How to Become a Private Investigator in Wisconsin

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How to Become a Private Investigator in Wisconsin

Becoming a private investigator in Wisconsin can bring excitement and challenges.

If you think this could be the perfect job for you, take a look at the article below.

You’ll discover valuable tips on starting a fresh and thriving career.

Private Investigator Requirements and Duties

So, what are the requirements for being a private investigator?

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In Wisconsin, if you want to be a private investigator, you must be at least 18 years old.

To start off, you need to be a citizen of the United States or a qualified alien.

Also, you must be lawfully present in the U.S.

Before you can get going, Wisconsin requires all private investigators to have a background check based on fingerprints.

Your application must be sent in within 14 days of getting your fingerprints taken.

If you’ve served in the military, you might qualify for some benefits like fee waivers and experience credits.

However, if you were discharged because of a crime, you have to give details about it.

When it comes to your financial history, Wisconsin doesn’t ask for that information.

You won’t need a mental health check either.

Your employment agency should have insurance to cover you.

But if they only have a bond, you’ll need to get your own bond for $2,000.

If you’ve been convicted of a serious crime, like a felony, you won’t be eligible.

Of course, you will also have some daily tasks to finish.

These usually involve:

  • Watching one person at a time
  • Filming events in detail from a distance
  • Snapping clear photos from afar
  • Staying healthy
  • Knowing what clients want

Private Investigator Training in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, you don’t have to have a college degree to be a private investigator, but you do need to finish high school.

You don’t need any previous experience either.

To become a PI, you’ll need to pass a test.

This test includes questions about Wisconsin laws, rules, and how investigations work.

While there are no mandatory training courses, you’ll need to study up on the material covered in the exam to pass it.

But, what are the private investigator courses available in this state?

Franklin University

Franklin University provides a convenient option for adults balancing various responsibilities alongside their education.

Their online bachelor’s degree program offers flexibility for busy individuals.

Fortunately, the university accepts credit transfers from other institutions, allowing students to expedite their degree completion if they wish to finish in less than four years.


Check out NITA Training Academy if you’re interested in becoming a private investigator.

Their online courses are designed to improve your detective skills and get you ready for the licensing exam.

You can choose from a variety of classes, with prices ranging from $99 to $350.

Some courses even come with extra learning materials.

PI Education

For those looking for pre-licensing training, PI Education offers a 70-hour online course.

Make sure you have a good internet connection and a dependable computer to access the course materials.

Upon completion, you’ll receive 70 credit hours.

These can be transferred toward other programs that offer a degree in a related field.

To sign up, there is also a tuition fee of $399.

School Name Address
NITA online school
PI Education online school
Franklin University online school
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Becoming Licensed as a Private Investigator in Wisconsin

To apply, you’ll need to pay $75.00, and the exam costs $127.00.

If you do your fingerprints digitally, it’s $39.25.

In Wisconsin, private investigators have to get licenses from the Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Once you have your license, you’ll need to renew it by August 31 of the next even-numbered year.

This means paying the fees again, getting another background check, and confirming if you’ve had any criminal issues since your last renewal.

Plus, you need to keep working for a licensed PI agency.

Salaries for Private Investigators in Wisconsin

Once you’ve got your license, it’s exciting to start looking for your first job.

Before you jump in, you might wonder how much you could earn.

In Wisconsin, private investigators typically make around 50,202 dollars annually.

But this number can change based on things like where you work, your education, and how much experience you have.

For specific salary details in the state, take a look at the table provided below.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Beldenville $53,802
Clayton $53,802
Wilson $53,802
Bruce $51,102
Alma $50,602
Bloomer $50,402
Brookfield $50,402
Thiensville $50,302
Waukesha $50,202
Sussex $50,202

Regional Salary in Wisconsin

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI80$52,330$25.16$75,670$27,420
* 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 Wisconsin?

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 Wisconsin?

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 Wisconsin need a license?

The short answer is “yes.”

USA Private Investigator by State

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