How to Become a Private Investigator in Arkansas

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How to Become a Private Investigator in Arkansas

Modern private investigators differ from the Hollywood image of solitary and rogue figures.

In Arkansas, they emerge from diverse backgrounds.

They can be ex-journalists, police officers, corrections officers, teachers, and court reporters.

If you feel this is the right path, let’s check out how to become a private investigator in this state.

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Private Investigator Requirements and Responsibilities in Arkansas

In Arkansas, these professionals are under the supervision of the Arkansas Board of Private Investigation and Private Security Agencies.

This means these investigators need a license to operate.

To get it, you’ll need to pass a test and meet some basic requirements.

The licensing criteria include:

  • Being at least 21 years old
  • Being an American citizen
  • Clean criminal and personal records
  • Apply for the PI licensure test
  • Pass the test
  • Gain experience

Many private investigators opt to take a course to gain experience and learn more about the job.

Having law enforcement experience can replace the need for a class.

A minimum of 100 hours of experience is required for a PI.

Basic duties involve:

  • Single-person surveillance
  • Recording events in high resolution from a distance
  • Capturing good-quality pictures from afar
  • Maintaining good health
  • Understanding clients’ needs

Training for Private Investigators in Arkansas

As mentioned before, there’s no legal requirement for PIs to undergo training.

But don’t ignore this aspect.

It can help you charge more and perform your job better.

Classes or degrees in law enforcement are most helpful.

Sometimes, any degree can be accepted, even if it’s not directly related to the position.

Through specialized classes, you’ll learn which equipment is essential and which is useless.

Each PI can create their own set of job-related tools, such as:

  • Maps
  • Computers, tablets, and peripherals
  • Binoculars
  • Cameras
  • Microphones
  • Car and/or motorcycle

You’ll also learn the NATO phonetic alphabet and common terminology.


If you are looking for an online program, you can check out this school.

The school offers a flexible program anyone can attend, even if they already have a job.

The class only lasts for a few weeks and provides all the knowledge you need as a future PI.

University of Arkansas

This is another institution that provides all the classes you need to start your career.

At the end of the program, you will be ready to take the certification exam.

Some of the classes include:

  • Criminal Patrol and Drug Recognition
  • Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE)
  • Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Refresher
School Name Address
NITA online
University of Arkansas 1 University of Arkansas Fayetteville, AR 72701
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Becoming Licensed as a Private Investigator in Arkansas

To pursue a PI license, individuals must initially invest a minimum of two years working under the supervision of a licensed private detective.

The employer’s license can originate from Tennessee, Oklahoma, or Louisiana, as Arkansas maintains a reciprocal PI licensing agreement with these three neighboring states.

I mentioned earlier that you need to pass an exam and meet certain criteria.

Taking the exam comes with some fees.

Just applying to take the exam costs $125, and the exam itself is $100.

Applying also requires some documents:

  • Proof you meet the minimum prerequisites
  • A recent photo of yourself
  • 3 sets of fingerprints
  • Form 46

Obtaining a new license involves:

  • A $40 fee for an unarmed security officer
  • A $22 fee for the state background check
  • A $10 fee for the federal background check
  • A $3 for extra federal background check fees

To complete the process, you must submit your application, along with evidence of meeting all prerequisites and payment of all fees, to the State Police Regulatory Services.

Renewing your license is necessary every two years and involves the same fees and prerequisites as your initial application.

Assuming you get approved for the test and pass it, you’ll become licensed as a PI in Arkansas.

But your journey isn’t over; you need to maintain your credentials.

Every 2 years, you continue your education and pay a $300 fee.

Late renewals come with an extra $200 charge.

You have to accumulate 16 hours of education and keep a record of them.

Salaries for Private Investigators in Arkansas

All this preparation would be pointless if you earned a few pennies.

Nationwide, PIs earn an average of $50,900 per year.

In Arkansas, the average is around $46,400 annually.

Check the next table for cities with higher salaries.

Of course, how much you earn depends on the area you live as well as your experience.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Sturkie $47,202
Salem $47,202
Proctor $47,102
Alexander $47,002
Violet Hill $46,902
Roland $46,802
Waldenburg $46,802
Swifton $46,802
Strawberry $46,702
Perryville $46,602

Regional Salary in Arkansas

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO120$77,730$37.37$102,910$34,840
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR40$63,460$30.51$86,730$34,320
* 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 Arkansas?

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 Arkansas need a license?

The short answer is “yes.”

Where do private investigators work in Arkansas?

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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