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.

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.

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Iowa Private Investigator Requirements

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 a Private 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.

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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

Private Investigator Programs and Schools in Iowa

Private Investigator Programs and Schools in Iowa

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Choose your area of study and receive free information about programs you are interested in. Private investigators are used by law firms, law enforcement, insurance companies, as well as individuals to conduct investigations to build criminal and civil cases. A degree related to criminal justice could benefit an aspiring private investigator greatly. Request information from multiple schools to find the best program and educational opportunity for you!