The field of private investigation is growing in Oklahoma, and the state’s Employment Security Commission estimates the job growth of private investigators to be 22.3% in the period from 2008 to 2018. These professionals earned a median salary of $36,300 a year in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Experienced private investigators earned nearly double that. The average salary of those in the top tenth percentile was $64,080.
Many of the private investigator and private detective jobs in Oklahoma are concentrated in the southeastern nonmetropolitan part of the state. In 2012, 44% of the state’s PIs were located in this area according to the BLS. This area has the third highest level of employment and concentration of jobs of any nonmetropolitan area in the country. It also has the third highest wages of all of the nonmetropolitan areas that were analyzed by the BLS.
To become a private investigator in Oklahoma, a license from the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) is required. Investigators must be at least 21 years old if they want to apply for an armed license or 18 years old for a regular license.
Specific training is required to get a license in Oklahoma. Applicants who have worked as correctional, peace, or reserve officers in the state may be able to get this requirement waived. This is also true for applicants who have a year’s full-time work experience as a private investigator or security guard.
Applicants who will be working independently are required to have proof of liability insurance. CLEET also requires that applicants pass an online exam as part of their application process.
Those who are applying for an armed license have to pass a psychological exam and have a certification that they have been trained in the use of firearms.
The BLS provides salary information on the PIs who were licensed and employed in Oklahoma in 2012. A breakdown of annual and hourly salaries for the nonmetropolitan area of southeast Oklahoma is listed in the following table.