Professional Associaton of Wisconsin Licensed Investigators

Member Access




2019 PAWLI Annual Training Conference

Pre-Conference: TBD

Conference: March 28th - 29th

The Hotel Mead
451 E. Grand Ave,
Wisconsin Rapids, WI

PH:  715-423-1500


Tracers Info

PI Direct Link case menagement system


So You Want To Be a PI?

Wisconsin is one of 41 states that require a license to be a Private Investigator.  Currently, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, South Dakota, and Wyoming do not have this requirement. While Wisconsin does not mandate previous experience, there are many places to get training.

Many schools offer Professional Investigator in their curriculum. These courses will give you information helping you to operate within the laws, but the real training comes with getting your feet wet.

With that said though, the best way to educate yourself is to surround yourself with professional, experienced, and knowledgeable investigators, thus one of the reasons PAWLI exists.  PAWLI members are happy to share their expertise and knowledge with new investigators.    

Other important steps are:

  • Study other reference materials
  • Take and pass the licensing test
  • Get the required insurance
  • Advertise your services
  • Join PAWLI and begin networking

If you are working for someone else, you only need the individual license.  If you open your own agency, then you will need an agency license also. There are special circumstances where you do not need a license at all, such as working specifically for one law office and taking no other jobs outside that office. Be sure to check with the Wisconsin Dept of Safety and Professional Services to ensure you know the current requirements.

Application Process


Code Of Conduct Statutes


Professional/Occupational Licensure Fee Waiver Program

Veterans Professional/Occuptional Licensure Fee Waiver Program

Taking the exam

The test is based on WI statutes. Here are 2 recommended books:

  • Techniques of Legal Investigation, by Anthony M. Golec
  • Fundamentals of Criminal Investigation, by Charles E. O’Hara and Gregory L. O’Hara

To join PAWLI click here: Membership Application

To see member benefits click here: Member Benefits