How to Become a Private Investigator in Arizona
Updated: Jun 19
Becoming a Private Investigator in Arizona is different from most other places. The difference is that Arizona does not require much for you to work as a PI for a Private Investigator agency. You simply need to be employed/ registered under a licensed Arizona PI. However, you won’t be a licensed Private Detective but you can work as one.
This license is called PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR EMPLOYEE REGISTRATION CARD. This can be viewed as you being a Private Investigator under supervision. A full PI license allows you to work for yourself (your own business). This requires you to have previous investigative experience (3 years). Other than investigative experience, you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature. Furthermore, you do not need to take a government approved PI licensing course/ test (most other places you do). In Arizona, the government body that controls licensed Private Investigators is the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and experience to the DPS, you will get your Arizona PI business license (a full PI license doesn't exist). Most jurisdictions will have a PI beginner’s license. In Arizona, it is the PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR EMPLOYEE REGISTRATION CARD. Getting this license is when your struggle will begin.
Your Private Investigator beginner’s license equivalent in Arizona is just being support staff to an Arizona PI agency. You will get a type of license called PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR EMPLOYEE REGISTRATION CARD. This will allow you to work for a PI agency, but you will not be able to work for yourself (your own PI company). This means you must work under the supervision of a fully licensed Arizona PI agency. However, the term “under supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced Arizona Private Investigator. In fact, PI agencies are not economically structured to have mentor/ student surveillance teams. Furthermore, a background in non-PI investigations will give you some transferable knowledge but it will not set you up to become a successful Private Investigator. New Private Investigators still need to know how to be successful working operations. This is why practical Private Investigator education and training specifically for Private Investigators is necessary.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR EMPLOYEE REGISTRATION CARD Requirements
-You need to be 18yo or older.
-You need to be an American citizen/ legal resident.
-You cannot have a history of mental illness.
-You must have a clean criminal and personal record.
-You will need to be sponsored by an Arizona PI agency.
Arizona Department of Public Safety
PO Box 6328
This lack of guidance is why so many rookie Arizona Private Investigators burn out and quit and why many experienced Private Investigators are jaded. On top of this, PI clients with small budgets typically get the new unqualified Private Investigators, nobody wins in this situation. It is also not fair to small PI clients to use their files to haphazardly train new Private Investigators.
So, the time comes for you to work investigations in Arizona with no Private Investigator experience or education. If you took a PI course or PI training, it most likely focused on legal matters with no real practical Private Investigator training or topics. You will always be told by Arizona employers that “soon you will get some PI training,” which never happens. It took me over five years to figure out the industry and get good at a few specialized fields. During that time, I struggled and probably lost several hundred thousand dollars due to loosing work opportunities from a lack of skill and education. What is sad is that this is a common story in the industry. If you make it through this meat grinder of an industry and get three years (full time average) of PI experience, you be qualified to work for yourself with your own PI agency. Hopefully, when you are hiring new Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.