The majority of Detective or Criminal Investigators in the United States — slightly more than half — boast more than 10 years of experience in their profession. Salaries stretch from $36K to $109K per year, and the median is $56K per year. Geography and career length 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. Making up 73 percent of those who took the survey, male Detective or Criminal Investigators greatly outnumber their female counterparts. For the most part, Detective or Criminal Investigators enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.

$36,863 - $107,813
(Median)
$37K
$56K
$110K
MEDIAN: $55,740
10%
50%
90%

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$14.96 - $60.40
(Median)
$15
$24
$60
MEDIAN: $24.00
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
$36,863 - $107,813  
   
Bonus
$-0.50 - $7,891  
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).
)
$35,860 - $108,937  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 336
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
$14.96 - $60.40  
   
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
$-0.50 - $7,891  
   
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).
)
$35,860 - $108,937  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 58
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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 enjoy a small increase in earnings as they climb the career ladder to roles like Police Chief, which pays $67K on average annually. 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.

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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.


Experience does not seem to be a strong driver of pay increase in this role. Detective or Criminal Investigators in the early stages of their careers take home approximately $50K on average. The average for people in the five-to-10 year group is only a little larger at $52K. Detective or Criminal Investigators who work for 10 to 20 years in their occupation tend to earn about $60K. After two decades in the workforce, the average Detective or Criminal Investigator generally earns more than ever; median pay for this group is estimated at $66K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $55,464

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, 80 percent above the national average. Detective or Criminal Investigators will also find cushy salaries in Los Angeles (+63 percent), Houston (+52 percent), Chicago (+48 percent), and Boston (+26 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Detective or Criminal Investigators is geography, with workers in Little Rock earning a whopping 40 percent below the national average. Below-median salaries also turn up in Phoenix and Denver (11 percent lower and 8 percent lower, respectively).

Related Job Salaries

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Experience Affects Detective or Criminal Investigator Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 20%


National Average
$55,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 5%


Job Satisfaction

Highly satisfied
Rated 4 out of 5
based on 29 votes.

Gender

Female
27 %
Male
73 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
7%
1-4 years
21%
5-9 years
19%
10-19 years
28%
20 years or more
24%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 91%
dental benefits
Dental: 74%
medical benefits
Vision: 62%
dental benefits
None: 9%
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