How to Become a Private Investigator in Arizona

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Private investigators in Arizona are regulated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS). Becoming a private investigator in Arizona is a relatively simple process, unless you have a criminal record. A thorough criminal record background check is conducted by DPS. This can be the most time-consuming part of the process. You will need to pay for application fees as well as any fees associated with providing your fingerprints from a law enforcement agency. In order to own your own P.I. agency, you must have “had a minimum of three years of full-time investigative experience or the equivalent of three years of full-time investigative experience that consists of actual work performed as an investigator for a private concern, for the federal government or for a state, county or municipal government.” Documentation for completion of this experience must be confirmed by your employer.

Things You'll Need

  • Certified copies of any final court documents (including any expunged orders)
  • Application fee
  • Application
  • Certification by your employing PI agency
  • Background check
  • License
  • Fingerprint card/fee
  • Transportation
  • Search for prospective private investigation agency employers.

  • Find a private investigation agency that is willing to hire you. You can obtain appropriate experience either as a result of paid work or thorough an apprenticeship working for a licensed PI agency.

  • Obtain an application form, blank fingerprint card and instructions regarding completion of the application for a private investigator’s license from the Department of Public Safety. Be sure to ask DPS what the appropriate application fee is before mailing your application.

  • Go to the local police department and provide your fingerprints on the fingerprint card. Most police departments will charge a small fee for this service. You will be sending the completed fingerprint card with your application package when you are ready to do so.

  • Complete the application with certification by your prospective employer that you are, in fact, going to be working for their agency.

  • Submit all of these documents along with payment of the current required fee to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), Licensing Division.

  • Provide any follow-up information to DPS, if requested to do so. If you have been convicted of a crime, follow-up could include providing a copy of any respective court record expunged orders issued by a court.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to list any and all criminal convictions on your application form, even if you believe that a conviction(s) has been expunged. Failure to do so could result in denial of your license and/or being charged with perjury for falsifying information on your application.

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