How to Become a Private Investigator in Arkansas
Updated: Jun 19
Becoming a Private Investigator in Arkansas is similar to most other places: you need to meet basic requirements such as age, language proficiency, and other usual requirements of this nature. Furthermore, you need to take a government approved PI licensing test. In Arkansas, the government body that controls licensed Investigators is the Arkansas State Police. So, it is the police that will administer your PI test. Once you submit the proof of your ability to meet the requirements and completion of the licensing test to the state police, you will get your PI beginner’s license. This is where your struggle will begin.
Your PI beginner’s license in Arkansas is called CREDENTIALED PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR (CPI). This license is an under supervision type license and you must be sponsored by an Arkansas PI agency to obtain this under supervision license. You’ve guessed it, an “under supervision” license means you must work under the purview of a fully licensed Arkansas PI. However, the term “under supervision” will be in namesake only. You will not be supervised or guided by an experienced Arkansas PI. In fact, PI agencies are not economically structured to have mentor/ student surveillance teams. And any optional Private Investigator training course you took? It won't not teach investigation, only what laws Arkansas Private Investigators need to be aware of. This is useful; however, new Private Investigators still need to know how to be successful working operations in Arkansas.
CREDENTIALED PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR Requirements
-You must be 21yo or older.
-You must have a clean criminal record.
-You must be legally allowed to work in Arkansas.
-You must be sponsored by an Arkansas PI agency.
-You will have to pay a license fee is just under $500.
-If you have previous law enforcement experience (past five years), you don't need to take the Arkansas PI test. Include your verified law enforcement experience in the application.
-You will have to pass an Arkansas Private Investigator test.
Arkansas Board of Private Investigation and Private Security Agencies
1 State Police Plaza Drive, Little Rock, AR 72209
This lack of guidance is why so many new Arkansas Private Investigators burn out and quit and why many experienced Arkansas 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 Arkansas with no Private Investigator experience or education. The licensing test you took focused on legal matters with no real practical Private Investigator training or topics. You will always be told by 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 complete a large amount of government mandated training, you will qualify for a full PI license. A full PI license does not really exist in Arkansas. You will get a PI business license instead. This basically means you can open your own PI agency. Hopefully, when you are hiring new Private Investigators, you will appreciate the importance of proper PI education.
The requirements to obtain the mandated training to become a PI business are complex. It is recommended that you contact the licensing agency for information on the required training: