How Much Do Detectives Make In 2024?

Detectives are experienced people, generally cops, who investigate crimes to acquire evidence against offenders to be prosecuted.

They are frequently chosen from a pool of officers who apply for available jobs within a police force.

Large police agencies typically have detectives specializing in a particular sort of crime, such as homicide, sex crimes, or property crimes.

There aren’t enough detectives in tiny agencies to specialize. It is slightly different for private detectives as it solely depends on your experience, so most private ones are retired police detectives.

They do a lot of jobs, and it is dangerous, and that is why you might wonder how much do detectives make? We are here to answer that question.


GuideHow Much Do Detectives Make?
Average Income$86,030 per year
Highest Income$110,000 per year

Who Are Detectives?

Public and private detectives are the two sorts in the field. Regardless of the application, solving riddles is an essential element of the work.

Former cops, spies, military people, bodyguards, and security guards frequently work as private detectives.

While many private ones investigate criminal cases, they are restricted to citizen arrest and detention authorities because they are not police officers.

Investigators of crimes and suspected criminal behavior are known as public detectives.

They are classified as public since their wages are derived from taxes and government funds.

Investigative talents are helpful in a variety of fields. Consumers employ them to monitor a suspected cheater or dig up references on a nanny, while corporations engage them to do background checks.

They are in law enforcement work to solve crimes after the crimes take place. They also work to prevent them from happening in the first place.

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How Much Do Detectives Make?

How Much Do Detectives Make

According to the BLS, the national average annual salary for detectives is $86,030, which is more than $30,000 higher than the national average wage for all occupations, which is $51,960.

Local governments, excluding schools and hospitals, are the largest employer of detectives and criminal investigators, employing 42,860.

The federal executive arm of the United States government, on the other hand, is the highest-paying employer, with an average mean compensation of $107,150 for detectives and criminal investigators.

Detectives have two categories. Detectives in the police force look into crimes and other legal issues.

Private detectives investigate financial, legal, and personal concerns for private customers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private investigators earn an average of $53,530 a year.

Private detectives make substantially less money than police detectives.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a police detective’s average annual compensation was $81,490, with a median income of $78,120.

1. How Much Do Detectives Make in an Hour?

Detectives make a minimum of $5.53 an hour and a maximum of $39.90 an hour.

2. How Much Do Detectives Make a Month?

Detectives make a minimum of $958 a month and a maximum of $6,917 a month.

3. How Much Do Detectives Make a Year?

Detectives make a minimum of $11,500 a year and a maximum of $83,000 a year.


Highest Salary Of Detectives In 2024

Depending on which area you specialize in, the location you work at, the amount of experience you have, and the bureau that you work at make significant differences in your salary because if you are a private detective, it all comes down to your clients and how successful you are but when you work for a governmental body, you do not need to worry about having clients as you get a salary.

The highest salary recorded among detectives is around $110,000 annually, reaching six figures.

This could be a little bit higher or lower depending on which state and city you are in but in general, it hovers around this number.

Is Being A Detective Good Or Bad?

Is Being A Detective Good Or Bad

Being a detective is a controversial thing because it requires a lot of things from the detective’s side; not only your formal training and experience are not needed, but you also need to have good soft skills to understand whether someone is lying or not.

Physiological experience and information also play a crucial role in understanding people’s behaviors and acting according to them.

Being a detective is definitely a good thing if you think you can do all these.

Pros and Cons of Being A Detective


  • Job security
  • Other benefits
  • Exciting work
  • Career advancement oppurtunities
  • You contribute to society


  • Poor work-life balance
  • Risky job
  • Physically & emotionally draining


What Does it Take to be a Detective?

How To Become A Detective?

Here’s how you can become a detective:

  • As the Bureau of Labor Statistics states, potential detectives must complete high school (or acquire a GED).
  • After this, most candidates pursue a two-year or four-year degree in criminal justice, psychology, criminology, sociology, or a related discipline.
  • In addition, prospective officers must pass physical tests, background checks, and other prerequisites to be in the pool of possible detectives with the police force.
  • You will need to train yourself and prepare your body before you apply as a police officer.
  • Once the candidate gets hired, he/she may be required to attend a police academy after being hired as a police officer.
  • Academies differ in duration according to the department, city, and state. The standards for private detectives vary by state, although many need licensure.
  • While the process to become a police or private detective might vary, it typically takes five to eight years to advance from a police officer.
  • According to California’s Bureau of Security & Investigative Services (2020), private detectives have to be over 18 years old and must go through a criminal background check along with proof of experience in one of three roles in order to be licensed.
  • They must have 6,000 hours of paid investigation experience, a law degree plus 4,000 hours of experience, or an associate degree plus 5,000 hours of experience.


The Key to Becoming a Good Detective

How Many Hours Do Detectives Work?

Detectives usually have a poor work-life balance and even sacrifice their weekends and holidays.

The work conditions and timings of Detectives vary depending on their crime specialty. Most Detectives work for 12 hours or even more, depending on their requirements.

What is the Starting Pay of a Detective?

The starting pay of a Detective is $5.53 an hour or $11,500 a year.

They can work their way up the ladder, and with more experience, they can make up to $39.90 an hour or $83,000 a year.

Detective Training Programs

Detective Training Programs

For police detectives, you get your training during your education at the police force.

This is enough as you do not need any additional training. However, for private ones, it is a bit different.

Currently, 45 states in the United States need state licensure to work as private investigators.

And the remaining three states require municipal licensing. Candidates must, however, establish that they have some experience or pre-licensure training before they may become licensed.

For that, you need to find detective schools that governmental institutions accredit.


Being a detective is not easy as you need to go through education of six years, and need experience too.

It takes a lot of time and effort, but it pays up to six figures for police detectives.

Not many people choose this field as it requires immense experience to have clients on your hands.

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How much do detectives make when they first start off?

Either private or police, you start from the lowest of the bracket; it does not matter if you have extensive training or not.

How much do detectives make when they start their own office as private detectives?

If you already have clients that will work with you, you can earn way more than the average salary but finding clients is the hardest part.

How much do detectives make if they turn to private detectives from police detectives?

The salary goes down substantially, but if it is an experienced detective, it will be higher than the average police detective salary.

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