How to Become a Private Investigator in Oklahoma

become a private investigator in oklahoma

In Oklahoma, private investigators can ply their wits, intelligence and deductive reasoning skills to a broad variety of law enforcement, legal, corporate and personal clients, from helping to find missing people to checking up on unfaithful spouses, to performing background checks or even helping to investigate cases for law firms. This page will show you all you need to know to become a private investigator in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Private Investigator License Requirements

Licensure is required in Oklahoma to pursue work or open a business as a private investigator. The licensing authority on the state is the Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training. The requirements for said licensing in this state are strict, and include specific education and dual-phase training as well as a clean criminal background and insurance bonding.

Minimum requirements

  • Age: You’ll need to be at least 18 to get licensed.
  • Provisional Requirements: Provisional licenses don’t exist in Oklahoma.
  • Criminal Background Check: You will need to submit to a fingerprint check to prove you have no felony convictions or moral crimes in your past.
  • Military Discharge: Military discharge is not specifically mentioned in Oklahoma’s rules.
  • Financial History: There is no financial history check, but you’ll need to secure bonding, which can be difficult with bad credit.
  • Mental Health Evaluation: While no specific mental examination is required, you should be of sound mind to perform the stressful duties of a P.I.
  • Insurance Needed: All private investigators must be fully bonded, and proof of bonding is required if not employed by another agency.
  • Automatic Disqualifications: Criminal convictions will make you ineligible.

Education and Experience

  • Degree: No specific degree is required, but education in criminal justice or law enforcement is quite helpful.  
  • Experience: None is required, but experience in certain investigative or law enforcement jobs can substitute for some or all of the training requirements.
  • Written Exams: The Phase III state exam is required for all private investigators, plus a Phase IV Firearms Exam if you wish to operate armed.
  • Training Courses: There is a 2-part training required. Phase I comprises 20 hours, and Phase III requires 35 hours.

Forms needed for a Detective License in Oklahoma

  • Fees required: In addition to fingerprinting fees, the license fee for a private eye in Oklahoma is $91 for an unarmed investigator and $141 for armed.
  • Registration needed: Your license application requires proof of no record for every arrest and/or charge in your background, legible fingerprinting cards, two passport-style photos (3 if applying for an armed license), local record checks, proof of current employment or bonded status, an agency application, proof of training and experience, and proof of citizenship or legal residency.
  • Maintaining Your PI License: Your license is good for two years. Renewal requires 16 hours of continuing education and a fee of $50 for an unarmed license and $100 for an armed license.

Oklahoma Private Investigator Salary and Job Outlook

Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, Oklahoma is currently home to 280 licensed investigators, with a mean annual salary of $42,550. The estimated outlook shows a 10.2% positive change in jobs over the next several years.

Helpful Oklahoma Links and Resources

Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET)

Training and Testing Requirements

Guidelines for New Applicants and Renewals