Private Investigator Salary

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Private Investigator Salary

The salary of a private investigator ranges between $30,000 and $110,000. (approx.). The average annual salary is around $50,000, and the average hourly wage is about $24. Let us take a detailed look at a private investigator’s salary.

Private investigators/detectives are involved in providing assistance to individuals, organizations, or attorneys. They collect evidence and analyze facts to help their clients in cases that involve cheating, infidelity, background checks, insurance claims, copyright violation, cyber harassment, etc.

A majority of private investigators work with an organization although many take additional work to complement their fixed source of income. Given below is the information pertaining to the salary of private investigators. Please remember that the salary may vary based on the field of expertise and years of experience.

According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of private detectives and investigators was $50,780 in May, 2012. The mean hourly wage stood at $24.42, during the same time.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that employment in this field will increase by 21% between 2010-2020, which is faster than the national average. According to the latest data of online salary websites, the salary range of private investigators was between $30,000 and $110,000. (approximate figures)

Mean Annual Salary Across the States

Alabama 50,000
Alaska 41,000
Arizona 43,000
Arkansas 48,000
California 54,000
Colorado 43,000
Connecticut 53,000
Delaware 45,000
Florida 46,000
Georgia 53,000
Hawaii 35,000
Idaho 40,000
Illinois 51,000
Indiana 49,000
Iowa 46,000
Kansas 44,000
Kentucky 43,000
Louisiana 41,000
Maine 43,000
Maryland 49,000
Massachusetts 56,000
Michigan 48,000
Minnesota 56,000
Mississippi 57,000
Missouri 48,000
Montana 49,000
Nebraska 39,000
Nevada 45,000
New Hampshire 48,000
New Jersey 52,000
New Mexico 44,000
New York 57,000
North Carolina 48,000
North Dakota 46,000
Ohio 46,000
Oklahoma 45,000
Oregon 46,000
Pennsylvania 43,000
Rhode Island 49,000
South Carolina 44,000
South Dakota 38,000
Tennessee 46,000
Texas 46,000
Utah 43,000
Vermont 46,000
Virginia 49,000
Washington 46,000
West Virginia 48,000
Wisconsin 43,000
Wyoming 45,000

Source: Indeed (as on May 17, 2013)
Figures are in US dollars

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas

Area Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage
San Jose 38.88 80,870
Sunnyvale 38.88 80,870
Santa Clara 38.88 80,870
San Francisco 38.41 79,900
San Mateo 38.41 79,900
Redwood City 38.41 79,900
Birmingham 37.21 77,390
Hoover 37.21 77,390
San Diego 35.03 72,870
Carlsbad 35.03 72,870
San Marcos 35.03 72,870
Houston 32.49 67,590
Sugar Land 32.49 67,590
Baytown 32.49 67,590
Seattle 32.22 67,030
Bellevue 32.22 67,030
Oakland 32.13 66,820
Fremont 32.13 66,820
Hayward 32.13 66,820
Denver 32.03 66,610
Aurora 32.03 66,610
Broomfield 32.03 66,610
Provo 31.30 65,110
Orem 31.30 65,110
Dallas 30.73 63,910
Plano 30.73 63,910
Irving 30.73 63,910

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2012)
Figures are in US dollars

Top Paying Industries
Service Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
Management Consulting 35.51 73,860
Scientific Consulting 35.51 73,860
Technical Consulting 35.51 73,860
Electric Power Generation 35.18 73,180
Transmission and Distribution 35.18 73,180
Navigational Services 34.54 71,850
Measuring Services 34.54 71,850
Electromedical Services 34.54 71,850
Control Instruments 34.54 71,850
Aerospace Products 33.95 70,620
Computer System Design 33.87 70,440

Source:Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2012)
Figures are in US dollars

Becoming a Private Investigator

No formal education is required to become a private investigator. Most private investigators learn the intricacies of working in this field while assisting a senior detective, or investigator. Since the job requires them to gather supporting evidence, they should be able to communicate effectively. Private investigators are also expected to have a knack for solving problems quickly, since they have to achieve results within a deadline. The skills they acquire depend to a large extent, on the sector they are working in. There are certain certifications such as the Certified Legal Investigator from the National Association of Legal Investigators, and Professional Certified Investigator from the ASIS International, which can be beneficial to individuals who are starting out in this field. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Private investigators work mostly with firms which are small in scale as a result of which, career advancement opportunities may be limited. However, private investigators do get yearly salary hikes, and are also entitled to bonuses. Many investigators start their own firms after gaining sufficient experience.

Reporter spying a couple
Private investigator working
Woman Job Interview

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