Detective or Criminal Investigator Salary

Detective or Criminal Investigators in the United States take home approximately $55K per year on average. Location and career duration each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Generally, women make up less than a third of all Detective or Criminal Investigators who answered the questionnnaire. Job satisfaction for Detective or Criminal Investigators is high. Medical benefits are awarded to a large number, and a fair number earn dental coverage. This snapshot results from replies to PayScale's salary survey.

$33,825 - $106,207
(Median)
$34K
$55K
$110K
MEDIAN: $54,860
10%
50%
90%

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$12.28 - $37.46
(Median)
$12
$21
$37
MEDIAN: $21.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$33,825 - $106,207  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,094  
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).
)
$31,513 - $103,781  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 422
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$12.28 - $37.46  
   
Overtime
$17.13 - $69.62  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,094  
   
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).
)
$31,513 - $103,781  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 2 Jul 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 108
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Job Description for Detective or Criminal Investigator

Detectives or criminal investigators typically investigate violations of the law using all resources necessary (such as witnesses, written records, video surveillance, and numerical data). Throughout the investigation, detectives or criminal investigators interpret information, prepare reports, and provide a final evaluation of the evidence. Additionally, these individuals may be called on to testify in court. Detectives or criminal investigators often assess the evidence in an office setting, but much of the data is collected through on-site visits to witnesses and the crime scene. Research and analytical skills must be highly advanced, as much of the job involves synthesizing information and making conclusions.

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Detective or Criminal Investigator Tasks

  • Examine crime sites, interview suspects and witnesses and document findings.
  • Document hypotheses, warrants and conclusions, associating evidence and following regulations.
  • Make arrests and restrain suspects.
  • Compile, examine and assemble evidence to identify culprits.
  • Facilitate information and evidence transfer between departments.

Common Career Paths for Detective or Criminal Investigator


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Detective or Criminal Investigators do not often transition into Police Chief roles. The role averages $66K per year. As Detective or Criminal Investigators progress in their field, many go on to become Fraud Investigators. In fact, this transition is more common than anything else, and median pay for the role is $48K. Another common career choice for Detective or Criminal Investigators is to move into a Police Detective role — this promotion usually pays $59K.

Detective or Criminal Investigator Job Listings

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Pay by Experience Level for Detective or Criminal Investigator

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


Experience and pay tend to be weakly linked for Detective or Criminal Investigators — those with more experience do not necessarily bring in higher earnings. During their first five years in the workforce, individuals in this position earn $46K on average. Survey participants with five to 10 years under their belts see an only a slightly bigger average of $51K. Detective or Criminal Investigators bring in $58K after working for 10 to 20 years. In the end, more experience does seem to mean larger paychecks; seasoned Detective or Criminal Investigators with more than 20 years of experience earn a predictably higher median salary of $66K.

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Experience Affects Detective or Criminal Investigator Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 25%

Experienced
up arrow 10%

National Average
$53,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 4%

Entry-Level
up arrow 14%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 111 votes.

Gender

Female
25 %
Male
75 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
26%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
29%
20 years or more
21%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 88% dental benefits Dental: 70%
vision benefits Vision: 55% employee benefits None: 9%
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