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Detective or Criminal Investigator Salary

Pay for Detective or Criminal Investigators in the United States sits in the ballpark of $54K annually. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Medical benefits are awarded to most, and a strong majority earn dental coverage. For the most part, Detective or Criminal Investigators enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. Most Detective or Criminal Investigators survey respondents are men (76 percent). The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$32,814 - $106,207
(Median)
$33K
$54K
$110K
MEDIAN: $54,153
10%
50%
90%

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$12.47 - $37.57
(Median)
$12
$21
$38
MEDIAN: $20
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
$32,814 - $106,207  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,067  
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).
)
$31,066 - $103,365  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 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
$12.47 - $37.57  
   
Overtime
$17.00 - $68.05  
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 - $10,067  
   
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).
)
$31,066 - $103,365  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 16 May 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 117
United States (change)

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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 may experience a large salary bump if they progress into a role such as Police Chief. The latter position pays an average of $66K annually. The most common promotion for Detective or Criminal Investigators is a Fraud Investigator position, which usually brings in $47K a year. Another standard transition for Detective or Criminal Investigators seeking advancement is to assume a Police Detective role, where pay is often $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.


For Detective or Criminal Investigators, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. Detective or Criminal Investigators in the early stages of their careers take home approximately $45K on average. The average for people in the five-to-10 year group is only a little larger at $50K. Detective or Criminal Investigators claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $57K. As Detective or Criminal Investigators reach more than two decades on the job, compensation remains commensurate with experience; the average pay in this group is $66K.

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Detective or Criminal Investigator Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 27%

Experienced
up arrow 9%

National Average
$52,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 5%

Entry-Level
up arrow 14%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 116 votes.

Gender

Female
24 %
Male
76 %

Years of Experience

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

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 88% dental benefits Dental: 70%
vision benefits Vision: 54% employee benefits None: 10%
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