Detective or Criminal Investigator Salary

With over one-half of Detective or Criminal Investigators in the United States reporting more than 10 years of experience, the field is heavily weighted toward experienced professionals. Average pay for Detective or Criminal Investigators is $57K per year and can range from $37K on the lower end to $113K per year near the higher end. Geography and tenure each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all, and a fair number earn dental coverage. The majority of Detective or Criminal Investigators (68 percent) survey respondents are male. Most Detective or Criminal Investigators like their work and job satisfaction is high. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.

$37,639 - $110,956
$38K
$57K
$110K
MEDIAN: $56,821
10%
50%
90%

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$15.71 - $64.56
$16
$23
$65
MEDIAN: $23.49
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
$37,639 - $110,956  
   
Bonus
$0.21 - $7,830  
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).
)
$36,840 - $113,332  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 316
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$31$62$93
Hourly Rate
$15.71 - $64.56  
   
Overtime
$16.98 - $91.92  
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$70K$140K$210K
Bonus
$0.21 - $7,830  
   
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).
)
$36,840 - $113,332  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 25 Mar 2017 | Individuals Reporting: 50

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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

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

Common Career Paths for Detective or Criminal Investigator


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As Detective or Criminal Investigators make advancements in their career path to positions such as Police Chief, their salaries may climb. Police Chiefs make $67K annually on average. 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 $49K. 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.


For Detective or Criminal Investigators, more experience in the field does not usually mean bigger paychecks. At career start (within the first five years), average income sits near $50K, and the average for folks who have worked for five to 10 years is only slightly higher at $52K. Detective or Criminal Investigators claiming one to two decades of experience make an estimated median of $61K. Detective or Criminal Investigators who have acquired more than two decades of experience generally do see greater compensation; their average income is approximately $68K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $56,052

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

For those looking to make money, Detective or Criminal Investigators in Seattle enjoy an exceptional pay rate, 78 percent above the national average. Detective or Criminal Investigators will also find cushy salaries in Houston (+66 percent), Los Angeles (+58 percent), Chicago (+33 percent), and Washington (+30 percent). Location significantly influences compensation, with Little Rock Detective or Criminal Investigators earning much less — 41 percent less — than the national average. Employers pay around 13 percent less in Phoenix and 7 percent less in Miami, below-median salaries for those in this field.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Detective or Criminal Investigator

Gender

Female
32 %
Male
68 %

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 28 votes.
Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
20%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
30%
20 years or more
26%
Location:
Years in Fields/Career:
United States (change)

Experience Affects Detective or Criminal Investigator Salaries

▲21%

▲8%

National Average
$56,000

▼6%

▼11%

Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 28 votes.

Gender

Female
32 %
Male
68 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
20%
5-9 years
18%
10-19 years
30%
20 years or more
26%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 90%
dental benefits
Dental: 77%
vision benefits
Vision: 67%
dental benefits
None: 9%
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