hourly pay for Private Detectives and Investigators
do Private Detectives and Investigators make a lot of money

Private Detectives and Investigators

Other names for this job might include Alarm Investigator, Asset Protection Detective, Background Investigator, Bonding Agent, Cash Shortage Investigator, Certified Legal Investigator, Detective, Detective Investigator, District Agent, Field Investigator

  • $53530
  • 73%
    Job satisfaction
  • Medium
    Becoming one
  • Medium
    Job growth
OwlGuru Rank


How Much Do Private Detectives Make In 2018

In this salary guide, you will find out how much do Private Detectives and Investigators make.

After reading this, you will be able to make a decision if working as a Private Detective and Investigator will suit your financial goals (e.g: buying a home, BMW or just your target salary goal).

Average salary

Annual salary
$53530 per year

Hourly wage
$25.740 per hour

One of the most popular questions we get from our readers here at OwlGuru is how much do Private Detectives make per year and what is their hourly wage.

According to BLS, the average annual salary of Private Detectives is $53530. Their salary can also be as low as $27210 if you’re still a newbie with no experience to over $87070 if you have a ton of experience under your belt.

The typical hourly pay is $25.740 and can range from $13.080 to $41.860 which also depends if you’re a newbie or a professional.

Just like any other job, the salary of A Private Detective will vary based on your education and experience level.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.
Salary rank

We wanted to make it easy for our readers to compare the salary of A Private Detective to all the other careers out there. So we created Salary Rank.

This compares the salary of all careers and we give them a rank of A, B, C or D depending on how high or low is their average salary.

After comparing how much do Private Detectives make with other careers, they have a salary rank of B.

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Salary range

Highest (Top 10%)$41.860$87070
Senior (Top 25%)$31.870$66300
Middle (Mid 50%)$23.170$48190
Junior (Bottom 25%)$17.170$35710
No experience (Bottom 10%)$13.080$27210

Entry-level Private Detectives who starts out at $35710 can expect to make $48190 after 3-5 years of experience in the field.

The bottom 10% makes less than $13.080 per hour while the top 10% makes over $41.860 per hour.

While the median wage is $48190 per annum or $23.170 per hour.

Depending on who you work for, you might also get overtime pay.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.

Highest paying industries

Industry nameHourly wageAnnual salary
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing39.1881500
Other Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing39.1881500
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing37.1777320
Transportation Equipment Manufacturing37.1377240
Scientific Research and Development Services36.3875670
Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences36.3875670
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities35.9874840
Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing35.1773140
Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods34.5971940
Wholesale Trade34.5671880
Wired Telecommunications Carriers31.8366210
Elementary and Secondary Schools (including private, state, and local government schools)31.665730
Elementary and Secondary Schools, Local government owned31.665730
Other Nondepository Credit Intermediation31.5265560
Educational Services, Local government owned31.0864640
Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services30.864060
Air Transportation30.5463520
Scheduled Air Transportation30.5463520
Direct Insurance (except Life, Health, and Medical) Carriers30.3363080
Engineering Services30.2962990
Educational Services (including private, state, and local government schools)29.9562290
Nondepository Credit Intermediation29.7161800
Insurance Carriers28.9960300
Educational Services, Privately owned28.459070
Transportation and Warehousing28.0158260
Couriers and Messengers27.8557930
Couriers and Express Delivery Services27.8557930
Legal Services27.7657740
Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services27.4357060
Depository Credit Intermediation27.457000
Colleges, universities, and professional schools, Privately owned2756160
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities26.8955930
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services26.7555640
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools (including private, state, and local government schools)26.7455620
Health Care and Social Assistance (including private, state, and local government hospitals)26.6755470
Finance and Insurance26.6555440
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services26.6555430
Other Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services26.5555230
Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals25.9353930
Investigation and Security Services25.9253910
Investigation, Guard, and Armored Car Services25.9253910
Local government, including schools and hospitals25.8153690
Insurance Carriers and Related Activities25.7353530
Other Services (except Federal, State, and Local Government)25.6953430
All industries, private ownership only25.5553140
All industries25.4352880
Administrative and Support Services25.3952820
Sector 56- Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services25.3952810
Computer Systems Design and Related Services25.3252660
Facilities Support Services24.4450840
Federal, state, and local government, including government owned schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service24.450760
Management of Companies and Enterprises24.3450630
Federal, State, and Local Government24.1850300
Federal, State, and Local Government, excluding state and local schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service24.1850300
Activities Related to Credit Intermediation23.6349150
Clothing Stores23.5548990
Clothing and Clothing Accessories Stores23.1648160
Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance Related Activities22.8247460
Other Insurance Related Activities22.7647340
State Government, excluding schools and hospitals22.1846130
Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries21.9945740
Gambling Industries21.9745700
Warehousing and Storage21.8145360
Accommodation and Food Services21.6545020
Traveler Accommodation21.6545020
Casino Hotels20.7843230
Other Information Services20.6542960
Food and Beverage Stores19.0339580
Grocery Stores19.0339580
Other General Merchandise Stores19.0139550
Home Furnishings Stores18.6538790
Furniture and Home Furnishings Stores18.1837810
Nonstore Retailers17.9837400
Electronic Shopping and Mail-Order Houses17.9837400
Retail Trade16.9835310
Health and Personal Care Stores16.9535270
Pharmacies and Drug Stores16.9535270
Telephone Call Centers16.2333750
General Merchandise Stores16.2133710
Business Support Services16.2133710
Department Stores15.2631750
Employment Services14.6630480

Not all industries pay the same for Private Detectives and Investigators.

One of the easiest way to increase your salary is to change industries and find a higher paying one.

Highest paying states


Another simple way to boost your pay as A Private Detective is to move to a higher paying state. However moving to a higher paying state like AL doesn’t mean you will make more overall. This is because the expenses at AL may be 2x higher than where you are currently living at right now.

According to the BLS, the highest paid / most successful Private Detectives are in the states of AL, NE, NJ, NY and CT. The average salary in AL is $65300.

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Rank: B
Salary: $80420

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Rank: B
Salary: $65800

They sell goods for wholesalers or manufacturers to businesses or groups of individuals. Work requires substantial knowledge of items sold.
Rank: B
Salary: $51190

They ensure the safe takeoff and landing of commercial and military aircraft. Duties include coordination between air-traffic control and maintenance personnel; dispatching; using airfield landing and navigational aids; implementing airfield safety procedures; monitoring and maintaining flight records; and applying knowledge of weather information.
Rank: D
Salary: $40240

They compile information and records to draw up purchase orders for procurement of materials and services.
Rank: B
Salary: $56890

They determine tax liability or collect taxes from individuals or business firms according to prescribed laws and regulations.

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Career type

Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement
Security and Protective Services

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