Getting a private investigator job.

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How did you get your start doing private investigator work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

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LACHASADEE SCOTT in Dallas, Texas

102 months ago

HOW DO YOU GET INTO THE FIELD? BECAUSE I'VE TAKEN A COURSE IN IT. AND JOIN A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR UNION. STILL CAN'T GET STARTED!!!.

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Luke in Seattle, Washington

99 months ago

For starters, find out what your state licensing requirements are. All the memberships and certifications won't mean spit if you're not legally licensed to operate as a PI in your state.

A lot of local and state agencies utilize Investigators. Labor boards, civil rights boards, housing authorities, etc. all utilize in-house investigators. Public Defense Offices and Non-Profit Law Firms/Advocacy groups are a good place to look, too. Some of these groups may only offer internships (both paid and unpaid), but if you want experience you need to get out there and do it.

In the private sector Insurance companies are a big employer. Upscale retail stores often hire plain-clothes loss prevention investigators. Casino Surveillance is another common usage of investigators. Luxury Hotels and Realty Management firms will often hire Investigators to head-up security departments.

Check around to see if your state has any P.I. associations (most states that have P.I. licensing requirements have one or more professional associations). These organizations often have resources on employment, continuing training and professional networking; as well as ethical and professional guidelines.

The number one employer of PIs are lawyers. Go out and meet lawyers. If you get to know other PIs, ask them if they have any referrals. Chances are there's an attorney they know, but don't work with (or don't want to work with) anymore. Be on the look-out for attorneys who do Pro-Bono (free) cases for the under-privileged and offer to assist them (you won't make any money, but you'll get experience and get your name out there).

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Heather in Tampa, Florida

94 months ago

I am very interested in getting a private investigator jobs. I live in Tampa, Florida, but I am willing to get a job in the surround areas of Tampa Bay. How do I go about doing this? Does anyone have any infortmation that they can provide me with? If so, please contact me at captivating71@msn.com. Thank you.

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Jimmy in San José, Costa Rica

94 months ago

How about Texas, do they have a private investigator license system.

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

93 months ago

any work out there in central florida

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

93 months ago

(3) Private Investigator Examination. Beginning January 1, 2008 applicants for Class “M,” “MA,” and “C” licenses must submit proof, completed by the provider on Form 16060 (1/08), Certificate of Completion (incorporated by reference and available at mylicensesite.com/forms/index.html), of having successfully passed an examination that covers the provisions of Chapter 493, F.S. The examination, consisting of 100 questions, will be administered by a provider approved by the Division, after the examination fee of $100 is paid to the Division and the applicant’s identity is verified by the provider. A passing score shall be 75 correct answers. The examination provider shall retain an examination file on each applicant for 2 years.
(4)(a) Beginning September 1, 2008, an applicant for a Class “CC” license must have completed at least 24 hours (Course A) of a 40-hour course pertaining generally to private investigative techniques and Chapter 493, F.S. at a state university, school, community college, college or university (hereafter “institution”) under the purview of the Florida Department of Education and must successfully pass an examination on Course A.
(b) The applicant must submit proof of completion of Course A on Form 16062(9/08), Certificate of Completion (incorporated by reference and available at mylicensesite.com/forms/index.html), with his or her application for licensure. The applicant must complete the remaining 16 hours (Course B), take an examination on Course B and submit proof of successfully passing the Course B examination, also on Form 16062, to the Division within 180 days of the date of submittal of his or her application. Applicants may complete both Course A and Course B before they apply for licensure. Certificates of Completion shall be issued by the institution.

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Dan in Seattle, Washington

92 months ago

I am a licensed PI in the Seattle area. PI work is not what you'd think or see on television. The majority of PI's are prior law enforcement officers or other types of investigators from insurance companies or other government agencies. Being a PI is NOT A FULL TIME JOB unless you go to work for a big PI agency in the large cities and chances are you'll get stuck doing boring surveillance jobs sitting in a car for hours on end with a video camera just waiting for the person to show themselves to you. I personally have 7 years law enforcement experience, 7 years insurance investigation work, 3 years military and work for me is thru personal injury attorney's that covers about 4-15 hours per week maximum. (you might want to think about something else for work if you're in your early twenties as it will take you a very long time to get a name for yourself as a tenacious and thorough investigator.)

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

92 months ago

Advantage Surveillance, Inc. is now hiring look them up, on your search.

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Dan in Seattle, Washington

92 months ago

MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida said: Advantage Surveillance, Inc. is now hiring look them up, on your search.

surveillance is boring...any breathing person can do this.

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lynnehawkins in Colorado Springs, Colorado

92 months ago

Dan in Seattle, Washington said: I am a licensed PI in the Seattle area. PI work is not what you'd think or see on television. The majority of PI's are prior law enforcement officers or other types of investigators from insurance companies or other government agencies. Being a PI is NOT A FULL TIME JOB unless you go to work for a big PI agency in the large cities and chances are you'll get stuck doing boring surveillance jobs sitting in a car for hours on end with a video camera just waiting for the person to show themselves to you. I personally have 7 years law enforcement experience, 7 years insurance investigation work, 3 years military and work for me is thru personal injury attorney's that covers about 4-15 hours per week maximum. (you might want to think about something else for work if you're in your early twenties as it will take you a very long time to get a name for yourself as a tenacious and thorough investigator.)

Dan,
The average here is about 60K in Colorado. We have tweaked a few things in regards to marketing that have helped. You have so much experience yet can't find more than 15 Hrs of work ? Is the problem your negativity or lack of enthusiasm? You saw it fit to deny that we are honest regarding our claim of a six figure income without even as much as a conversation. I personally average 10K per month and started my business when I was 40. I am now 43 and this year spent over 10K for professional websites, while your criticising I am getting $125 per hour. It is true that 10% of the PI's make 90% of the money as is in most professions, but that is no reason to assume that because you aren't doing 6 figures no one is. That is the attitude of negativity and as long as you think that way , that is where you will stay. Your 7 years here and 7 years there speaks for itself.

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lynnehawkins in Colorado Springs, Colorado

92 months ago

Dan in Seattle, Washington said: surveillance is boring...any breathing person can do this.

Wrong again as usual

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lynnehawkins in Colorado Springs, Colorado

92 months ago

Jimmy in San José, Costa Rica said: How about Texas, do they have a private investigator license system.

There are only five states that don't require a license, if you cannot find out which ones you are going to find being an investigator very difficult I am afraid. Texas is not one of them, you need a license.

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Ashton

92 months ago

so just how would one go about trying to start out? how difficult is it to start your own business? How much exsperiance should you have working for other agencies before you try to start your own?

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Dan in Seattle, Washington

92 months ago

Hi Lynn: I'm sorry that you feel that I am criticizing you directly. I am only speaking realistically to educate other people reading these forums who are considering this line of work that six figure salaries are not realistic. But yes anyone, in a large amount of professions, can make six figures, such as my prior employment in police and insurance, those are figures that can be obtained, but realistically less than 5% of those entering even those careers from an entry level field will ever get to a position of making that high salary. And PI work I strongly believe is even less of a possibility. Anything is possible for PI work, but young people, particularly those with zero experience should know the facts. The facts are that PI's are very low pay in comparison to most other jobs such as what I mentioned above. I know my facts very well, as I have worked with and hired many PI's for many years thoughout the entire United States in my prior jobs and know they struggle. If in fact you're making what you claim, I honor your achievements. Best wishes.

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divinebovine85 in sydney, Australia

90 months ago

You have to take a course about it and get a diploma. You don't have to have a specific educational background. There is actually home-based courses to choose from which you can Google or search online such as www.inst.org/pi/become.htm.

Then after taking the course, you can now start your own business.

Good luck to you!

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Kevin58 in Decatur, Indiana

90 months ago

MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida said: Advantage Surveillance, Inc. is now hiring look them up, on your search.

Hey Mason,

Do you work for Advantage?

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

90 months ago

WHATS UP KEVIN, NO I'M ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR WORK MYSELF I JUST POST ANY COMPANY THAT I FIND THAT ARE HIRING IN CASE IT CAN HELP SOMEONE ELSE.

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Kevin58 in Decatur, Indiana

90 months ago

Oh I see, I was trying to find out pros and cons on Advantage and thought you might know.

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

90 months ago

HAVE YOU APPLIED TO THIS COMPANY YET.

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Kevin58 in Decatur, Indiana

90 months ago

No, I presently work for a large Insurance Fraud company out of Florida.

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

90 months ago

AS A PI

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

90 months ago

WELL I APPLIED TO ADVANTAGE AND I CAN SAY THAT IT MAY NOT BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME HOWEVER I FELT LIKE I WAS GETTING THE RUN AROUND

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

90 months ago

HOWEVER I STILL PUT TYHE INFO OUT THERE FOR OTHERS CAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW THEY MIGHT GET LUCKY, YOU KNOW.

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Kevin58 in Decatur, Indiana

90 months ago

YES

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Kevin58 in Decatur, Indiana

90 months ago

Interesting, I'll keep that in mine. You dont happen to know what their pay is like?

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

90 months ago

NO SORRY DONT KNOW ANOTHER ONE IS METRO INVESTIGATIONS IS HIRING THERE BASE OUT OF ALABAMA IF NOT MISTAKEN THEY START AT 15.00 FOR THE FIRST 3 WEEKS TRAINING THEY FLY YOU OUT TO ALABAMA FOR 3 WEEK TRAINING AT THE END OF TRAINING YOU GET 15.00 AN HOUR FOR TRAINING THEY PAY FOR YOUR FLIGHT ROUND TRIP AND YOU HOTEL STAY AND YOUR MEALS. THE TRAINING IS A 12 HOURS A DAY EXCEPT WEEKEND. AFTER YOU COMPLETE TRAINING IT GOES TO 16.OO HR DONT REALLY REMEMBER ALL THE DETAILS RIGHT NOW HOWEVER I DOD REMEMBER IT GOES UP TO 17. AFTER A COUPLE OF MONTHS THEN 18.00 FOR THE FIRT 2 YEARS YOUR GOING TO BE MORE OUT OF YOUR HOME THEN IN IT BUT THEY SAY THAT ONCE YOU KINDA PAY YOUR DUES IN THOSE 2 YEARS YOU SET THEY GIVE YOU COMPANY CAR OF THE YEAR AND YOU WILL BE WORKING ONLY IN YOUR AREA. JUST IN CASE THIS INTEREST YOU.

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

90 months ago

OH AND A GAS CARD THEY GIVE YOU A GAS CARD WITH THE CAR.

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Kevin58 in Decatur, Indiana

90 months ago

Cool, Thanks

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

89 months ago

HAS ANYONE TAKEN THE CC PRIVATE INVESTIGATION INTERN EXAM IN FLORIDA?

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maurice in Edmonton, Alberta

89 months ago

Host said: How did you get your start doing private investigator work, and what career moves did you make to get to your current position?

Do you need a particular educational background?

i took ny private investigation course through ics

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John Shaw in Charlotte, North Carolina

89 months ago

Can Someone please tell that guy ^ that he has the CAPS on..

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Brian in Lakeland, Florida

88 months ago

I'm taking the exam for the Florida Class C license tomorrow. Can anyone tell me if 16 yrs of law enforcement work will qualify for "relevent experience?" I was never a detective, but was a traffic investigator and conducted my own follow-ups on the road for criminal cases.

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PI IN FLORIDA D>O in Deland, Florida

88 months ago

Brian in Lakeland, Florida said: I'm taking the exam for the Florida Class C license tomorrow. Can anyone tell me if 16 yrs of law enforcement work will qualify for "relevent experience?" I was never a detective, but was a traffic investigator and conducted my own follow-ups on the road for criminal cases.

I have a degree in criminal Justice. You guys need to go to www.mylicensesite.com all the info you need is there. Advantage is a good company. the suplly a company vehicle and gas card, Matt is the area manager there. He as well is a good guy. As you all know there is a two year intern program in FL. Although I got a year cut off mine for my degree. and for you sir with 16 years of law enforcement. YOU as well will only have a year intern. But like I said look at the website and fill out the info for them to send you all the packages thru the mail. then you will be on your way to good career. I love being a PI although work is very slow right now. any other questions right back I will try to answer if I can. If I cant I will do some research and get back to you. I just took my exam and will be getting my C license in a few weeks. Its not real hard just alot of 493.

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Brian in Lakeland, Florida

88 months ago

Took the test today. Can't say it was the easiest I've taken. Mostly because I focused on the stuff like prohibited acts, how many days you have to report things like firearms discharge, termination or completion of internship, what licenses are required , etc. But there were questions about how much the late fee is if you are late for renewing your license!! UUggh! I think I did okay, though.

Is it really only a few weeks to get the license? That's great. I was afraid thath with the backround chcecks and whatnot I would be waiting for months.

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MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida

87 months ago

PI IN FLORIDA D>O in Deland, Florida said: I have a degree in criminal Justice. You guys need to go to www.mylicensesite.com all the info you need is there. Advantage is a good company. the suplly a company vehicle and gas card, Matt is the area manager there. He as well is a good guy. As you all know there is a two year intern program in FL. Although I got a year cut off mine for my degree. and for you sir with 16 years of law enforcement. YOU as well will only have a year intern. But like I said look at the website and fill out the info for them to send you all the packages thru the mail. then you will be on your way to good career. I love being a PI although work is very slow right now. any other questions right back I will try to answer if I can. If I cant I will do some research and get back to you. I just took my exam and will be getting my C license in a few weeks. Its not real hard just alot of 493.

Advantage is a good company,THIS COMPANY SOUNDS LIKE THE TYPE OF COMPANY ANYONE WOULD LOVE TO WORK FOR.I RECEIVE A DIPLOMA IN PRIVATE INVESTIGATIONS FROM DTI (DETECTIVE TRAINING INSTITUTE)I ALSO HAVE MY:
"D" LICENSE
"G" LICENSE
& AS OF 02/13/09 I HAVE MY "CC" PI INTERN LICENSE.

I ALSO FIND MYSELF DRAWN TO THIS LINE OF WORK,HOWEVER I JUST TRYING TO GET MY FOOT THROUGH THE DOOR TO PROVE MYSELF.

DO YOU KNOW ANYONE I MIGHT BE ABLE TO SPEAK TO ABOUT A INTERN POSITON AT ADVANGE OF ANY OTHER REPUTABLE COMPANY IN CENTRAL FLRODIA.

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE

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eab1223 in Florida

87 months ago

Does anyone have any reccomendations in regards to on-line schools that offer PI courses. There are so many and I have researched several but as you know anything can sound good on the internet.

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Ania in Mississauga, Ontario

87 months ago

maurice in Edmonton, Alberta said: i took ny private investigation course through ics

hi there, my name is Anna i am currently taking the same ics course. I find it quite junior. Did you have any jobs yet and did the course help? How did you find the course? I am on 7th study. Would be great if you could forward answers to the multiple questions. it is taking me forever.
I Alberta do you need to work for a company or you can open your own agency.

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AR in Dallas, Texas

84 months ago

I thought I would share my short story.. It is funny, everyone here was a cop, or insurance guy, or went to some kind of school, all I did was place 3 phone calls to PI agencies the first two didnt give me the time of day, and the third one, I asked the man who answered the phone, "How do I become a PI?" He said.. so you are interested in being a PI? I said yes and he asked me to come in and see him.. I did... I learned quick, and did the dirt work like putting trackers on cars and doing nightime surveillance. Everyone laughed at me at first, but not for long. I was 19 at the time. Here I am 10 years later and am opening my own company that includes not only Investigations, but Security and Alarms as well.

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David in Kissimmee, Florida

83 months ago

Look,

In Florida if you have absolutely no experience but a Licensed Investigator is willing to take you under his or her wing, then you can become a Licensed Intern. After two years of supervision you can then obtain your very own license. However in Florida you may not freelance. You must either work for, or own your Agency and work under that umbrella. So right there that is two separate licenses. If you want to carry a firearm that is another license. (not a concealed weapons permit) A totally separate occupational firearm license. Despite what you hear it is taking a while to get a license issued however. The same Division that regulates Security and PI's also regulates concealed permits. Since the election (of Obama) the State has seen a dramatic increase in requests for concealed licenses and since there is no separate office for processing those everything is lumped into one big bureaucratic pile therefore the amount of time to process them is lengthy. Mine took over 18 weeks. I have a combination of L.E. and Private experience and I had to wait just like everybody else. Have fun...

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Jenna in Davenport, Iowa

83 months ago

Does anyone know of a good private investigation vocational school?! I have looked everywhere and the only one I can find is in arizona. I dont want to do the online courses. I want in class lessons! Im willing to go anywhere!! any info would be much appreciated! thanks! also I would like one that is longer than a few days! the one in Arizona is for 4 and 1/2 months. Im looking for something of that length or longer!

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david in Beverly, Massachusetts

83 months ago

The Boston University professional investigator certificate program is good choice I hear. Experience is really the best teacher. Are you able to come to Massachusetts? There is another possibility.

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mbjmarks in Alvin, Texas

83 months ago

I have a subscription to a P.I magazine and there are several they list and recommend so will pull them and reply again here shortly.

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Maria in Washington State in Wenatchee, Washington

82 months ago

AR in Dallas, Texas said: I thought I would share my short story.. It is funny, everyone here was a cop, or insurance guy, or went to some kind of school, all I did was place 3 phone calls to PI agencies the first two didnt give me the time of day, and the third one, I asked the man who answered the phone, "How do I become a PI?" He said.. so you are interested in being a PI? I said yes and he asked me to come in and see him.. I did... I learned quick, and did the dirt work like putting trackers on cars and doing nightime surveillance. Everyone laughed at me at first, but not for long. I was 19 at the time. Here I am 10 years later and am opening my own company that includes not only Investigations, but Security and Alarms as well.

AR In Dallas
Have any job openings? I am like everyone else on this site. I wanted to get into PI work since I was young, but was always afraid there wouldn't be work or anything. I am now older and looking to do something different with my life. I would love to hear back from you. Thanks!!!

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AC in Miami, Florida

82 months ago

Are there any decent big private investigation company thats HIRING now? that I can work for in the Miami/Broward/Palm beach county area here in Florida? that actually offer BENEFITS, GOOD PAY and A LOT OF WORKLOAD/O.T? Please let me know if you guys know of any? I'm a "C" and "A" licensed Private Investigator and been working in the Insurance fraud field for over 3 years, and got laid off a couple of months ago from my old company due to the economy..... no luck yet with work.

Thanks,

you can also e-mail me personal at: auri33125@yahoo.com

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AR in Dallas, Texas

82 months ago

Maria, Unfortunately I am not licensed in Washington and have no work in that state.... Thanks, AR

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Seagal Investigations in Bournemouth, United Kingdom

82 months ago

LACHASADEE SCOTT in Dallas, Texas said: HOW DO YOU GET INTO THE FIELD? BECAUSE I'VE TAKEN A COURSE IN IT. AND JOIN A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR UNION. STILL CAN'T GET STARTED!!!.

It is far easier to start your own company, start up costs are low!

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Seagal Investigations in Bournemouth, United Kingdom

82 months ago

Start your own business!

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LC5492 in Atlantic Beach, Florida

81 months ago

MASON STORM in Kissimmee, Florida said: HAS ANYONE TAKEN THE CC PRIVATE INVESTIGATION INTERN EXAM IN FLORIDA?

yes

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AC in Miami, Florida

81 months ago

Is there any Private Investigation company hiring in the south florida area??? I been waiting for like 8 months - unemployed - for a PI company to start hiring so I can be the first to apply and I havent had any luck..... I have my "C" license with 3 years experience in the field and I'm looking to work in the areas of Miami-Dade and Broward. Please respond to my e-mail address: auri33125@yahoo.com

Thank you,

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