To become a licensed private detective in Minnesota, you must complete a number of specific steps:
The Minnesota Private Detective and Protective Agent Services Board ensures that investigative and security services practitioners in the state meet qualifications and training for licensure and maintain the standards set forth by the Minnesota Statutes and Administrative Rules. In total, the Board oversees more than 300 investigative and security license holders in the state.
Step 1. Meet Minimum Requirements for Private Detective Licensure in Minnesota
To become a private investigator in Minnesota, you must first meet minimum requirements for licensure, which include the following:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be free of felony convictions.
- You must be able to supply a $10,000 surety bond at the time of your application.
- You must be able to supply Proof of Financial Responsibility at the time of your application.
Step 2. Complete a Comprehensive Education Program in Minnesota
Although not a requirement of private investigators in Minnesota, many individuals seeking this career path choose to first pursue an associate’s degree or higher in criminal justice or a related program as to achieve the basic framework of the judicial and criminal justice system.
Further, the experience requirement for licensure as a private investigator in Minnesota (see Step 3) may be facilitated when you hold a college degree, as many employers in the field of criminal justice or law enforcement now require their employees to possess degrees or other formal training.
Step 3. Show Proof of Documented Professional Hours
To qualify for a private detective license in Minnesota, you must be able to document at least 6,000 hours of investigative employment in one or more of the following areas:
- Investigator with a licensed private detective/investigative agency
- Investigator with a U.S. government investigative service
- Investigator for a city police department or sheriff’s office
Step 4. Request a Minnesota Application Package
Once you have successfully met the experience requirements for licensure in Minnesota as a private investigator, you can request an application package from the Board by submitting a non-refundable fee of $25 (made payable to the Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services), along with a written request that specifies you are interested in receiving an application for a private detective and the level at which you want to apply*, to:
State of Minnesota
Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services
1430 Maryland Avenue East
St. Paul, Minnesota, 55106
*You may apply for a private detective license as a Sole Proprietor (individual), a Partnership/LLP, or as a Corporation/Limited Liability Company (LLC).
If you are applying as a sole proprietor, it means you serve as the day-to-day manager and supervisor of the licensed activity and that you may or may not have employees. You may also apply as a partnership or corporation with a qualified representative candidate individual who will serve as the day-to-day manager and supervisor of the licensed activity.
Step 5. Apply for Licensure in Minnesota as a Private Investigator
Once you receive your application packet from the Board, you must complete it and send it to the Board, along with the private detective license fee of:
- Individual: $1,000
- Partnership: $1,700
- Corporation/LLC: $1,900
You must also submit the following documents with your application (all forms are included in your application packet):
- A completed informed consent criminal history form
- A recent photograph
- A full set of fingerprints
- Five (5) references from people not related to you who have known you for at least 5 years
- If you are applying as a qualified representative, you must include documentation of work experience
Step 6. Getting to Work in Minnesota
You must complete pre-assignment training within the first 21 days of your employment. Private investigators must complete at least 12 hours of initial training, and employers are responsible for ensuring their employees meet this requirement.
Information on training for private investigators, including a list of approved training providers and course application documents, can be found on the Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services website.
If you will carry any type of weapon, including a firearm, baton, or other device, you must also complete armed training, which consists of an additional 6 hours of training, including first aid and CPR certification.
Step 7. Maintain your Minnesota License
Private investigators in Minnesota are required to complete at least 6 hours of continuing training during every 2-year renewal period. If you complete more than 6 hours of training in any given renewal period, you may apply that to the next renewal period (with the exception of continuing armed training).
License reissuance fees are as follows:
- 0 employees: $540
- 1 to 10 employees: $710
- 11 to 25 employees: $880
- 26 to 50 employees: $1,050
- 51 or more employees: $1,220
Private Investigator Salary Information for Minnesota
Job growth for private investigators in Minnesota is expected to increase 12.5% in the ten years leading up to 2020, according to the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development. As of 2012, 150 private investigators were employed in Minnesota based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Salary data for the state as a whole and for the Twin Cities area is also available from the BLS.
The salaries for the annual median wage and those of experienced private investigators in the top ten percent of their income bracket are listed below.
The seven-county area that encompasses the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area is an especially good part of the state for private investigators. According to BLS statistics, over 73% of the state’s PIs were located in this area. In addition, the state projected job growth of 12.3% from 2010 to 2020 in this location.
A license from the Board of Private Detective and Protective Agency Services is required to become a private detective in Minnesota. Applicants must be at least 18 years old. Private detectives must provide liability insurance in the form of a $10,000 surety bond.
A substantial amount of experience is required to become a PI in Minnesota. Applicants must have 6,000 hours of the following type of investigative employment experience or an equivalent type:
- Licensed private detective or investigative agency
- U.S. government investigative service
- Municipal police or sheriff’s office
In addition, fingerprints must be submitted along with five character references.
The BLS provides detailed information on the wages of those PIs who were licensed and working in the Twin City area in 2012. This is presented in the table below.
Private Investigator Salaries in Minnesota