How to Become a Private Investigator in Iowa

Private investigators in Iowa will perform a variety of job functions and each day will often bring new challenges and opportunities. In general, private detectives will search for information and collect evidence regarding personal, legal or financial matters. For example, if an employer suspects theft in the workplace, they may hire a private investigator.

The state of Iowa has several standard requirements as well as specific licensure requirements needed to practice as a private investigator. This ensures that both you and the people you help are protected. To learn about what you need to do to join this industry, continue reading.

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Iowa Private Investigator License Requirements

Minimum Requirements

  • Age: If interested in applying, you must be at least 18 years old.
  • Provisional Requirements: Current law enforcement officers are not able to apply.
  • Criminal Background Check: A criminal background check will be performed upon application. If you have aggravated misdemeanor or felony charges, it is likely your application will be denied. A history of violence will also negatively impact your chances.
  • Financial History: A guilty conviction of fraud or moral depravity will disqualify you from becoming a private investigator in Iowa.
  • Mental Health Check: Your background check should indicate that there is no history of mental health that will hinder you from performing the job’s duties.
  • Insurance Needed: Liability insurance is required for private investigators in Iowa.
  • Automatic Disqualifiers: History of illegal possession of weapons; current addiction to alcohol or drugs; not a U.S. citizen; a disability which prevents you from performing essential job functions, despite reasonable accommodation.

how to become a private investigator in iowa

Education and Experience

  • Degree: There are no education requirements to work as a private investigator in Iowa. However, an educational background in criminal justice or law enforcement is highly beneficial to the job.
  • Accepted Experience: According to Chapter 80A of the Iowa Code, there are no experience requirements to become licensed. Of course, experience will greatly improve your chances of success in the industry.
  • Written Exams: There are no mandatory written exams to become a Iowa P.I.

Forms Needed for Detective License in Iowa

  • Fees Required: The fees for Iowa licensure total $140. This includes the application fee as well as charges for your ID card and fingerprints.
  • Documents Needed: Proof of a surety bond of at least $5,000, proof of liability insurance, two fingerprint cards and a current color photo of yourself.
  • Maintenance Required for PI License: In Iowa, you must renew your private investigator license every two years. This process requires two FBI fingerprint cards and a renewal form.

Iowa Private Investigator Salary and Job Outlook

Iowa’s private investigator requirements are relatively easy to acquire and maintain compared to other states in the country. Because of this, competition in the field is high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Iowa private investigators earn an average yearly salary of $44,930.

Helpful Iowa Links and Resources

Iowa Department of Public Safety Private Investigator Licensing Program

Iowa Association of Private Investigators

Checklist for Private Investigator Licensure in Iowa

Education Programs for Private Investigators in Iowa

  • Criminal Justice, MA
  • Homeland Security, MA
Keiser University Graduate School
  • Homeland Security, AA
  • Criminal Justice, AA
  • Homeland Security, BA
Keiser University eCampus
  • DEM - Emergency Management
Capella University
  • BS - Criminal Justice
Capella University
  • MS - Cybersecurity
Capella University
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Public Administration
  • JM: American Legal Studies
  • JM: General
  • JM: Health Law
  • JM: International Legal Studies
  • JM: Special Student (Non-Degree Seeking) - Legal Studies
  • LLM: International Legal Studies
  • MPA: Law & Public Policy
  • MS: Criminal Justice
  • MS: Criminal Justice: Forensic Psychology
  • MS: Criminal Justice: Homeland Security
Liberty University - Online
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Online Teaching in Higher Education
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) - Homeland Security
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Emergency Management
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Global Leadership
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Law and Public Policy
  • PhD in Criminal Justice - Public Management and Leadership
Walden University
  • DBA - Criminal Justice
  • DBA - Homeland Security: Leadership & Policy
  • Doctor of Criminal Justice
Northcentral University
  • BSCJ – Law Enforcement
  • BSCJ – Juvenile Justice
  • BSCJ – Homeland Security
  • BSCJ – Forensic Psychology
  • BSCJ – Crime Scene Investigation
  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • MSCJ - Corrections
  • MSCJ - Global Issues in Criminal Justice
  • MSCJ - Law
  • MSCJ - Leadership/Executive Management
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Homeland Security and Emergency Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Fire Science
  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Public Safety and Security
  • Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Fire and Emergency Management
  • BS in Corrections
Purdue University Global
  • MS in Criminal Justice
  • MS in Criminal Justice: Advanced Counterterrorism & Homeland Security concentration
  • MS in Criminal Justice: Public Safety Administration concentration
Southern New Hampshire University - Online
  • Associate in Science Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Criminology
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Homeland Secu
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Legal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with concentration in Police Admini
  • BS Criminal Justice w/conc Human Services
  • BS Criminal Justice w/conc in Corrections
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security with concentration in Secure Programming
Southern New Hampshire University - Online
  • AA: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice
  • BA: Criminal Justice - Criminalistics
  • BA: Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
Saint Leo University - Online
  • BS - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • Master - Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Administration
  • CTU - Criminal Forensics
Colorado State University - Global