When exploring careers, the salary expectations can’t help but be part of your decision process. “Will this job be worth it?” is a fair question! At least you should have a ballpark figure in mind. That way there aren’t any major surprises.
Most detectives earn a good, comfortable living. Beyond that, what a detective earns comes down to education, geographic location, public or private industry, performance, and job experience. This page will provide an overview on the salaries of different detective and popular law enforcement jobs.
Average Detective Salary in the United States is $41,000
This number is from a survey completed by thousands of employers, big and small, across many industries (source).
Salary Info for Specific Careers:
Police Officer Salary: $45,000 – $50,000 average.
In 2009 the median police detective salary was $62,110 while the top ten percent earned closer to $97,870. If you are fresh out of high school and are planning on taking on a police officer job then you can expect around $45,226. Those with their associates degree will earn somewhere around $47,043, while a bachelors degree can get you a small bump to starting pay of $48,880.
Homicide Detective Salary: $70,000 Median; $45,000 Low; $95,000 High
Private Investigator Salary: $35,000 Median; $20,000 Low; $80,000 High
PI’s have the largest pay range of the detectives. Some will be struggling to get by and some will be rolling in clients and charging mega bucks per hour. This gap is explained by the large number of PI’s who are self-employed. Just because you are a good investigator, doesn’t mean you are a good marketer! Still most PI’s earn a respectable salary of $35K and up.
Forensic Detective Salary: $50,000 and up
SWAT member Salary: $60,000 – $65,000 average.
More Salary Resources:
- PayScale.com – More info about detective salaries.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Police and Detectives
- U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Private Detectives and Investigators
- PI Salary Info