Detective or Criminal Investigator Salary

Detective or Criminal Investigators who are practiced in their profession and carry more than 10 years of experience make up about one-half of Detective or Criminal Investigators. Pay fluctuates from $31K to $104K per year, but expected earnings average $55K annually. Location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by experience level. Most Detective or Criminal Investigators survey respondents are men (76 percent). Most report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a strong majority collect dental insurance. Most Detective or Criminal Investigators report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$33,479 - $107,139
(Median)
$33K
$55K
$110K
MEDIAN: $54,831
10%
50%
90%

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$12.30 - $37.35
(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
$33,479 - $107,139  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $10,054  
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).
)
$31,380 - $104,295  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 421
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
$12.30 - $37.35  
   
Overtime
$17.10 - $69.88  
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 - $10,054  
   
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).
)
$31,380 - $104,295  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 109
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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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It's not very common for Detective or Criminal Investigators to move on to become Police Chiefs. Average pay for a Police Chief is $66K annually. More often than not, a Fraud Investigator role is the next step for Detective or Criminal Investigators moving up in the field. Pay for Fraud Investigators is usually $48K. Many Detective or Criminal Investigators choose to take on a Police Detective role instead, where salaries are typically $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, level of experience appears to be a somewhat less important part of the salary calculation — more experience does not correlate to noticeably higher pay. Survey participants with less than five years' experience report a median income of $45K, and earnings aren't much higher for respondents who have five to 10 years under their belts; respondents in the latter group report a median of just $50K. Detective or Criminal Investigators who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $58K. Veterans who have worked for more than two decades do tend to make the most in the end; the median pay for this group is $66K.

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Experience Affects Detective or Criminal Investigator Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 25%

Experienced
up arrow 9%

National Average
$53,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 5%

Entry-Level
up arrow 14%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 114 votes.

Gender

Female
24 %
Male
76 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
25%
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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