Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Iowa

Under the Department of Public Safety, the Private Investigator Licensing Services Bureau headquartered in Des Moines is the agency responsible for issuing private investigator licenses in the state. If you are interested in the profession and can tolerate working under pressure, then review the following guide that explains how to become a private detective in Iowa:

Meet the Basic Requirements in Iowa
Iowa Training and Education Requirements
Applying for Licensure in Iowa with the Private Investigator Licensing Services Bureau
Maintaining your License in Iowa

There is no typical day in the life of a private investigator. You may find yourself conducting an undercover op in Cedar Rapids one week, investigating a suspected case of fraud in Sioux City the next week, and locating a missing person in Davenport the week after. Not as glamorous as Hollywood makes them out to be, private detective jobs in Iowa often involve long hours of research and investigation before cases are resolved.



Step 1. Meet Basic Requirements in Iowa

To become a licensed private investigator in Iowa you will need to meet the following basic requirements:

  • Not currently be a peace officer: sheriff’s deputy, police officer, etc
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have no aggravated misdemeanor or felony convictions
  • Be of good moral character
  • Have never been judged guilty of a crime involving moral turpitude or fraud
  • No history of violence or illegally carrying dangerous weapons
  • Not currently be addicted to alcohol or drugs



Step 2. Private Investigator Training and School Requirements in Iowa

Although there are no official private investigator school and training requirements in Iowa, there are several reasons why you should consider pursuing training, certification classes or a degree in relevant fields.

A formal education provides the following benefits:

  • Education credentials will demonstrate you are serious about your job
  • Show you are qualified with the right know-how to get the job done well
  • Open up future career advancement prospects
  • Increase your competitiveness for clients among other PIs in the Hawkeye State

Penn Foster Career School's Online Private Investigator Training Program

Learn how to perform background investigations, operate surveillance equipment, and many other PI secrets through Penn Foster Career School's nationally accredited online Private Investigator training program. In less than three months, you can take the first step towards a career investigating missing persons cases, outing insurance fraudsters, handling cases related to marriage infidelity, and much more.

Request information to learn how Penn Foster Career School's distance learning program can quickly and conveniently help you begin your path towards a career in private investigation.

The following programs are available as certificate classes and degrees at locations throughout the state as well as online:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Law
  • Business
  • Law Enforcement
  • Psychology
  • Forensics



Step 3. Applying with the Private Investigator Licensing Services Bureau in Iowa

When completing a license for private investigator jobs in Iowa, make sure to include the following along with your complete application:

  • Two fingerprint cards
  • $140 total fee for fingerprinting, licensing, and ID card
  • Proof of a surety bond of at least $5,000
  • Proof of liability insurance covering accidents, wrongdoings, and subsequent consequences



Step 4. Maintaining Your Iowa Private Detective License

Your PI license will expire every two years. To renew this you will need to maintain compliance with the minimum qualifications from the first step and submit the following to the Bureau at least 30 days before your license expires:

  • Two completed FBI fingerprint cards
  • Renewal form
  • Proof of 12 hours of continuing education
  • Proof of continued insurance coverage and a maintained surety bond

You may determine which continuing education courses are right for you on the condition that these are formal programs of learning that contribute directly to your professional competence.

If you choose to carry a firearm you must follow the appropriate state laws.

Monitoring the State Legislature is a good way to stay informed about the current laws and statutes regulating the private detective profession in the Iowa. If you are interested in additional private detective training opportunities you may consider joining a professional organization such as the Iowa Association of Private Investigators (IAPI). The IAPI can provide you with legal information, training resources, networking opportunities as well as additional tips on how to become a private investigator in Iowa.

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