as a Detective

Once you have a license, you’re ready to find a job as a private investigator. Use our list of private investigation agencies in South Carolina as a starting point. Contact all of the agencies in your area and ask about job openings.

Additional Information

Training Resources – Improve your chances of obtaining a license in Wisconsin by completing a degree or certification program, training course, or home study course. Learn what options are available to get the investigative knowledge necessary to get licensed.


If you have any questions about how to get a private investigator’s license in South Carolina, please post a comment below.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


  1. Can a Virginia licensed private detective conduct investigations on a murder that occurred in South Carolina?

    I am writing a murder mystery. The premise is this: The private investigator lives in Virginia. Her family who lives in South Carolina wants her to come to South Carolina and investigate the murder of a friend.

    In real life, can a PI from Virginia investigate a murder in South Carolina?

    • Generally, a private investigator can’t conduct investigations in states where they aren’t licensed. So, if the private investigator is licensed in Virginia, he/she can’t investigate a murder in South Carolina.

      Some states have reciprocity agreements that allow investigators to conduct investigations in other states, but the crime must originate in their home/licensed state. For example, Virginia has reciprocity agreements with North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Florida.

  2. I am checking to see what should I do to have my own private investigating business. I want to work with women who have issues with cheating spouses or boyfriends , etc. Are there courses I can take?

  3. I’m Retired Military Police Investigator (v5). Graduate of FLETC. Is it possible that I could be qualified to become a Private Investigator.

    • Absolutely. Just visit the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division at the link listed above to learn more about the requirements, fees and forms required to apply.


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