If you’re interested in a career using investigation skills to find important information and missing persons, then you should consider becoming a private investigator. Private investigators can work independently or be employed by a detective agency, a business or the government, and will work to find whatever information their client requests.
Minnesota refers to private investigators as private detectives, and requires licensure whether you plan to work as an individual or wish to start a private detective firm. Following the guidelines laid out by the state is the only way to work as a private detective in Minnesota.
Minnesota Private Investigator License Requirements
- Age of Applicants: All applicants must be over the age of 18.
- Proprietorship: Minnesota requires that individuals, partnerships or LLCs apply for licensure before providing private detective services in the state. You must also apply if you have an established private detective agency in another state and plan to expand your services to Minnesota.
- Criminal History: Anyone seeking to work as a private detective in Minnesota is required to undergo a criminal background check.
- Military History: Dishonorable discharges will not prevent you from becoming a private detective in this state.
- Financial Health: You must submit Proof of Financial responsibility before you will be licensed to provide detective services.
- Psychological Background: A mental health background check is not required.
- Surety: You must have purchased a surety bond worth $10,000 prior to application.
- Disqualifying Factors: Those who have a criminal record that contains felony convictions are disqualified from becoming licensed private detectives in Minnesota.
Education and Experience
- Work Experience: Like many states, Minnesota does not require private detectives to have a degree prior to licensure. However, the state does require work experience. To be licensed as a Minnesota private detective you must have 6,000 hours of experience as an investigator with a private agency, an investigator employed by a government investigative agency or an investigator with a sheriff’s office or city police department.
- Written Exams: You are not required to pass any sort of examination to be licensed as a private detective in Minnesota.
Minnesota PI Training Courses
While prior experience is required to work as a private detective in Minnesota, the Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services does not certify any training courses. Instead, it is recommended that you earn a degree in a field that is related to private investigation work. Most private detective choose accredited degrees in areas like law, investigation, forensics and criminal justice. Police training is also useful for private detectives.
Forms for a Detective License in Minnesota
- Fees: The Board does not make private detective licenses publicly available. Instead, you will need to pay a $25 fee and request a form in writing. If you are applying for a license as an individual, your license fee will be $1,000. Partnership applicants pay $1,700 and corporation/LLC applicants pay $1,900.
- Registration Steps: Fill out your application and submit it to the Board for approval. In addition to your fees, the application should include proof of work experience, your surety bond, a criminal history release, a set of fingerprints, references from non-relatives who have known you at least five years and a recent photograph or your face.
- Renewal: Periodic renewal of your license is required. The fee depends on how many people you employ. If you work by yourself, the fee is $540.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Salaries
In May of 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 520 private detectives working in the state of Minnesota. Unfortunately, no data is available related to the salary of these detectives. However, the average salary for private detectives in the US for that same year was $45,610.