Become a Private Investigator or Security Guard in WV

As the only professional organization in West Virginia that represents both the Private Investigator and Security Guard industries, the Private Investigator and Security Professionals of WV (PISPWV) often receives inquiries about how to become a PI or SG.  If you run a simple Google search, you will find dozens of articles about the process.  The official answer about how to obtain a license is to query the licensing authority for that license; in West Virginia, the licensing authority for Security Guards and Private Investigators is the Secretary of State of West Virginia (WVSoS). 

We will post the official links below.  Here's the nitty gritty (but remember: see WVSoS for the official requirements):

  • Call WVSoS (304.558.8000) and request a free packet because you must…
  • Get an official fingerprint from Identigo
  • Get 5 character references in writing on the WVSoS form
  • Get 2 passport photographs
  • Get a $2,500 surety bond
  • Get copies of your education and experience (they can be combined - see the links)
  • Fill out the app
  • Send in all of the above plus the fee

Table of Contents on Licensing

Specific Steps and experience/education

WV law about the program


JULY 2016 - APPLICATION CHANGES: New procedures for PI and Security Guard applicants are coming soon, now that the law has passed requiring a federal criminal history check.  While most everything will remain the same for applicants and the process, there are a couple of procedural changes that will affect applicants directly.  These changes affect only the fingerprinting process.

  • Applicants will no longer send a fingerprint card with the application.
  • Once the Secretary of State's has received the application, the applicant will receive a letter directing them to an IdentoGo location.  The letter will have an account number the applicant will use to pay for the fingerprinting that will bill our office rather than the applicant.
  • The applicant will receive a confirmation number and will be required to provide that number back to the SOS Office by letter, email, fax, or phone.
  • From there, everything will proceed as normal.
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