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

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
South University, Online
  • Criminal Justice - Bachelor
Baker College Online
  • Criminal Justice, BA
  • Homeland Security, BA
  • Homeland Security, AA
  • Criminal Justice, AA
Keiser University eCampus
  • DEM - Emergency Management
Capella University
  • BS - Criminal Justice
Capella University
  • MS - Cybersecurity
Capella University
  • B.S. in Criminal Justice
  • B.S. in Human Services / Criminal Justice
  • B.S. in Criminal Justice / Law Enforcement
  • A.S. in Criminal Justice
  • B.S. in Emergency Management & Homeland Security
Post University Online
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice – Public Administration
Liberty University - Online
  • General
  • General-Advanced
  • 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
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Policy and Coordination
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Law and Public Policy
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Policy Analysis
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Terrorism, Mediation, and Peace
  • Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice - Emergency Management
  • MS in Criminal Justice - Global Leadership
Walden University
  • DBA - Criminal Justice
  • DBA - Homeland Security: Leadership & Policy
Northcentral University
  • MPA - Criminal Justice
Kaplan University Online
  • 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
Kaplan University Online
  • B.S. Criminal Justice
  • B.S. International Relations and Security - Cybersecurity
  • B.S. International Relations and Security - Global Security
  • A.S. Criminal Justice
Indiana Wesleyan University - Online
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance
  • MS in Criminology
  • BS in Criminology
  • Graduate Certificate in Information Assurance and Cyber Security
  • Master of Science in Criminology - Cybercrime and Terrorism Focus
  • Master of Science in Criminology - Human Behavior Focus
  • Master of Science in Criminology - Leadership Focus
  • Master of Science in Information Assurance - Cybersecurity Specialization
Regis University- Online
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • MS in Computer Science - Cyber Security
Lewis University - Online
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Information Assurance
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cybercrime and Fraud Investigation
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigation
  • BS in Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • Masters in Financial Crime and Compliance Management
  • MBA Economic Crime and Fraud Management
  • MS Cybersecurity - Intelligence
  • MS Cybersecurity - Computer Forensics
  • MS Cybersecurity - Cyber Operations
  • Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity
  • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Cyber Criminology and Policy
  • Computer Forensics Certificate
  • Cyber Crime and Fraud Investigation Certificate
  • Cyber Network Defense Certificate
  • Cyber Operations Certificate
  • Cyber Policy Certificate
  • Cybersecurity Technologies Certificate
  • Financial Crime and Compliance Operations Certificate
  • Financial Crime Investigation Certificate
  • Master of Professional Studies in Cyber Policy and Risk Analysis
  • MBA - Cyber Policy
  • MBA - Cybersecurity
  • Monitoring, Surveillance, and Intelligence Operations Certificate
  • MS in Cybersecurity - Electronic Crime
  • MS in Cybersecurity - Malware Analysis
  • MS in Data Science: Cybersecurity
  • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Fraud Prevention and Detection
  • Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity
  • BS in Criminal Justice - General
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Legal Issues in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Criminal Justice - Public Policy and Leadership
  • BS in Criminal Justice - White Collar Crime
Utica College - Online
  • Master of Science Criminal Justice Critical Incident Mgt
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Corrections
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Criminal Investigation
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Forensic Science
  • Master of Science in Criminal Justice - Legal Studies
Saint Leo University - Online
  • AA in Criminal Justice
  • BA in Criminal Justice
  • BA in Criminal Justice - Criminalistics Specialization
  • BA in Criminal Justice - Homeland Security Specialization
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