How to Become a Private Investigator in Michigan

how to become a private investigator in michigan

There are many different career paths you could pursue in Michigan, but perhaps the most exciting choice is becoming a professional investigator. A professional investigator can be hired by an individual, a business or even the government to track down vital information and people. If you choose to work as a private investigator, you may investigate fraud, locate missing persons or fugitives and investigate infidelity.

In Michigan, private investigators are known as professional investigators, and must be licensed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). LARA maintains a set of qualifications necessary for licensure, including educational and experience requirements.

Michigan Private Investigator License Requirements

Minimum Requirements

  • Age: Professional investigators in Michigan must be 25 years of age or older.
  • Provisions: You must be a US citizen and have earned at least a high school degree or equivalent. Applicants must also earn a Certificate of Corporation and be able to provide five character references from Michigan citizens who have known you for five years or more and are not related to you, whether by marriage or by birth.
  • Background Check: All applicants in Maryland are required to undergo a criminal background check before a professional investigator license will be granted.
  • Military History: You are not eligible to be an investigator in Michigan if you have been dishonorably discharged from the United States military.
  • Personal Finances: Your personal financial history will not be examined during the application process.
  • Mental Disease or Defect: Michigan has no restrictions for professional investigators based on mental health.
  • Bonding: You must have either a $10,000 bond or insurance policy before becoming a licensed investigator.
  • Disqualifications: You will be disqualified from investigative work if you have committed a felony or misdemeanor involving impersonating a government official, assault, illegal possession or use of a firearm, fraud, selling information or evidence, controlled substances or two or more alcohol based offenses.

Education and Experience

  • Professional Experience: Michigan requires at least an accredited bachelor’s degree in a field related to professional investigation. This requirement can be waived if you have at least three years of experience as a licensed investigator in another state, an investigator employed by a government agency, worked as an in-house investigator for a business or were employed as an investigative reporter.
  • Written Exams: No examination is required to become a professional investigator in Michigan.

Michigan PI Training Courses

Unless you have work experience related to investigation, Michigan requires that you complete a baccalaureate degree or a postgraduate degree that is related to investigation and has been earned at an accredited institution. A few popular degree choices for individuals seeking a career as an investigator include computer forensics, criminal justice, investigation and security management.

Forms for Your Detective License in Michigan

  • Application Fees: The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs charges a $750 fee for professional investigator licenses.
  • Registration Process: You will complete and submit your license to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Include a copy of your insurance policy or bond, the required five character references and a copy of your certificate of Incorporation. When your application is approved, you will become a licensed professional investigator.
  • Maintenance: You will be notified when your license is set to expire and will be required to pay a $350 renewal fee.

Salaries for Professional Investigators in Michigan

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gathers career information for many professions, including private investigators. The latest BLS report compiled in May of 2015 indicated that there were 260 professional investigators working in Michigan and that their yearly salary averaged $42,540.

Links for Aspiring Investigators

LARA Licensing Requirements

Michigan Council of Professional Investigators

Michigan Accredited University Information