How To Get a Private Investigator License in Wisconsin


This article explains how to get a private investigator’s license in Wisconsin. Included in an overview of the state licensing authority, a list of general licensing requirements, and where to get more information. In addition, we’ll provide some recommendations for joining an investigation association and where to get training and education.

Wisconsin Private Investigator Licensing Authority

The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services handles private investigator licensing and administration in Wisconsin. The following is the contact information for the department.

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
Division of Professional Credential Processing
1400 East Washington Avenue
PO Box 8935
Madison, WI 53708-8935
Phone: 608-266-2112

General Requirements to Get a Private Investigator License in Wisconsin

The following is general licensing information only. Please visit the website listed above for specific licensing information, application forms, insurance requirements, fees, and any special licensing requirements.

  • Applicants must take and pass an examination covering Wisconsin statutes and administrative code, as well as investigative practices relevant to functioning as a private detective.
  • The exam is administered by the Department of Safety & Professional Services. The exam will be available from a home, work, or public computer. To register for the exam, download, complete, and submit the Application for Private Detective License (form #469).
  • After receipt and processing of a complete application, directions for accessing the exam will be e-mailed to you. The passing score for this exam is 84%. If you fail the exam, you must retake the exam by downloading the retake application and submitting it along with a $75.00 retake fee to the Department. You will then be assigned another test. Please visit the website listed above for current fee notices.
  • The exam content is drawn from applicable state statutes and administrative code chapters specific to the profession. The purpose of the exam is to familiarize you with locating the statutes and administrative codes that regulate the practice of the profession.
  • Exam results are good for one year. You must be licensed within a year from the date you passed the exam or you will have to retake and pass the exam before you can be licensed. You may take the exam as many times as you want.

Please visit the website above for detailed information on licensing requirements, application forms, fee details, and information on any required training and education.

Wisconsin Private Investigator Associations

At the time of this writing, we couldn’t find any information on South Dakota P.I. associations. If you have information on any active associations in South Dakota, please send us the details at

List of Private Investigation Agencies in Wisconsin

Once you get a license, use our list of private investigation agencies in Wisconsin as a starting point to find a job. Contact the private investigators and investigation agencies in your area to inquire about open positions.

Additional Information

Training Resources – Improve your chances of a license in Wisconsin by completing a degree or certification program, training course, or home study course. Learn what options are available to get the investigative knowledge necessary to get licensed.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions about how to get a private investigator license in Wisconsin, please post them below. If you’re interested in learning about the requirements for other states, check out the Private Investigator Licensing ebook, available at Amazon.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


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