Detective Salary

With slightly less than three-fifths of Detectives in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience in the field, this area is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Pay ranges from $38K to $96K per year and averages out to $58K annually. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. The majority of Detectives claim high levels of job satisfaction. Nearly all report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. The vast majority of Detectives (88 percent) survey respondents are men. This report is based on answers 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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For Detectives who go on to become Police Sergeants, career progression may result in slightly increased compensation. On average, a Police Sergeant earns $64K annually.

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Pay by Experience Level for Detective

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


Detectives with a lot of experience do not necessarily enjoy more money. 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. For Detectives, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $62K. In the end, more experience does seem to mean larger paychecks; seasoned Detectives with more than 20 years of experience earn a predictably higher median salary of $68K.

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. One of the biggest compensable factors for Detectives is geography, with workers in Miami earning a whopping 31 percent below the national average.

Detective Advice

What do you wish you knew about your job when you first started out?

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.

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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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