Detective Salary

The majority of Detectives in the United States — just under three-fifths — boast more than 10 years of experience in their profession. Salaries stretch from $38K to $96K per year, and the median is $58K annually. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by years of experience. Men make up the vast majority of Detectives (88 percent) who took the survey. Job satisfaction is high and work is enjoyable for most Detectives. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and a strong majority earn dental coverage. Figures cited in this summary are based on replies to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$39,096 - $97,705
(Median)
$39K
$58K
$98K
MEDIAN: $58,381
10%
50%
90%

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$15.19 - $34.92
(Median)
$15
$25
$35
MEDIAN: $24.00
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$33K$66K$99K
Salary
$39,096 - $97,705  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,039  
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).
)
$38,047 - $96,289  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 239
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$22$44$66
Hourly Rate
$15.19 - $34.92  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.44  
Overtime
$20.83 - $65.64  
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$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,039  
   
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).
)
$38,047 - $96,289  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 73
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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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At the upper end, Detectives who move into a Police Sergeant role may earn a little more as the latter position has a median salary of $64K per year.

Police Detective Job Listings

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Pay by Experience Level for Detective

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Detectives do not generally earn higher incomes from more experience in the field. During the first five years of their careers, Detectives see a median income of $51K. Survey respondents with five to 10 years of experience report an only modestly higher median of $54K. People with 10 to 20 years of experience make an average of about $62K in this role. In the end, the overall pattern seems to be that more experience generally corresponds to higher pay; a Detective with more than 20 years of experience can earn $68K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $57,924

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

Professionals in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago — the three largest American cities — enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with compensation above the national average. The lowest-paying market is Miami, which sits 31 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay.

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Experience Affects Detective Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 17%

Experienced
up arrow 7%

National Average
$58,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 6%

Entry-Level
up arrow 12%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 33 votes.

Gender

Female
13 %
Male
88 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
3%
1-4 years
20%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
34%
20 years or more
23%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 93%
dental benefits
Dental: 73%
medical benefits
Vision: 59%
dental benefits
None: 7%
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