How to Become a Private Investigator in Michigan

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How to Become a Private Investigator in Michigan

Michigan is a state where private investigator jobs are on the rise.

This is good news for everyone wanting to pursue this career.

Of course, before you can start working, you need to know what the requirements are.

Read this article for more info!

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Private Investigator Requirements and Responsibilities in Michigan

In Michigan, every professional investigator is overseen and licensed by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

According to the law, an “investigation business” refers to any business that carries out inquiries to gather details related to crimes.

To become licensed, individuals must meet some simple requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be an American citizen
  • Have a clean record, both personal and criminal
  • Get some experience

Within this definition, professional investigators can engage in various tasks, such as:

  • Gathering evidence for legal proceedings
  • Finding and retrieving stolen belongings
  • Utilizing electronic tracking methods
  • Presenting computer forensics discoveries as evidence in court
  • Employing devices for surveillance and observation purposes

Each job will request different types of actions including or excluding the ones mentioned here.

Private Investigator Training in Michigan

In Michigan, having an accredited bachelor’s degree in a field linked to professional investigation is typically required.

However, this requirement can be waived if you have done one of the following:

  • Three years of experience as a licensed investigator in another state
  • Worked as an investigator for a government agency
  • Served as an in-house investigator for a business
  • Worked as an investigative reporter

Unlike some states, there’s no written exam needed to become a professional investigator in Michigan.

Training for Michigan Private Investigators

If you don’t have prior investigation-related work experience, Michigan mandates completing either a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree from an accredited institution in a field related to the investigation.

Popular degree options for aspiring investigators include computer forensics, criminal justice, investigation, and security management.


The academy provides online classes perfect for folks dreaming of becoming private investigators.

These courses are all about boosting your detective skills and getting you ready for the licensing test.

Prices vary, starting at $99 and going up to $350.

They’ve got specific classes tailored for those hungry for more knowledge in this field.

PI Education

For those interested, PI Education offers a 70-hour online course to prepare you for your license.

You’ll need a decent computer and internet connection since it’s all online.

These 70 hours count as credit hours.

To enroll, you’ll need to pay a tuition fee of $399.

School Name Address
PI Education online
NITA online
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Becoming Licensed as a Private Investigator in Michigan

Once you’re confident you’ve met the basic requirements for licensure, whether through education or experience, you can start the application process.

You first have to fill out the Application for Professional Investigator License Holder.

This application should be accompanied by the following papers:

  • Two passport-sized photos
  • A completed Employment Verification form
    • This can be replaced with an official transcript if using a degree to qualify
  • A Professional Investigator Surety Bond
    • An Insurance Amendatory Endorsement form covering the entire 3-year license period is also accepted instead of the bond.
  • Copies of your Articles of Incorporation or Articles of Organization
  • A copy of your Certificate of Co-Partnership from the county clerk
  • An Assumed Name Certificate
    • This can be replaced with a DBA if using a different business name
  • Five notarized Personal Reference forms from individuals who have known you for at least 5 years

For law enforcement officers seeking private detective licensure in Michigan, specific permissions or documentation must be provided to the Department.

These include written consent from your employer, published policies allowing off-duty private investigation, or your jurisdiction’s collective bargaining agreement.

There are four types of licenses:

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

The fee is the same for all of them, $750.

Make sure to make checks payable to the State of Michigan.

Completed applications and associated documents should be mailed to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, to the Licensing Division.

You should also mention on the envelope “Professional Investigator.”

Salaries for Private Investigators in Michigan

Reading and preparing wouldn’t matter much if you only earned a small amount.

Nationwide, private investigators make an average of $50,902 annually.

In Michigan, these professionals typically earn about $50,502 each year.

Look at the table below for cities where salaries are higher.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Ypsilanti $52,602
Saline $52,602
Whittaker $52,502
Salem $52,502
Addison $51,502
Warren $51,502
Taylor $51,402
Rochester $51,402
Southfield $51,402
Trenton $51,302

Regional Salary in Michigan

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Ann Arbor, MI40$47,770$22.96$87,250$29,880
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI500$63,460$30.51$103,690$31,300
Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI60$48,100$23.12$81,660$29,400
Kalamazoo-Portage, MI40$44,130$21.22$73,550$31,470
Lansing-East Lansing, MI60$51,330$24.68$77,440$31,770
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Private Detectives and Investigators, OCC Code 33-9021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do private investigators work in Michigan?

Private investigators work for:

  • Private investigation and detective agencies
  • As independent contractors

Independent PIs work for:

  • Law firms,
  • Financial institutions,
  • Insurance companies,
  • Corporations,
  • Government agencies,
  • Police departments

What are some of the skills needed by PIs in Michigan?

These skills are some of the most important for a private investigator:

  • Agility
  • Attention to details
  • Physical strength
  • Discipline
  • Knowledgable of laws and regulations
  • Able to drive
  • Comfortable approaching people
  • Able to use technology and databases

Do all PIs in Michigan need a license?

The short answer is a strong “yes.”

USA Private Investigator by State

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