How to Become a Private Investigator in Minnesota

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How to Become a Private Investigator in Minnesota

If you enjoy finding important info and missing people, think about being a private investigator.

PIs can work alone or for agencies, businesses, or the government, helping clients get the info they need.

In Minnesota, they call private investigators “private detectives” and you need a license whether you’re solo or starting a detective firm.

Following the state rules is a must to be a private detective in Minnesota.

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Private Investigator Requirements and Responsibilities in Minnesota

In Minnesota, the private investigators are overseen by the Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services.

They need a license to work.

To get this license, you must pass a test and meet some simple requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be an American citizen
  • Have a clean record, both personal and criminal
  • Apply for the PI test
  • Pass the test
  • Get some experience

Many investigators decide to take a course to learn more and get experience.

If you’ve worked in law enforcement, that can count as experience, too.

You need at least 100 hours of experience to become a PI.

Here’s what PIs do:

  • Watch people on their own
  • Record events from far away with good cameras
  • Take clear pictures from a distance
  • Stay healthy
  • Understand what their clients need

Private Investigator Training in Minnesota

Like I said before, PIs aren’t required by law to go through training.

But that doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether.

First off, it can let you charge more for your services, and secondly, it’ll make you better at your job.

As I mentioned earlier, classes or degrees in law enforcement are the most helpful.

Sometimes, any degree might work for this job, even if it’s not related.

In specialized classes, you’ll learn about the equipment you need and what’s not so useful anymore.

Every PI can pick their own set of tools, like:

  • Maps
  • Computers, tablets, and stuff like that
  • Binoculars
  • Cameras
  • Microphones
  • Cars or motorcycles

You’ll also learn stuff like the NATO phonetic alphabet and common terms.


NITA offers a 12-hour licensing course that allows you to start your journey to becoming a successful Private Investigator in Minnesota.

This online program follows the rules laid out in MN Statute 326 and MN Administrative Code chapter 7506.

The training covers various topics essential for PIs, such as:

  • Ethics,
  • Surveillance
  • Communication
  • The laws that govern the investigative field

Enroll today to fulfill the 12-hour pre-assignment training needed for your license application.

PI Education

PI Education presents a 70-hour course crafted as a pre-licensing program.

The entire program is available online, so having a reliable computer and internet connection is crucial.

These hours amount to 70 credit hours.

This program is flexible enough to allow you to pursue other activities while in training.

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

In this state, the Board doesn’t give out detective licenses openly.

Instead, you need to pay a $25 fee and ask for a form in writing.

If you’re applying solo, your license fee is $1,000.

Partnerships pay $1,700 and corporations pay $1,900.

Fill out the form and send it to the Board for approval.

Along with your fees, you’ll need to provide some documentation as well, such as:

  • Proof of work experience
  • A surety bond
  • A release for your criminal history
  • Fingerprints
  • References from non-family members who’ve known you for at least five years
  • A recent photo of your face

You have to renew your license regularly.

To get your license renewed, you need to attend some extra classes of education.

By doing this, you will also be able to keep up with the industry updates.

The fee depends on how many people you employ.

If you’re a lone operator, the fee is $540.

Salaries for Private Investigators in Minnesota

If you want to become a private investigator in Minnesota, you are probably wondering about your salary.

First of all, your salary will be impacted by several factors such as your experience and your location.

You may want to check out the following table to learn more about salaries in various areas.

However, the average annual salary in this state is $52,202.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Minnetonka $54,302
Savage $54,102
Lakeville $53,902
Afton $53,902
Stacy $53,802
Arlington $53,802
Wyoming $53,802
Vermillion $53,702
Watertown $52,602
Welch $52,302

Regional Salary in Minnesota

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI310$65,250$31.37$99,950$34,580
* 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

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

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 Minnesota need a license?

The short answer is a strong “yes.”

Where do private investigators work in Minnesota?

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

USA Private Investigator by State

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