Detective or Criminal Investigator Salary

Around half of Detective or Criminal Investigators in the United States are seasoned employees who have more than 10 years of experience in the field. Pay ranges from $33K to $108K per year, and the average comes out to $55K per year. Residence and experience level each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. The majority of Detective or Criminal Investigators claim high levels of job satisfaction. A large number report receiving medical coverage from their employers and a fair number collect dental insurance. Generally, women make up less than a third of all Detective or Criminal Investigators who answered the questionnnaire. The data in this summary comes from the PayScale salary survey.

$34,756 - $109,404
(Median)
$35K
$55K
$110K
MEDIAN: $55,250
10%
50%
90%

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$12.53 - $39.09
(Median)
$13
$22
$39
MEDIAN: $21.00
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$50K$100K$150K
Salary
$34,756 - $109,404  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $11,745  
Profit Sharing
$4,000  
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).
)
$32,539 - $107,560  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 444
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$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$12.53 - $39.09  
   
Overtime
$17.02 - $72.74  
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 - $11,745  
   
Profit Sharing
$4,000  
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).
)
$32,539 - $107,560  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 97
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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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Though it's uncommon, some Detective or Criminal Investigators move into roles as Police Chiefs, where pay is an average $66K per year. A Fraud Investigator role is the most common promotion for Detective or Criminal Investigators moving up the ladder. Pay for this role tends to be $48K per year. Another typical, albeit less common, transition for Detective or Criminal Investigators is a Police Detective position, where earnings are usually $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 many Detective or Criminal Investigators, more experience generally translates to higher pay. People who have worked for fewer than five years bring home $46K on average. Median compensation in the five-to-10 year group, however, is higher at approximately $53K. Detective or Criminal Investigators who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $59K. Detective or Criminal Investigators who have acquired more than 20 years of relevant experience earn significantly more than folks with fewer years on their resumes; the average income in this veteran group is $70K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $53,719

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

For Detective or Criminal Investigators, busy Seattle offers a higher-than-average pay rate, 85 percent above the national average. Detective or Criminal Investigators will also find cushy salaries in Washington (+54 percent), Houston (+38 percent), Los Angeles (+34 percent), and Boston (+30 percent). Compared to the national average, Little Rock Detective or Criminal Investigators have considerably lower salaries, 36 percent below the national average to be exact. Location appears to be a major driving force in pay for those in this profession. Workers in Phoenix and Atlanta earn salaries that trail the national average for those in this profession (12 percent less and 3 percent less, respectively).

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Experience Affects Detective or Criminal Investigator Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 30%

Experienced
up arrow 11%

National Average
$54,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 1%

Entry-Level
up arrow 14%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 95 votes.

Gender

Female
26 %
Male
74 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
26%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
29%
20 years or more
21%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 73%
medical benefits
Vision: 58%
dental benefits
None: 8%
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