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Detective or Criminal Investigator Salary

Half of Detective or Criminal Investigators in the United States have been in the field for more than 10 years. Pay can fall anywhere from $31K to $103K per year, but median earnings come to around $54K annually. Geography is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by tenure. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Most enjoy medical while the greater part get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to slightly more than half. Generally, women make up less than a third of all Detective or Criminal Investigators who answered the questionnnaire. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.
$31,270 - $106,175
(Median)
$31K
$54K
$110K
MEDIAN: $53,707
10%
50%
90%

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$12.80 - $39.15
(Median)
$13
$21
$39
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
$31,270 - $106,175  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $9,878  
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).
)
$30,650 - $103,317  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 433
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
$12.80 - $39.15  
   
Overtime
$16.70 - $65.39  
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 - $9,878  
   
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).
)
$30,650 - $103,317  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 11 Dec 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 125
United States (change)

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 who transition into an upper level Police Chief role may receive a large increase in pay as the position pays an average $66K per year. A Fraud Investigator role is the most prevalent career advancement for Detective or Criminal Investigators. Paychecks for that role are $47K on average. The Police Detective position is another common transition for Detective or Criminal Investigators; in this role, salaries are typically at the $59K mark.

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.


In general, experience and pay appear to be strongly linked; those with more experience usually bring in higher incomes. Individuals who have worked for fewer than five years bring in approximately $45K on average. Those in the five-to-10 year range can expect an average that is only a touch bigger at $50K. On average, Detective or Criminal Investigators make $57K following one to two decades on the job. Big financial gains seem to result from working for more than two decades; veterans in this group report earning $68K on average.

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Detective or Criminal Investigator Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 32%

Experienced
up arrow 11%

National Average
$52,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 3%

Entry-Level
up arrow 13%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 138 votes.

Gender

Female
24 %
Male
76 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
24%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
29%
20 years or more
22%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 86% dental benefits Dental: 68%
vision benefits Vision: 53% employee benefits None: 12%