In 2012, 210 private investigators were employed in Arizona, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their median annual salary was $49,450, while those in the top 10% percent of their field made an average of $78,300 a year. Private investigators in the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale area averaged almost exactly the same salary-level as those throughout the state.
According to 2011 salary data from Arizona’s Workforce Department, salaries increased nearly 18% between 2011 and 2012 for the top earning private investigators in the state. The median wage increased by slightly over one percent.
The Workforce Department projected employment in this field to increase nearly 2.5% in the two year period from 2011 to 2013. Sixty percent of this job growth was projected to be due to people leaving the work force.
To become a private investigator in Arizona requires a license from the Licensing Unit of the state’s Department of Public Safety. Anyone doing private investigatory work in Arizona must be licensed, including investigators from other states temporarily doing work in the state.
Arizona requires employees of detective agencies to get a registration certificate. If an investigator works for multiple employers, a separate certificate is required for each employer.
Agency licenses are issued to the individual in charge. This is even true for businesses that are set up as sole proprietorships. This type of license has more requirements: applicants must have three years of experience working full-time as a private investigator.
Private investigators in Arizona are represented by the Arizona Association of Licensed Private Investigators (AALPI). This organization helps to insure that only properly license PIs are working in Arizona. It also helps to fight burdensome legislation that could be damaging to the profession.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides 2012 information on salaries for private investigators for selected cities in most states. In Arizona, the BLS only presents the salary data for the Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale area as shown here.