Detective Salary

Slightly more than half of Detectives in the United States are seasoned employees who have more than 10 years of experience in the field. Pay ranges from $38K to $101K per year, and the average comes out to $60K annually. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. Detectives who took the survey are largely men, dominating at 85 percent. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.
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$37,084 - $99,711
$37K
$60K
$100K
MEDIAN: $60,406
10%
50%
90%

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$18.53 - $43.02
$19
$27
$43
MEDIAN: $26.80
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$37,084 - $99,711  
   
Bonus
$3,052  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$38,309 - $100,519  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 176
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$28$56$84
Hourly Rate
$18.53 - $43.02  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.44  
Overtime
$24.26 - $83.84  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Bonus
$3,052  
   
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$38,309 - $100,519  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 4 May 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 60

Find Out Exactly What You Should Be Paid

United States (change)

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Job Description for Detective

Typically, detectives are employed by companies to assist in loss and theft prevention. Examples of prospective employers for detectives include insurance companies, which use detectives when determining settlement shares; organizations that require background checks and security clearances, which use detectives as a part of the hiring process; and retail companies, where they may assist with loss prevention.

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Detective Tasks

  • Interview sources.
  • Respond to incidents and complaints, document interactions, and collect evidence.
  • File reports, documents, and other paperwork.
  • Collect, store, protect, and analyze physical evidence from crime scenes to aid investigation.
  • Work closely with team members and other departments.

Common Career Paths for Detective


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Detectives sometimes move into a Police Sergeant role, where the salary is similar.

Police Detective Job Listings

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Pay by Experience Level for Detective

Pay by Experience for a Detective has a positive trend. An entry-level Detective with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $56,000 based on 76 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Detective with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $55,000 based on 75 salaries. An experienced Detective which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $65,000 based on 80 salaries. A Detective with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $75,000 based on 50 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $60,025

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

The three biggest American cities also offer the biggest paychecks — professionals in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles earn more on average than Detectives in the rest of the country. Location significantly influences compensation, with Miami Detectives earning much less — 33 percent less — than the national average.

Detective Advice

Q: What is it like working as a Detective?

Detective in Eugene:
"Key Skills for A Successful Detective."
Plan on being flexible, learn as many different roles as possible BEFORE applying for promotion to detective. The three things every new detective needs to excel at are issue spotting, problem solving, and articulating how you know what you know. The standard all detectives are held to on a daily basis is operating on a level most consistent with your case facts being 100% correct, 100% of the time. Your agency may not hold you to this standard, but your community, district attorney, defense attorneys, judges and juries will. I recommend a minimum of an associates degree, excellent writing skills, and additional training combined with experience in areas such as crime lab experience, patrol, corrections, interviewing and interrogation, photography, search and seizure case law, sexual assault investigation, computer and digital crime search and seizure, domestic violence, buried bodies and surface remains, cultivation and utilization of informants and any other specialized training.

Detective in Eagan:
"Don't be a load."
Step up and do your job. Then look around and see what else you can tackle. Make yourself a value to your agency, rather than someone just getting by. Your job satisfaction will be much higher.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Detective

Gender

Female
15 %
Male
85 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 17 votes.
Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
17%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
31%
20 years or more
23%
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Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Detective Salaries

Late-Career
▲25%

Experienced
▲8%

National Average
$60,000

Entry-Level
▼6%

Mid-Career
▼9%

Skills That Affect Detective Salaries

National Average
$60,000


Investigation
▼33%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 17 votes.

Gender

Female
15 %
Male
85 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
17%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
31%
20 years or more
23%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 92%
dental benefits
Dental: 77%
vision benefits
Vision: 61%
no benefits
None: 7%
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