Detective Salary

Detectives in the United States tend to have a good amount of experience under their belt — just over a half have more than 10 years in the field. While pay runs from $37K to $101K per year, median earnings come to $61K per year. Location and career length each impact pay for this group, with the former having the largest influence. Most workers in this position report high levels of job satisfaction. The vast majority (84 percent) of Detectives who answered the questionnaire are male. Medical benefits are awarded to almost all, and a fair number earn dental coverage. The data for this snapshot was collected from individuals who took PayScale's salary survey.
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$36,529 - $100,384
$37K
$63K
$100K
MEDIAN: $62,972
10%
50%
90%

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$15.83 - $42.71
$16
$25
$43
MEDIAN: $24.83
10%
50%
90%

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$0$100K
Salary $36,529 - $100,384
Bonus $331.92 - $10,067
Profit Sharing $37,000
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).
)
$36,483 - $100,867
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 11 Nov 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 155
Hourly Data $0$84
Hourly Rate $15.83 - $42.71
Hourly Tips $3.13
Overtime $24.33 - $84.46
Annual Data $0$100K
Bonus $331.92 - $10,067
Profit Sharing $37,000
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).
)
$36,483 - $100,867
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 11 Nov 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 65

Job Description for Detective

Typically, detectives are employed by companies to assist in loss and theft prevention. Examples of prospective employers for detectives include insurance companies, which use detectives when determining settlement shares; organizations that require background checks and security clearances, which use detectives as a part of the hiring process; and retail companies, where they may assist with loss prevention.

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Detective Tasks

  • Collect, store, protect, and analyze physical evidence from crime scenes to aid investigation.
  • Work closely with team members and other departments.
  • File reports, documents, and other paperwork.
  • Interview sources.
  • Respond to incidents and complaints, document interactions, and collect evidence.

Common Career Paths for Detective


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Detectives' salaries tend to stay somewhat constant even when they advance into higher-level positions like Police Sergeant. On average, Police Sergeants get paid about the same as Detectives do.

Detective Job Listings

Pay by Experience Level for Detective

Pay by Experience for a Detective has a positive trend. An entry-level Detective with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $56,000 based on 76 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Detective with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $55,000 based on 75 salaries. An experienced Detective which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $65,000 based on 80 salaries. A Detective with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $75,000 based on 50 salaries.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $60,322

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

Folks in search of above-average pay will head to one of the three largest American cities: Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles boast higher pay rates than the national average for this field. Detectives' salaries are heavily influenced by location — Detectives in Miami bring in salaries that are 33 percent lower than the national average.

Detective Advice

Q: What is it like working as a Detective?

Detective in Eugene:
"Key Skills for A Successful Detective."
Plan on being flexible, learn as many different roles as possible BEFORE applying for promotion to detective. The three things every new detective needs to excel at are issue spotting, problem solving, and articulating how you know what you know. The standard all detectives are held to on a daily basis is operating on a level most consistent with your case facts being 100% correct, 100% of the time. Your agency may not hold you to this standard, but your community, district attorney, defense attorneys, judges and juries will. I recommend a minimum of an associates degree, excellent writing skills, and additional training combined with experience in areas such as crime lab experience, patrol, corrections, interviewing and interrogation, photography, search and seizure case law, sexual assault investigation, computer and digital crime search and seizure, domestic violence, buried bodies and surface remains, cultivation and utilization of informants and any other specialized training.

Detective in Eagan:
"Don't be a load."
Step up and do your job. Then look around and see what else you can tackle. Make yourself a value to your agency, rather than someone just getting by. Your job satisfaction will be much higher.

Detective in Waco:
Pros: Putting people in jail for crimes that they commit.
Cons: Sometimes long hours and getting called out in the middle of the night.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Detective

Gender

Female
17 %
Male
83 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 26 votes.
Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
15%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
33%
20 years or more
21%

Experience Affects Detective Salaries

Late-Career
▲24%

Experienced
▲8%

National Average
$60,000

Entry-Level
▼7%

Mid-Career
▼9%

Skills That Affect Detective Salaries

National Average
$60,000


Investigation
▼34%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 26 votes.

Gender

Female
17 %
Male
83 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
5%
1-4 years
15%
5-9 years
25%
10-19 years
33%
20 years or more
21%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 91%
dental benefits
Dental: 71%
vision benefits
Vision: 62%
no benefits
None: 8%