Private Detectives and Investigators: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Private Detectives and Investigators gather, analyze, compile and report information regarding individuals or organizations to clients, or detect occurrences of unlawful acts or infractions of rules in private establishment.

  • Write reports or case summaries to document investigations.
  • Conduct private investigations on a paid basis.
  • Search computer databases, credit reports, public records, tax or legal filings, or other resources to locate persons or to compile information for investigations.
  • Conduct personal background investigations, such as pre-employment checks, to obtain information about an individual’s character, financial status, or personal history.
Read more about what does a Private Detective and Investigator really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.



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Salary

Average salary
$56810 per year

Average hourly wage
$27 per hour


Private Detectives and Investigators with little to no experience tend to make between $29310 and $37060 while the more experienced ones can earn over $68400 per year.

Top 5 paying statesHourlyAnnual
DC$35$72,190
AK$33$69,210
CA$33$67,970
VA$32$66,590
NJ$31$64,250

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Private Detective and Investigator is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Private Detectives and Investigators are DC, AK, CA, VA and NJ.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Private Detective and Investigator is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Requirements

Recommended degree level
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)

We asked other Private Detectives and Investigators what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Bachelor’s Degree followed by a High School Diploma.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Criminal Justice/Police Science
Law Enforcement Record-Keeping and Evidence Management
Cyber/Computer Forensics and Counterterrorism
Financial Forensics and Fraud Investigation
Protective Services Operations
Read more about how to become a Private Detective and Investigator and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Private Detective and Investigator.

PROS
Suitable for people who likes to start and carry out projects
Suitable for people who values achievements and are results-oriented
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Demand for this career is growing fast
CONS
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction
73%

Is this job meaningful
60%


73% of Private Detectives and Investigators said they were satisfied with their job and 60% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Entrepreneurs and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.




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Related career information

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