Solving crimes, gathering information, and uncovering the truth—these are just a few of the intriguing facets of a career as a private investigator. If you've been considering a career as a private investigator in the state of Minnesota, this is your time to start the journey. In this guide, we'll take you through the steps, requirements, and essential insights you need to pursue a career as a PI in the great state of Minnesota.
What is a Private Investigator?
A private investigator (PI) is a professional who is hired to conduct investigations and gather information on behalf of individuals, businesses, or organizations. Private investigators are typically hired to uncover facts, gather evidence, or provide intelligence on a wide range of matters. Their work can involve a variety of tasks, including surveillance, research, interviews, and data analysis.
Who Can Apply to Become a Private Investigator in Minnesota?
Sole proprietors (individuals), partnerships or Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), corporations, and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) may apply to receive their private investigative licensure in the state of Minnesota.
Individual applicants serve as the sole proprietor, shouldering the role of both the day-to-day manager and supervisor of PI responsibilities. This category excludes individuals who are employees of a licensed PI firm. The individual or sole proprietor may or may not have employees under their purview.
Partnerships or corporations require a qualified representative, an individual uniquely positioned as the day-to-day manager and supervisor of the licensed activity within the partnership or corporation. This serves as a structural safeguard to ensure that a capable and responsible figurehead leads the licensed activity.
For entities based outside of Minnesota but intending to establish a business presence within the state for the regular conduct of business, a Minnesota Manager is required. This managerial role, specific to the geographical context, ensures that the licensing applicant adheres to the necessary standards and regulations, even when operating from an external jurisdiction.
How to Become a Private Investigator in Minnesota
The Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services oversees the application and licensure process for private investigators in Minnesota. Unlike many other states, Minnesota requires a significant amount of work experience for candidates seeking licensure as a private investigator. Additionally, candidates will need to meet several basic qualifications in order to apply for licensure in Minnesota.
Meet the Minimum Requirements Prior to Application
These are the minimum requirements you must meet prior to application. It’s important to note that all parties must meet these requirements, including qualified representatives and Minnesota Managers.
- You must be 18 years of age or older.
- You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident.
- You must be legally allowed to work in Minnesota.
- You must have a record free of felony convictions and no record of convictions of offenses identified in statute.
- You must be able to submit Proof of Financial Responsibility.
- You must purchase a surety bond worth $10,000 prior to application.
- You must be of good moral character.
- You must have the required employment experience relevant to the license you are seeking.
Required Employment Experience for Private Detectives in Minnesota
Individual (sole proprietors), Qualified Representatives, and Minnesota Managers for out-of-state applicants must be able to document a minimum of 6,000 hours of investigative employment experience in one or more of the following:
- Experience as an investigator with a licensed private detective or investigative agency.
- Experience as an investigator with a U.S. government investigative service.
- Experience as an investigator for a city police department or sheriff's office.
- Experience in an investigative occupation the Minnesotan Private Detective Board finds equivalent in scope, responsibility, and training as one of the specific occupations listed above.
Additional Application Requirements
Each person signing the private detective application must comply with the following:
- Complete all application forms for the license you’re pursuing.
- Complete an informed consent criminal history form.
- Submit a recent (durable) photograph and a full set of fingerprints.
- Provide five references (from people who are not related by blood or marriage) who have known you for a minimum of five years.
- The Qualified Representative and Minnesota Manager must include documentation of required work experience.
- Pay the applicable licensing fee once you submit your application.
- Individual fee: $1000
- Partnership/LLP: $1700
- Corporation/LLC: $1900
Pre-Assignment Training for Private Detectives in Minnesota
Once licensed, you are required to complete pre-assignment training within the first 21 days of your employment. Private investigators must complete at least 12 hours of pre-assignment training, and employers are responsible for ensuring their employees meet this requirement.
At NITA, we offer a 100% online, on-demand pre-assignment training program to help you further your private investigative career. Our program delves into the multifaceted realm of the investigative industry, shedding light on the diverse responsibilities that private investigators shoulder, while also presenting a comprehensive overview of the current job landscape and career prospects.
Continuing down the educational path, the coursework transitions to more specific subject matter. This includes a thorough examination of legal considerations, elucidating the boundaries and permissible actions within the investigator's purview. Additionally, the course covers topics including legal issues and what you can and can't do as an investigator, how to conduct a successful interview and communicate well with your client, courtroom preparation, and privacy rights and laws.
View course: Interviewing Skills for MN Private Investigators
We also cover situational awareness of the industry to include all aspects of surveillance and ethics. The course concludes with a thorough review of the MN Statute 326 and MN Administrative Code Chapter 7506, both of which outline the expectations for Private Detectives in Minnesota.
NITA's comprehensive training program, officially endorsed by the Minnesota Board of Private Detective and Protective Agent Services, is conveniently offered in a 100% online, on-demand format, affording students the flexibility to study at their own pace and on their preferred schedule.
Maintaining your Minnesota Private Detective License
Private detectives in Minnesota are also required to complete 6 hours of continuing education every year to maintain their licensure. Continuing education should cover use of force techniques, background investigations, counter-terrorism techniques, cybercrime, and more.
Additionally, private detectives must pay a relicensing fee periodically to maintain their licensure. The fees vary based on whether you are a sole proprietor, corporation, or partnership. The breakdown is as follows:
- 1 employee (sole proprietor): $540
- 2 to 10 employees: $710
- 11 to 25 employees: $880
- 26 to 50 employees: $1,050
- 51 or more employees: $1,220
How Much Can You Make as a Private Investigator in Minnesota?
Your income as a private investigator in Minnesota can vary significantly depending on several factors, including experience, specialization, location, and the demand for your services. For example, private investigators who specialize in high-demand areas such as insurance fraud, corporate investigations, or digital forensics may command higher fees or salaries. Additionally, PIs in urban areas with higher living costs may be able to charge higher fees and earn higher salaries.
As of 2023, hourly rates for private detectives in MN range from $14/hr to $34/hr or more, depending on the complexity of the investigation and the investigator's experience. According to Indeed, the current average hourly rate for a PI in Minnesota is around $21-22 per hour.
For those working full-time or as employees of investigative firms, the annual salary can vary widely. On average, a private investigator in Minnesota might earn an annual salary ranging from $28,000 to $70,000 or more. According to Indeed, the current average yearly salary for a PI in Minnesota is $44,217.
Online Private Investigative Education At Your Fingertips
A career as a PI is all about upholding the law, protecting the rights of individuals, and making a difference. Becoming a private investigator in Minnesota offers a pathway to a rewarding and dynamic profession. Let NITA help! We offer 100% online, on-demand training for private investigators in MN, from pre-assignment training to continuing education. Choose us as your trusted partner for all your private detective training and education needs.
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