Detective Salary

With just over a half of Detectives in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience, the field is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Average pay for Detectives is $60K per year and can range from $38K on the lower end to $99K per year near the higher end. Residence and years of experience each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Almost all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. The majority of Detectives claim high levels of job satisfaction. Men account for the majority of Detectives who responded to the questionnaire — 84 percent to be exact. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
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$36,744 - $98,384
$37K
$60K
$98K
MEDIAN: $60,477
10%
50%
90%

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$18.18 - $42.95
$18
$26
$43
MEDIAN: $26.20
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$34K$68K$102K
Salary
$36,744 - $98,384  
   
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).
)
$37,735 - $99,278  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 170
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$29$58$87
Hourly Rate
$18.18 - $42.95  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.44  
Overtime
$21.51 - $86.76  
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).
)
$37,735 - $99,278  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 56

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

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

Common Career Paths for Detective


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Detectives tend not to experience significant pay changes as they move up the career ladder to roles like Police Sergeant. The two jobs pay about the same on average.

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: $60,000

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

Detectives in search of higher pay head to America's three biggest cities. Perhaps not surprisingly, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles all offer salaries above the national rate. Detectives in Miami report much lower salaries than the rest of the country — 33 percent below the national average — proving that residence is a major factor in overall pay.

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
16 %
Male
84 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 14 votes.
Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
19%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
31%
20 years or more
22%
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 14 votes.

Gender

Female
16 %
Male
84 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
19%
5-9 years
24%
10-19 years
31%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 92%
dental benefits
Dental: 76%
vision benefits
Vision: 61%
no benefits
None: 7%
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