How to Get a Private Investigator License in Arkansas

Private Investigator License in Arkansas
Learn how to become a private investigator in the state of Arkansas

Learn How to Get a Private Investigator License in Arkansas

If you want to get a private investigator license in Arkansas, be prepared. Arkansas has the most confusing state licensing rules, regulations, and procedures we’ve examined. The following article will break down the process and help you get started. We’ll provide details on the state licensing authority, the general licensing requirements, a list of private investigation associations, training recommendations, and whatever else we can uncover to help you get licensed.

State Licensing Authority

First, let’s start with the government organization responsible for licensing. In Arkansas, the Arkansas State Police is responsible for the oversight and licensing of private investigators and private security companies. Their contact information is as follows:

Arkansas State Police
One State Police Plaza Dr
Little Rock, AR 72209
Phone Number: 501-618-8000
To view the section of their website that deals specifically with private investigator licensing, go here.

There is a list of contact information for specific individuals on their website. If you have questions about the licensing process or need assistance at any phase of the application process, call them and ask for help directly.

State Statutes and Rules

To view the statutes and rules that apply to get a private investigator license in Arkansas, go to Act 393 of the Arkansas General Assembly and Private Security & Alarm Service Rules.

Training Requirements

All applicants for a Class A or D license must complete the following training requirements if they do not meet the experience requirements of a manager:

  • 15 hours of fundamental doctrines of private security (orientation), including history, ethics, organization, and functions of personal security;
  • 15 hours of purposes of security
  • 25 hours of criminal law
  • 25 hours of civil law
  • Five hours of legal powers and limitations
  • 40 hours of security functions, including report writing, patrol, interviewing
    and interrogation, investigations, surveillance, evidence, public relations, and safety
  • Five hours of A.C.A. § 17-39-101, et seq. and A.C.A. § 14-40-101, et seq.
  • 60)hours of security supervision management, including administrative
    responsibilities, investigative responsibilities, managerial responsibilities, and business
  • 10 hours of emergencies and disaster control
  • 10 hours of self-defense (armed and unarmed)

Licensing Requirements and Application Process

An applicant for a New Credential Private Investigator (CPI) must work under the supervision of a qualified manager of a class A company. In addition, the applicant must pass an exam administered by the Arkansas State Police. To become a CPI, you must obtain a 70% or above score on the exam. If you get below that score, you can retake the exam in five working days, but you have to pay a $50 re-exam fee. If you fail again, your application is canceled, and you must reapply and pay the application fees again.

The examination consists of a minimum of 100 questions that cover the subjects described in the training section above, the Private Security & Alarm Services Rules, field note-taking and reports writing, and the Arkansas Criminal Code.

If you have five consecutive years in law enforcement and are either employed or retired within the past five years, you are exempt from the exam requirement.

Application Process

All applications require two classifiable sets of fingerprints. The fingerprints can be taken by any law enforcement agency, Harvester, or at State Police Headquarters in Little Rock. Private Investigator / Security fingerprint cards are available upon request at 501-618-8600. In addition, all applications require two current passport-style photos. Please write the applicant’s name on the back of the photograph and secure it in a sealed envelope.

  1. Download and complete the application for a New Credential, Private Investigator (CPI).
  2. Attach your passport photos to the application.
  3. Attach a check for $485 to the application. The $485 includes getting a private investigator license and a background check, which all applicants require.
The Private Investigator’s Licensing Handbook: How to Get a Private Investigator License in any State
Considering a career as a private investigator? Dive into this book to explore services offered, learn about the work environment, career prospects, and salaries. Discover state-specific licensing requirements, training resources, and industry associations. Already a PI? Use it to learn about licensing in other states. Also, agencies can guide new hires through the licensing process. This edition includes enhanced training recommendations, suggestions for starting a new business chapter, and updated state info. It’s your essential starting point on the path to becoming a private investigator.

Other Requirements

Other special licensing requirements, such as insurance, may be required. Check the state licensing website for more information.


Arkansas maintains reciprocal agreements relating to private investigator licenses issued by the states of Tennessee, Louisiana, and Oklahoma. To qualify for reciprocity, the license must be current, and the applicant must have been licensed in the reciprocal state for at least two consecutive years.

Private Investigator Associations in Arkansas

After you get a private investigator license in Arkansas, join one of the state’s investigator associations to network with others in the industry, learn about laws and legislation affecting the practice and get access to training and education opportunities. The following are the leading associations in the state:

  • Arkansas Association of Professional Private Investigators (AAPPI)
  • Private Investigator’s Association of Arkansas (PIAA)

See our complete list of investigation associations in all states.

List of Investigation Agencies in Arkansas

Visit our directory of private eyes and investigation agencies in Arkansas to find a private investigation agency to sponsor you as a beginning private investigator.

Questions and Comments

If you have any questions about how to get a private investigator license in Arkansas, please post a comment below. If you want to learn about licensing requirements in other states, please check out the Private Investigator Licensing Handbook.

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


  1. Hello. I’m not quite sure if this is checked anymore but I am 26 years old & am very interested in becoming a P.I. I understand all of the requirements & how to achieve them. I just have one question pertaining to the requirement that we must have 2+ years of investigative experience. Would time spent in P.I. training classes, school classes, &/or any other type of private investigative classes, contribute to the 2+ years that is required to obtain my license? If not, does participating in these classes benefit us in a way that is worth all of the financials I’d spend for them? Technically, couldn’t anyone call up a P.I. company, ask to be an apprentice & work under a P.I. for two years & be qualified for their license (after their exams, background checks, etc. of course)? I’m trying to determine whether or not I should take these classes. Thanks for your time.

    • In most states, the licensing board will have requirements for both training and experience. This means that you must complete an approved training course and, separately, satisfy the appropriate number of years of experience. Generally, time spent in training classes does not qualify as experience. However, even if training courses are not required to get licensed, they are still important. You will learn things in the classroom that you won’t learn in the real world, and vice versa. If you decide to take a training course, invest some time in checking it out, including the school and instructor’s reputation, course materials, costs vs. other schools, online reviews, etc.

  2. I am very interested in becoming a private investigator in Arkansas. I was wanting to know if you could tell me where to start and what I need to do. Thanks

    • The first step would be to understand the requirements for becoming a licensed private investigator in your state. Refer to the Arkansas State Police website at the link above for more information. Then, begin working toward completing the requirements, which may include various applications, required training courses, and professional exams. In most states, you will likely need to work for a licensed private investigation agency for a period of time. Contact private investigation agencies in your area and inquire about open positions, internships, etc.


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