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Become a Private Detective through Training and Certification in Michigan

Professional investigators in Michigan are regulated and licensed through the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Therefore, to become a private investigator in Michigan, you must complete a number of steps:

Meet Michigan’s Minimum Licensing Requirements
Meet Minimum Experience or Education Requirements in Michigan
Apply for Michigan Licensure as a Private Investigator
Get to Work in Michigan
Maintain your Michigan License

Private investigators in Michigan, most often referred to as professional investigators, are regulated under Public Act 285, which defines a professional investigator as an individual who conducts investigation business.

The term “investigation business” under the Act is defined as investigation for the purpose of obtaining information pertaining to crimes. Professional investigators may perform any number of activities when engaged in investigation business, including:

  • Securing evidence to be used in court
  • Locating and/or recovering stolen property
  • Electronic tracking
  • Using computer forensics findings as evidence in court
  • Using devices for eavesdropping and/or observation



Step 1. Meet Michigan’s Minimum Licensing Requirements

Before you can pursue a career as a private detective in Michigan, you must ensure you meet minimum requirements for licensure. Specifically, you must:

  • Be a United States citizen
  • Be at least 25 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Have no felony convictions
  • Have no misdemeanor convictions involving the following:
    • Dishonesty or fraud
    • Unauthorized selling or divulging information or evidence
    • Impersonating a law enforcement official
    • Illegally using or possessing a dangerous weapon
    • Controlled substances
    • Assault
  • Have no more than 2 misdemeanor alcohol-related offenses
  • Have no dishonorable discharge from the United States military



Step 2. Meet Minimum Experience or Education Requirements in Michigan

To become a licensed private detective in Michigan, you must have at least 3 years of full-time experience in one of the following:

  • Engaging in a legal professional investigation business as an investigator, licensee or registrant
  • Conducting a professional investigation agency
  • Working in investigative or intelligence activities, which may include the following professions:
    • Investigator
    • Detective
    • Special agent
    • Intelligence specialist
    • Parole agent
    • Probation officer
    • Certified police officer
  • Engaging in the investigation business as a full-time proprietary or in-house investigator employed by a business or an attorney
  • Working as an investigative reporter employed by a media outlet

You may also meet the minimum requirements for licensure through the completion of a bachelor’s degree program or higher in one of the following areas:

  • Police administration
  • Security management
  • Investigation
  • Law
  • Criminal justice
  • Computer forensics



Step 3. Apply for Michigan Licensure as a Private Investigator

Once you determine you have successfully met the minimum requirements for licensure either through education or experience, you can apply using the Application for Professional Investigator License Holder. Along with a completed application, you must submit the following:

  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • Completed Employment Verification forms or an official transcript if you are qualifying through a degree (included in application packet)
  • A Professional Investigator Surety Bond or Insurance Amendatory Endorsement form that covers all 3 years of the license period
  • A copy of your Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization (Available through the Bureau of Commercial Services at 517-241-6470)
  • A copy of your Certificate of Co-Partnership from the county clerk where your business is located
  • An Assumed Name Certificate or DBA if you are using a name that is different from your name or your corporation or organization name (Available from the Bureau of Commercial Services, Corporate Division, at 517-241-6470)
  • Five (5) notarized Personal Reference forms  from individuals who can attest to knowing you for at least 5 years (included in application packet)

If you are currently a law enforcement officer, you may not be licensed in the State of Michigan as a private detective unless you produce one of the following to the Department:

  • Written permission to act as a private investigator from your employer
  • A copy of your jurisdiction’s published policies and procedures that includes verbiage of officers being allowed to seek off-duty employment as a private investigator
  • A copy of the collective bargaining agreement from your jurisdiction

The licensing fees for private investigators in Michigan are as follows (make check payable to the State of Michigan):

  • Individual License $750
  • Partnership License $750
  • Corporation License $750
  • Limited Liability Company License $750

The completed application and related documentation should be sent to:

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Licensing Division
Professional Investigator
Post Office Box 30018
Lansing, Michigan 48909



Step 4. Get to Work in Michigan

The Michigan Council of Private Investigators is a good source for finding work in the State of Michigan as a private investigator. Membership in the Council may provide you with a number of opportunities for networking and information regarding the private investigation practice in the state.

Note: According to the Professional Investigator Licensure Act, all private investigators in Michigan must be fingerprinted upon being hired by an agency.

Professional certification in this field is often advantageous for career advancement and professional achievement. ASIS International offers the Professional Certified Investigator certification, which requires at least 5 years of experience in investigations, 2 of which must be in case management.



Step 5. Maintain your Michigan License

You must apply for re-licensure every 3 years as a private investigator in Michigan by completing the Application for Relicensure as a Professional Investigator Agency form and submitting a $750 renewal fee (payable to the State of Michigan).



Private Investigator Salary Information for Michigan

The outlook for private investigators in Michigan is promising.  Job growth in Michigan in this field is expected to be 13.6% in the period between 2008 and 2018 according to the state’s Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth.  Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that 210 private investigators were employed in Michigan in 2012 with nearly half of them located in the Detroit area.

The average salary for private investigators in Michigan in 2012 is available from the BLS, along with the average salary for experienced PIs, who earned in the 90th percentile of their profession. 

This information is presented below for the state and for Detroit.

Michigan City
Average Annual Salary

The state of Michigan requires a license to work as a private detective. The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs issues these licenses.  Applicants must be at least 25 years old and have been involved in one of the following occupations full-time for at least three years:

  • Served as an investigative employee in another state
  • Worked as an investigator for one who holds a license for conducting a professional investigative agency
  • Served as a law enforcement officer for a government agency
  • Graduated with a bachelor’s or graduate degree in a field such as criminal justice or police administration
  • Served as an in-house investigator for a business or attorney
  • Served as an investigative report for a recognized media outlet

Applicants who are successful in obtaining a license have a variety of job options available to them.  One area that is booming is computer forensics.  Private investigators can help track down those who have perpetrated fraud or harassed individuals using a computer.

Detailed information on hourly and annual salaries of private investigators in Michigan is provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Private Investigator Salaries in Michigan

Area name
Annual mean wage
Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn MI Metropolitan Division
Detroit-Warren-Livonia MI

[table_data table_data=’Colorado City,Average Annual Salary,Top 10th Percentile Salary

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